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CD Review: Words and Music, Cory Band - Philip Harper

Published in Reviews on 2013-08-23 by Empty Chairs

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If your band has released a CD and would like it reviewed and the details published on Empty Chairs there is info at the end of this article. 

Review by Chris Hatch

You can buy the CD from Amazon by following this link.

I happen to like 'heavy' brass band music, hence the reason I was quite keen to purchase the new Cory Band CD 'Words and Music'. Had Cory instead release the best of Frank Bernaerts this summer I would probably have given it a miss.

Since the beginning of time, the written word has been a rich source of inspiration for the imagination of composers. From ancient civilisations in Rome, Greece and Egypt, to medieval settings of Bible stories and romantic works by the great composers (such as Beethoven, Berlioz and Mahler) works of literature have continued to fire the creative furnaces within many musicians' minds. This album features five substantial works for brass band which have their origins in poetry or prose.

It's worth saying this will not be a CD to everyone's taste. If you like light and fluffy brass band music then step aside. These five substantial pieces require listening to. Philip Harper doesn't try to hold the band back from fully exploring the music with a passion and a rich depth.

The CD kicks off with Daphnis and Chloe based upon the first century Greek novel that was used at the 2012 National Finals and it is delivered on this CD with flamboyance. Contained within this piece is a fantastic solo by Joanne Childs where you feel like Syrinx that you are being seduced.

Next we have the last George Lloyds piece wrote for brass band, Kings Messenger followed by Owen Farr on superb form with the Concerto for Tenor Horn and Brass Band, Paradise Lost. This monster piece at early 19 minutes long gives the soloist plenty of opportunities to demonstrate, well everything really.

This is the first recording of Paradise Lost, and the music tells the story of the temptation of Adam and Eve followed by their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The solo moved from a Scherzo to Romance where Owen laments his decisions through the medium of the tenor horn before ending up in a hellish world of a Toccata.

The fourth piece is for me the highlight of the CD, but then it would be the highlight of any CD for me. John Pickard's Eden is a piece of such depth and beauty that the best thing to do is just listen to it. Like the previous track it is based on Miltons Paradise Lost poem and the conclusion was inspired by a visit to the Eden Project in Cornwall.

To conclude the CD Cory play the masterpiece that is Resurgam by Eric Ball. And they pull at every heart-string along the way. Through the despair, sorrow, fear and anger portrayed by the music the interpretation keeps the underlying theme of hope alive.


Cracking CD you should buy if you like meaty brass band music. If Frank Bernaerts Gangham Style is more your thing however give it a miss.

You can buy the CD from Amazon by following this link.

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. If you have recorded The Very Best of Frank Bernaerts I promise not to be to scathing. Seriously drop me a line at and I'll let you know where to send it.

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