On 27th January 2018 I was delighted to attend the 21st century premiere of Concertante for Piano and Brass Band by Edward Gregson, a performance that was not only attended by the composer but had been informed by his input from the start. As previously mentioned on these pages Gregson had been moved to publish the work after a number of requests to perform it over the year and has taken the opportunity to correct a few typos in the handwritten parts, with composer Paul McGhee undertaking the task of typesetting the work in a new edition supervised by the composer.
The soloist for this performance was Jonathan Scott – Jonathan is currently a member of the keyboard staff at the RNCM, but his undergraduate study was also undertaken there while Edward Gregson was Principal of the college. Edward afterwards mentioned that Jonathan is the only student he remembers playing three different keyboard instruments (piano, harpsichord AND organ) for his final recital! In the run up to this modern premiere, Gregson’s piano skills were tested as he rehearsed the two piano version with Jonathan in order that the composer’s intentions could be fully understood and realised.
The band for the occasion (the second major concert in this year’s RNCM Brass Band Festival) was the Fairey Band, directed by Garry Cutt, and in his review of the concert for 4barsrest.com Iwan Fox decribed the performance as:
a delight, played with vigour and understanding by both soloist and band.
Having enjoyed the entire concert I can only agree. Sadly the Welsh 21st century premiere of the Piano Concertante fell victim to the recent “Beast from the East” snowfall in South Wales and had to be postponed, but we have already heard of possible performances overseas to follow this year. If there happens to be one near you I urge to catch this “unashamedly youthfully romantic in gesture and style” work live.