Two years ago, when the Jersey Liberation Festival opened with a splendid new brass fanfare, based on the Chanson de Peirson, written for the occasion by Jon Lord, I jubilated that this would undoubtedly become a Jersey classic, repeated each year thereafter. So I was rather surprised, when I arrived this year, to find same band, same occasion … different fanfare. Again, written for the occasion, this time by Surrey composer James Francis Brown, and with reference to this year’s Festival theme, Poland.
Well, I needn’t have worried. The rain ceased just in time, Jersey Premier Brass took their habitual place on the balcony above the Royal Square and, after a warm-up of several brass band classics, we got the new Fanfare and Chorale. And it was a splendid piece. The clarion cries of the opening, in what we traditionally know as a ‘fanfare’, moving into moodier and more solemn tones in the body of the work, and winding up to a triumphant return to the ultimate cries of victory. The whole written in a sufficiently ‘modern’ style to be enjoyable (I hear that academic plink-plonks are doomed anyhow) and really effective. The local lady who was sitting next to me didn’t know whether to be moved or flag-waving.
As before, Premier Brass gave their all, and if a few notes fell under the music-stands or vanished into the damp air, it was still an excellent effort for an amateur group faced with a brand new work.
If this carries on, I can see in a few years a recording of ‘Liberation Festival Fanfares’ hitting the market.