On 18 November the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, conducted by Garry Cutt, premiered Neil Brand’s Peter Pan: Happily Never After at the Glasshouse International Centre for Music, Gateshead, as part of the 46th Brass in Concert Championship. The 23-minute work for narrator and brass band is a wry, noir-inspired take on J.M. Barrie’s famous creation, adapted by Brand from an original story by Ian D. McElligot, who also orchestrated the work.
Peter Pan: Happily Never After tells the story of a grizzled time-travelling detective who investigates the murder of the actor playing Wendy in the original stage production – and meddles with time to avert disaster. Brand, an acclaimed broadcaster and presenter, himself took the role of narrator for the piece. It joins several works by Brand for narrator/actor(s) and orchestra, including The Wind in the Willows, A Christmas Carol and, most recently, The Hound of the Baskervilles, which was premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra Barbican in December 2022 with Mark Gatiss and Sanjeev Bhaskar playing the roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
In November 2022 Brighouse & Rastrick premiered Brand’s Echoes of the North: Four Chapters in Time at the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival, conducted by Ben Palmer. The 60-minute score is the first ever original brass band soundtrack written for a silent film, and debuted in in the lavish setting of the 19th-century Morecambe Winter Gardens. Watch the trailer here.
The Gateshead contest also saw the world premiere of Nigel Hess’ Song of Farewell, for solo cornet and brass band (arranged by Andrew Baker). The 6½-minute piece was performed by the Hammonds Band, conducted by Morgan Griffiths, with Kirsty Abbott on cornet. The score and parts will soon be available to purchase from Faber Music.