Set as the THIRD SECTION test piece for the 2017 British Brass Band Regional Championships.
Blackpool Winter Gardens 26th February 2017
Third Section adjudicators: Steve Pritchard Jones and Glyn Williams
Darkwood was commissioned in 2012 by Neil Ashcroft a life long member of Blackley Brass Band and was presented to the band in recognition of thier 75th Anniversary. The work is in three movements and was concieved as either an extended concert item or as an own choice test-piece.
Blackley Village is a northerly district of the city of Manchester, and is the home of the last remaining city centre brass band. Blackley appears in the Doomsday book and its name is a derivative of the Anglo-Saxon Blæclēah which means 'Darkwood' or 'Dark Clearing'.
The first movement of the suite is named after Boggart Hole Clough, a local urban nature reserve. A clough is a local colloquialism for a steep sided valley or gully and this particular clough is believed to be the home of a Boggart, a mischievous spirit or imp.
The second movement of Darkwood is subtitled “House on the Hill”, and evokes images of St. Andrew's Church which is located in Higher Blackley. Perched high on the hill, it overlooks the village and across the valley towards Manchester city centre.
The final movement depicts Blackley’s historic evolution, from its medieval roots as a small residential hamlet, through to the present day and its importance as an industrial part of the city.