I love brass band music. Not quite as much as Metal, but there are certain pieces that really create an emotional response that Metal cannot normally get anywhere near. One of these pieces is the incredibly descriptive music within Fraternity, a test piece (composed by Thierre Deleruyelle) that stirs the emotions like few others.

It’s a thematic tone poem based around the story of a mining disaster and is a modern masterpiece. Many brass band test pieces composed over the last ten to fifteen years attempt to create a technical obstacle course fraught with difficult notes and time changes. Sometimes (but not always) these pieces sacrifice musicality for showmanship, and while entertaining and impressive they can be a bit difficult to feel. Fraternity delivers emotion in abundance, while also being fiendishly difficult to play; the quiet playing in the final couple of movements is so exposed (and hauntingly beautiful).

It’s probably my favourite brass band music of recent times. Have a listen of the incredible Eikanger band delivering an almost flawless version of it:

Brass playing doesn’t get any better than this.

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