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Classical Music

Classical Classroom, Ep 128: British-style Brass Bands Are Shiny! With Robert Walp

Coal miners and classical music, baby.


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Robert Walp, Music Director of the Houston Brass Band
Robert Walp, Music Director of the Houston Brass Band

British-style brass bands are of the people, for the people, and by the people. They’re made up of unpaid citizens who get together to play classical music just because they love to. They have this crazy working class history that dates back almost 200 years to British industrialization. At competitions, fans express allegiance to their local brass bands with the same passion that they do sports teams. And many of the musicians are one life choice away from being professional players. Robert Walp of the Houston Symphony and the Houston Brass Band explains all about the history and culture of the British-style brass band, and what these bands look like in America today.

Music in this episode (all from the Houston Brass Band’s CD One):

  • Fantasia Brilliante on Rule, Britannia. Thomas Arne/John Hartmann.
  • Pizzicato Polka. Johann & Josef Strauss, arr. by D. Ashmore.
  • Tuba Copper. Gilbert and Sullivan, arr. by S. Roberts.
  • Prelude for an Occasion. Edward Gregson.

Audio production for this episode by Todd “Trombone Shorty” Hulslander with muting by Dacia Clay.

To find out about the Houston Brass Band’s upcoming events, go here.

Check out this trailer for the 2014 European Brass Band Championships:

And here’s the trailer for the movie Brassed Off, which inspired the founding members of the Houston Brass Band to get started (please enjoy Ewan McGregor’s ’90’s hair):