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CD Review: Crown Imperial, Leyland Band - Thomas Wyss

Published in Reviews on 2013-09-17 by Empty Chairs

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Review by Chris Hatch

Crown Imperial is the latest CD release from the Lancashire based Leyland Band. On this CD guest conductor Thomas Wyss leads the band playing music performed at the coronations of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. This CD is a patriotic tribute to the pomp that only the British can do and listening to it will make you want to wave some flags as you find yourself roused by the music.

Thomas Wyss is a six time Swiss Tuba Champion with a wide range of experience with brass bands including studying under Howard Snell. He has also conducted Fairey Band, Tredegar, Foden's and Grimethorpe. He uses these skills on this CD to really bring the pomp to the fore.

The CD starts with Welcome to the Queen by Arthur Bliss. This piece was written to celebrate the return of the Queen from a Commonwealth tour in 1954. With a fanfare introduction and heraldic theme the mood is set the music to follow. Leyland bring this to life with a grand and nostalgic rendition of the piece.

This is followed by another march, and what a march it is, an Epic March. This piece written in 1942 by John Ireland was commissioned by the Ministry of Information in 1940. This rendition matches Irelands intention to be a stern and purposeful march that summarised the heroic actions of the time.

The hymn Blaenwern follows, written by William Rowlands in the early 1900s this popular wedding hymn was chosen for the Royal Wedding in 2011.

The next three pieces are particular highlights that show the range of depth that can be achieved by a brass band. Ralph Vaughan William's Tocatta from his Symphony in D Minor brings Leylands bands percussion section to prominence. Music For The Royal Fireworks occupies the next nineteen minutes of the CD with the dramatic end of La Rejouissance electrifying the senses. Before Willian Walton's coronation march Crown Imperial restores some noble calm.  Elgars follows and Wyss presents a suitably solemn and poignant rendition to tug at the heartstrings. 

In 1934 Brighouse & Rastrick won the Open with the test piece Pageantry by Herbert Howells. This was reworked in 1937 to an orchestral arrangement, King's Herald to feature in the Coronation of King George VI. On this CD Leyland present a brass band arrangement of the orchestral arrangement of the original test piece.

The CD rounds off with three well know tracks. The Westminster Waltz better known as the theme for 'In Town Tonight' on the ratio lightens the mood. I Vow To Thee, My Country and its expansive theme then begins to raise the pomp levels before Last Night of The Proms staple, Pomp & Circumstance No. 1 by Elgar rounds off the CD with style.


What is there not to like about this CD, Pomp and top quality Brass Band playing providing the type of music that makes the British feel proud. Leyland Band and Thomas Wyss are on top form throughout.

You can purchase this CD from Timbercroft Publishing.



If you would your bands CD reviewed on Empty Chairs you can either (a) wait in case I buy it or (b) send me a copy. To be honest (b) means it is more likely to happen. Drop me a line at and I'll let you know where to send it.

Article tagged: Leyland Band, CD Review, Crown Imperial

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