1812 Overture

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Imperial, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. Imperial

    Imperial Member

    I wonder if anyone have experience of performing Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture in brass band arrangement?
    What arrangement did you perform? How did you handle the cannon's and church bell sounds?
  2. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Oh yes indeed.... I did this with a then progressive 4th section band many years ago. It was the very first time I have been playing a piece where a standing ovation was taking place even before we had finished playing it.

    I can't remember who did the arrangement, but it is a fantastic piece.
  3. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Denis Wright is arranger of the one I've played and enjoyed.
  4. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    The Denis Wright one, but make the optional cut, or you'll be there all day! Brings the house down though.
  5. Imperial

    Imperial Member

    and what about the canon sounds? made by a bass drum?
    Is there anyone that has participated in a performance where actual cannon's were used?
  6. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    Whilst at university I saw a great performance done by a mass tuba choir (Huddersfield Tuba Week - happy memories:) ), the cannon effects were achieved by every member of the audience having paper bags to blow up and burst at the appropriate times - incredibly effective.

    I have played it with orchestras and wind bands using cannons - incredibly noisy - you could hardly hear the brass:eek:
  7. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    While I was with the New York Staff Band, we combined with the New York Philharmonic (conducted by John Nelson) for a performance in Central Park to a vast audience. The finale was accompanied by a spectacular firework display. As a redundant conductor, I got to see the show. It's a hackneyed idea but the crowds seem to love it.

    [Replying to the thread and influenced by the UK's 5 November ;) ]
  8. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Denis Wright:tup :clap: arrangement
  9. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    We did Denis Wright's arrangement at Ilkley in August for a kind of "proms" night.

    It was outdoors and when we finished the last few bars there was a full-on fireworks display which went on for about 15minutes. It was a quality way to finish it!!
  10. jim

    jim Member

    did a recording of this for the 'stroud subscription cd' wons we just smaked the nails out the bass drum almost gave Syke's a hart attack sat infront of it!
    or u could do what my mate did with a band ones and gaffer tape the skin of an old tatty bass drum and get your No1 golfing driver out and smack it one!!
  11. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    done it with a keyboard for the cannons through the PA. It was a dual voice with an explosion and an 808 kit bass drum! was very loud!

    (also the 1812 lol)
  12. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Seen and done it a few ways (oo-er missus). The Frank Wright arrangement that is. Do make the cut (7 to 22 or something like that) or it goes on all day.

    Spennymoor a few years ago, York Imps (I think) used indoor fireworks, like you get in the theatre, electrically fired. They were apparently going to put them in metal dustbins for extra volume, but it was plenty loud enough! Just as well there weren't any dicky hearts in the audience!

    Have also seen used; large bass drum with side off, mike in, wired up to the PA. Sampled cannon fired from the mixing desk.

    Last time was helping my brother's band out, had the sampled cannon plus firework display for the loud bit, fired from behind the truck trailer we were using as a stage. We did wonder if the trailer was on fire as all the smoke came curling over the top........

    Simplest option is the biggest concert bass drum you can find, with a very large beater, and someone with big arms to hit it!
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Nick Childs also had done an arrangement.
  14. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    I thought it was Bob, but am quite prepared to be wrong ;)

    In terms of the bangs, you can get stage pyrotechnics that as a previous poster suggested are electrically triggered. There are various things you need to check for, but the most important is that you need to check that the fire regulations of your venue allow you to use pyros as part of your show.

    Church bells are more difficult. And large :biggrin:

    The obvious answer, again as already mentioned, is to do it electronically with a sampler / sample player. I've done similar things in the past - thunder machines being replaced by synthesisers etc, usually triggered by a member of the percussion section. You could do both effects this way. Again, you need to check with the venue if you need things like PAT certification if you're going to plug things in.

    Oh, I've always played the Wright arrangement - but then I'm a relative old timer :p
  15. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  16. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Fairy nuff :D

    AFAIK I've only ever seen Bob credited as an arranger, and you're right - it was an assumption ;)
  17. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Whatever you do, and especially if you unwisely choose to sequence the cannon sound, PLAY THEM AT THE CORRECT TIME.

    Brilliant post nationals concert (2002?), but the 1812 cannons being two beats out each time kinda spoiled it!
  18. jim

    jim Member

    It is bobs arrangment have played it under him aswell in the past, had a bit of an accident once with one of the boyes in cory when we were both deping we ran into each other at the end, the an other time the bells were hit so hard the string stuff kept breaking!
  19. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - that's what I felt originally, as Nick doesn't have a reputation for scribbling notes on manuscript. My Spectacular Classics vol.5 CD is on loan and I don't have the Euro 2003 CD, ... so I cannot check! Thanks for putting that right!!
  20. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    It was also the general consensus that the bangs - especially the first one - were far louder than necessary. There's a famous recording by Dorati that features real cannon and musket fire, and it's nothing like as loud as you would expect.

    One of our most embarassing concerts with the Guards was in Berlin (during the Cold War), when we featured "1812". Dick Ridings went through a long spiel, explaining how many bangs there would be, and warning that if there were any more it could mean problems. In the event, none of them went off, and they were being aranged by the battallion's explosives expert, charged with the defence of Berlin fro the communist hardes!

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