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Peace: The Euphonium Music of John Golland CD - David Childs

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David Childs produces a reference point for euphonium players all over the world by recording two of the instrument's great concertos conducted by the soloists for whom they were composed. David's father Robert performed Golland No.1 at Sydney Opera House in 1981. His uncle Nicholas performed Golland No.2 at Royal Festival Hall London in 1984. Both are now accomplished conductors and together with the Scottish Co-Op Band join David in exploring Golland's complete repertoire for euphonium.


Track List:

1-3, Euphonium Concerto No.1 (conducted by Robert Childs), 18.35
i)Cadenza (Lento): Allegro, 8.57
ii)Andante Tranquillo, 5.20
ii)Allegro, 4.15
4, Peace, 4.27
5, Childs Play, 7.51
6, Cantilena, 7.04
7, Rhapsody for Baritone: Don Quixote, 9.44
8-10, Euphonium Concert No.2 (Conducted by Nicholas Childs), 20.56
i)Moderato Eroico, 7.15
ii)Largo Elegaico: In Memoriam John Childs, 9.45
iii)Alegro Energico e Scherzando, 3.56



The euphonium works of John Golland have always been closely connected with the Childs family, through dedications, premiËres and commissions. Gollandís untimely death in 1993 meant the premature close to a career that was as yet to be recognised for its quality of literature and imaginative approach to writing for bands. Since then, we have heard his works used at major contests and festivals (the Euro test-piece in 1993 and an Area test-piece in 1996), and audiences have embraced the warmth and humour of the music. This disc is the first complete presentation of his euphonium works and it is fitting that the soloist and both the featured conductors are from the family that is so inherently linked to the musical content.

The ëmeatí of the recording is the two concertos ñ both extremely demanding works, technically and musically. Bob Childs premiered the first of the concertos during 1981 in Perth, Western Australia. The excellent programme notes tell us: It was written as a reaction to the composer's life and the underlying darkness of the music reflects the visual and other physical difficulties from which the composer suffered all his life... The performance presented here successfully portrays that emotional battle and the infamously difficult opening cadenzas are dealt with in charismatic and virtuosic style. During the central, longer cadenza, David captures the dramatic atmosphere with cleverly judged use of silence and direction of phrase. The passion of the slow movement allows the soloist to demonstrate his sound to the full and is delicately accompanied by the band. The final movement provides us with some lighter moments and some fantastic playing through to the end the final top E certainly rings in the ears and truly rides over the band.

The second concerto is dedicated to the Childs brothers and Nicholas premiËred it with Grimethorpe during 1988. Lasting over 20 minutes, this piece would test the stamina and musicality of any soloist. Once again, the performance given here is one of stylistic commitment and technical command. It is important that the performer always retains the lyrical essence of the music and this is exactly what is achieved, even amongst the technical demands of the writing. The second movement is amongst this writer ís favourite works for the instrument, a true vehicle for the expressive capability of the euphonium. This track, for me, is also the highlight of this CD. The control in the upper register is at times breathtaking, never letting the sound falter for the sake of range.

The rest of the CD is made up of smaller pieces. David boldly tackles the Rhapsody for Baritone on its intended instrument and provides a great reference point for baritone players all over the world. Cantilena and Peace are both sensitively played, whilst the aptly titled Childs Play reminded me very much of the playing of David's father - such powerful technique and a sense of true enjoyment.

David Childsí achievements during 2004 have already been well documented, but the release of this disc shows that he intends 2005 to be very similar involving the promotion of the euphonium and its repertoire by letting the music and playing speak for itself.

David Thornton
British Bandsman 12th February 2005