Pure Brass

Wednesday 16th March 2016


Rounding off an exceptional 50th Anniversary Season for the Strathearn Music Society, the five players of Pure Brass performed to another full house in St Andrew’s Hall last Wednesday evening. They’re no strangers to Crieff (this was their third visit) and in any case, with their immediately entertaining approach on the concert platform, they scarcely need to break the ice with any audience.

In a kaleidoscopic mix of a programme they covered all bases from the Baroque to the contemporary, with an inevitable predominance of arrangements of well-known classics (some more successful than others in the all-brass medium). High spots were James MacMillan’s Exsultet, in which the quintet stationed themselves at points of the building surrounding the listeners, and the quirky tuba solo Fnuug by the Norwegian Øystein Baadsvig, played with the requisite humorous panache by Danielle Price.

A popular set to finish (“Blue Skies”, “Misty”, “12th Street Rag” and “Bugler’s Holiday”) were natural crowd-pleasers, and in choosing to close with “Farewell to Stromness” by the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies as their tribute on the composer’s recent death, the group struck the most appropriate of chords with which to sign off.

 This special SMS season is now nearly over, but not quite. The Society’s AGM is on May 18 (in Ferntower Hall, Morrison’s Academy) and, as ever, it will include a short concert, this year featuring talented local young musicians Jamie Turnbull and Emily Harrison as well as instrumental ensembles from Crieff High School and Morrison’s Academy. Finally, Quattro McJazz makes a welcome toe-tapping return to Crieff for Midsummer Jazz in St Andrew’s Halls on June 24.

Howard Duthie