Over the last six months almost every aspect of all of our lives has been adversely affected by the global outbreak of Covid-19 and of course the brass band world has been no exception.
Edward Gregson’s wonderful new work for brass band entitled The World Rejoicing was due to to test brass bands in five of the world’s most prestigious brass band competitions in 2020, culminating in the Norwegian Championships in 2021. As we watched first the British Open Brass Band Championships, then the Belgian, Dutch and Swiss championships fall victim to the pandemic, and with the Norwegian championships likely to be considerably reduced in scale, it became apparent to all that the national premieres of such a prestigious new work could not be allowed to happen as an online-only or “closed to the public” event.
In a feat of European diplomacy that our politicians could take lesson from, the composer, the commissioning co-ordinator Jacob Djikstra, and the contest management from the five commissioning countries have all agreed that the premieres of The World Rejoicing should be put back one year in all the participating countries. The world premiere is therefore now planned to be given by the band drawn to play first at the British Open Brass Band Championship in September 2021 – which hopefully will give the band concerned some consolation for picking the much-feared number 1 draw! The other countries will then follow suit with the premieres in Belgium, The Netherlands and Switzerland taking place in the Autumn of 2021 and the Norwegian premiere at the Norwegian Championship taking place in February 2022.
Obviously, like everyone else in the musical world, I am very disappointed and frustrated by the havoc that the pandemic has caused to music-making everywhere, and for the financial hardship and social disruption it has caused to so many people. For the brass band community, it has meant the postponement and cancellation of so many events, with the result that bands’ commitment to rehearsing and performing has had to be put on hold.
In the case of The World Rejoicing, the fact that all of the five European countries which commissioned the work have agreed to postpone the project for a year means that we can still keep to the original scheduled premieres. I only hope that the title of the work will now be a prophetic phrase for all our lives returning to some kind of normality.Edward Gregson
Any band which has pre-ordered performing material and would now like to have a refund and re-order next year is asked to contact Morthanveld Publishing directly via email – otherwise music will be sent out automatically when published.
In the meantime anyone who would like to familiarise themselves with this new work (and play an enjoyable game of spotting Gregson’s quotations from his own previous brass band works!) can order a study score here. Study scores will also be available exclusively from the World of Brass trade stand at the British Open.