Your Daily Dose of Christmas!

Nothing earth-shaking here musically–it’s just a collection of familiar Christmas tunes, arranged by Leroy Anderson (always a stalwart of light music)–but the ensemble might be unfamiliar. This is a British brass band, which is a grouping that arose in the United Kingdom before expanding around the world. It’s not a very commonly encountered ensemble, but there are places that take brass bands very seriously; in the UK there are regular brass band competitions that are really a going concern, as they say.

A proper British brass band might seem like just a brass quintet expanded to twenty or thirty players, but it’s more complex than that. There are no trumpets; the soprano voices are played by cornets and flugelhorns, and there are also no French horns! The inner voices are supplied by tenor horns, baritone horns, euphoniums, and tenor trombones. The basses come via several different kinds of tubas along with a bass trombone or two. The end result is a surprisingly complex kind of brass sound (with added percussion), without the stridency of a full trumpet section.

Here is the Whitburn Band playing A Christmas Festival. (This appears to be one of those performance videos made during COVID.)

 

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