Twenty Performances of The Maunsell Forts

On September 14th the finals for the 2002 Open Brass Championships will be taking place at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. This year is the 150th anniversary of the Open Championship and the centenary of the birth of Harry Mortimer CBE, pioneering spirit of the Brass Band world for much of the 20th century. To mark these two special anniversaries the BBC have commissioned a major new work from John McCabe The Maunsell Forts. This test piece will receive over 20 performances in Birmingham and will certainly be one of the highlights of this important weekend in the Brass Band calendar.
John McCabe was inspired to write this piece after a boat trip around three of the Thames Estuary forts. The Maunsell Sea Forts are military defence structures from the Second World War, designed and built under the supervision of Guy Maunsell. There were three in Liverpool Bay, not far from Hilbre Island and now no longer extant, and five in the Thames Estuary between the North Kent and Essex coasts. Of these last, one was dismantled in the early 1960s, but the other four still stand, buffeted by the sea and the winds, as a reminder both of great engineering inventiveness and of the grim circumstances which necessitated the use of that skill.

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