Edwin Firth Memorial Concert 4 Bars Rest Review
The musical life of Edwin Firth has been marked in an outstanding manner by Foden’s Band.
100 years to the day on which he was killed serving in France in the First World War, remembrance services were held at the cenotaphs in the villages of Elworth and Sandbach to honour the former principal cornet player and others who made the ultimate sacrifice.
What other victories?
Two identical concerts were also given; both at Sandbach School Theatre featuring music that celebrated his tenure with the band – one that started in 1909 and encompassed five British Open titles and one National Championship success.
What other victories could have come their way if he had returned from France?
He died aged just 29 – less than six months before the end of the conflict.
The music resonated with an evocative sense of history; ‘The Cossack’ march leading into an original recording of Edwin playing ‘Cleopatra’ and later ‘Pandora’ - revealing a player of remarkable technique and musicality, delicacy and finesse.
The current incumbent Mark Wilkinson also displayed his artistry on an unearthed gem, ‘Fodenian’ – written for Edwin as well as ‘Goodbye’ – which was the last solo that Edwin played with Foden’s prior to being posted overseas in 1917. Mark performed this on Edwin’s actual cornet which was made in 1902
Tributes and memories
The march ‘Westward Ho!’ which Firth won a national composition competition was dusted off with aplomb, whilst ‘Gems of Schubert’, the test piece which Foden’s (with him as principal cornet) won the 1910 National Championship was played with tasteful understanding.
Tributes and memories – from Allan Littlemore’s excellent comparing and the tribute to those lost but not forgotten men of the villages by Rev David Page, to ‘The Lost Chord’, ‘Hymn to the Fallen’, and ‘Henry Geehl’s beautiful ‘Threnody’, led to the delightful ‘Light Cavalry’ to close - a work that Firth made his own as a player.
It was a fitting end to a fine concert and an equally fine remembrance of a truly remarkable musician.
Courtesy of 4brasrest.com: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/concerts/con2167.asp