So it was a great pleasure to make my debut with the City Wind Orchestra this week.
The group is based in exactly the same area as my own regular ensemble, the City of London Symphonic Winds. Due to a foot injury their MD had to stand down, as it were, for the term and so I was invited in to rehearse and perform a Japanese programme.
When I think of a Japanese theme and link it to the British wind music culture, there’s only one place to start and that’s with Nigel Clarke’s Samurai – and clearly CWO had the same thought in selecting their repertoire.
It’s an immense set of rhythmic, stamina and interpretative challenges – made all the more intense on the day when extra brass and percussionists arrived to fill in the gaps in the ensemble. We were all very pleased with how it went, and when I saw that it had been recorded I was glad to have the chance to hear it back – the video is below. The ending – with its shout of ‘Hi!’ from the band – seemed to stun the audience, somewhat…!
A word for the composer, who is tireless in attending performances of his music to support the groups who programme it. I first met Nigel Clarke in February 2004 when he came to hear my Southampton University Symphonic Wind Orchestra perform… yes, Samurai… and our paths have crossed a few times in the intervening 10 years. It meant a lot to us all to have him there and I do urge people to find out about his music and perform it, if they can!