‘Mysteries of the Horizon’ – Brendan’s latest concerto recording !

Last year I had a new concerto release on cd.

Scan copy.jpg

The concerto, by brilliant, Belgium-based British composer Nigel Clarke, is entitled Mysteries of the Horizon and is for Solo Trumpet and wind band. I have just begun experimenting with SoudCloud and so I have temporarily placed a separate recording of each movement down below. Please feel free to have a listen…


Nigel Clarke and I recorded the work in one three hour recording session in the Concert Hall of the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester in September 2015.

If you want a listen…

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The Consequences Of Falling

A great piece from Ailís Ní Ríain. We toured ‘The Consequences of Falling’ as part of the Delia Darlings Tour 2013-2014. This extract was recorded during the gig in London 2014 at The Horse Hospital. The music was inspired by the music of Delia Derbyshire (especially from ‘Pot Au Feu) and portrays two ‘tape’ machines that go in and out of sync. Sorry about the audible groan at the end but it was quite a challenging ten minute work!

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/145144274″>The Consequences of Falling (extract)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/ailis”>Ail&iacute;s N&iacute; R&iacute;ain</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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The Acrobat Challenge

Young trombone virtuoso, Stephen Sykes, is fighting for his life from a rare form of cancer. To help Stephen get treatment, trombonists and brass players from all over the world have been taking The Acrobat Challenge. This is my contribution…

To donate please visit


At this stage over £97,000 has been raised in just twenty days.


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Watch Out! They’ll be ‘avin’ yer!

As much as one may dislike hearing people playing the bugle, I think this level of police intervention should be reserved for those found guilty of committing bagpipe practice.


That’s the trouble with buglers: they’re only as good as their Last Post!

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Stravinsky Tells It How It Is!

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Sound Advice From Wynton Marsalis On Attitude To Practice…

Wynton’s Twelve Ways to Practice

As a boy growing up in New Orleans, I remember my father, Ellis, a pianist, and his friends talking about “sheddin’.” When they got together, theyʼd say, “Man, you need to go shed,” or “I’ve been sheddin’ hard.” When I was around 11, I realized that sheddin’ meant getting to the woodshed – practicing. By the age of 16, I understood what the shed was really about – hard, concentrated work. When my brother Branford and I auditioned for our high school band, the instructor, who knew my father, was excited about Ellisʼ sons coming to the band. But my audition was so pitiful he said, “Are you sure youʼre Ellis’ son?”

At the time, his comment didn’t bother me because I was more interested in basketball than band. Over the next several years, however, I began practicing seriously. Practice is essential to learning music – and anything else, for that matter. I like to say that the time spent practicing is the true sign of virtue in a musician. When you practice, it means you are willing to sacrifice to sound good.

Even if practice is so important, kids find it very hard to do because there are so many distractions. Thatʼs why I always encourage them to practice and explain how to do it. I’ve developed what I call “Wynton’s 12 Ways to Practice.” These will work for almost every activity – from music to schoolwork to sports.

Wyntonʼs Twelve Ways to Practice: From Music to Schoolwork
Published in the Education Digest | Sept 1996

1. Seek out instruction: Find an Continue reading

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Ha ha…


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Contra Bass Trumpet

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Gracie Fields Train…

I arrived back from Germany the other day. I swapped the aeroplane for a train at Manchester for the last leg of my journey home to Liverpool. I was delighted to see that, although badly faded, the train was dedicated to Gracie Fields.

Dame Gracie Fields, DBE (born Grace Stansfield; 9 January 1898 – 27 September 1979) was an English actress, singer and comedian and star of both cinema and music hall. She spent the later part of her life on the isle of Capri, Italy. Fields was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for “services to entertainment” in 1938, and in 1979, seven months before her death, she was invested a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II.


To read more about the amazing life of ‘Our Gracie’ click here.

The final few lines of Gracie’s famous song “Sally” were written by her husband’s mistress, Annie Lipman, which Fields sang at every performance from 1931 onwards – claiming in later life that she wanted to “Drown blasted Sally with Walter with the aspidistra on top!”, a reference to two other of her well-known songs, “Walter, Walter”, and “It’s the Biggest Aspidistra in the World.”

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A Musical Joke…

Ben came into the house with a new harmonica.

‘Grandpa, do you mind if I play this in here?’

‘Of course not, Ben. I love music. In fact, when your Grandma and I were young, music saved my life.’

‘What happened?’

‘Well, it was during the famous Johnstown flood. The dam broke, and when the water hit our house, it knocked it right off the foundation. Grandma got on the dining room table and floated out safely.’

‘How about you?’

‘Me? I accompanied her on the piano!’

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