2019 Area test piece discussion thread

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by CousinJack, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. CousinJack

    CousinJack New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Greenwich/Mullion
    I seem to remember a thread like this last year so I thought I would try my hand and create one for this year's test pieces.

    I'll be playing Holst's First Suite at Stevenage and I'm largely unimpressed (as I imagine many 3rd section players/conductors are!) in its selection as a 3rd section test piece. Whilst I believe it is a fine piece of music and that musically speaking it is enough of a challenge for most 3rd section bands - I can see many conductors tearing their hair out over balance, intonation, inconsistent tempos etc. - and whilst I wished it had a bit more technical meatiness to it my real issue is in two places:

    1) We are playing a very, very old arrangement. I can't name any off the top of my head but I am sure there are newer arrangements that have been written for modern brass bands with modern, large bore instruments (also where timpani are standard!)

    2) This is a big big step down regarding percussion requirements from Darkwood and Napoleon on the Alps. This could lead to players leaving bands (but I'm sure many veteran percussionists expect it!). For example, my old (also 3rd section) band had 4 percussionists at contest time: their 3 regular percussionists and their extra baritone player to keep them involved during contesting season. This was fine for Darkwood and Napoleon on the Alps but in the Holst they'll all end up twiddling their thumbs for four hours a week. Furthermore it may hinder bands looking for extra percussion players - especially when trying to recruit from outside the movement. I can't imagine it's particularly enticing when a prospective percussionist turns up to a rehearsal and is told "here's this year's test piece, we will be spending most rehearsal time on that for the next 10 weeks, oh, and you have to share this part almost playable by one player between the three of you).

    Finally, on the 2nd Section test piece: I took one of Tilbury's rehearsals in September as an audition for their then vacant MD position and we spent maybe half an hour looking at Rise of the Pheonix. It was meant to be an unseen piece so I was sight-conducting and the band had just received the music so they were sight reading so I can't really make a very solid opinion on it. However, I thought it was musically pretty uninteresting. It works well enough as a test piece but it sounds very pastiche-y the majority of the time. I doubt I will hear it again (3rd section isn't on the same day as the 2nd in Stevenage) so I can only really hold first impressions on it for now.
     
  2. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,993
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Third section is an interesting pick... As noted, it's not technically that difficult (and as standard, I'll predict there will be controversial results in places as a result), but it does make a nice change to see third section getting a different kind of test... And as noted, musicality, intonation, tightness and stamina will really tell.

    It's difficult because these sorts of tests will do bands good to work on seriously (having heard several third section bands butcher bits of this as a concert piece over the years)... But the lack of technical difficulty often leads to results that are controversial, especially with very large section sizes as in some areas.


    I've only briefly listened to the 2nd section piece... First impressions, theres plenty of pitfalls and it'll do a good job of splitting the bands.
    Seems quite accessible musically, if not particularly interesting (to me atleast).


    Really pleased with the choice of Seascapes for top - great piece.

    I know of a couple of first section bands unconvinced by the difficulty of symphony of marches... Big, big mistake.
     
  3. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    Kent
    Can't say I agree with you about Seascapes, Change the time and Key signatures, font size, add a melodic line and you may be getting there.
    I'd sooner play Symphony of marches any day
     
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,574
    Location:
    Oxford
    Are you thinking that the Holst arrangement is "very, very old" because it says "Copyright 1921" at the bottom? I've heard a number of people think so in recent online discussion.

    I'm not at all convinced that that actually is the date of the arrangement. In fact, I'm convinced that it isn't...
    For first, the typesetting of it looks nothing like 1920s band publications. For second, the percussion usage is untypical of the 1920s brass band. For third, and most clinching, when we look at the usages of Sydney Herbert works on BrassBandResults, we see three pieces - this one, an arrangement of the Holst Second Suite in F, and an original piece called Balmoral Inventions, which is recorded there with a composition date of 1988. The first recorded usage of the First Suite arrangement is in 1970, and the first recorded usage of the Second Suite arrangement 1969.
    It's pretty inconceivable that Herbert made the arrangement half a century before it suddenly began to see immediate and widespread contest usage, and it's pretty inconceivable that someone writing at high level in 1921 would still have been writing in 1988, 67 years later. I suggest that the simplest explanation is that the First Suite arrangement dates from 1969 or so.

    So why does it say 1921 on it? I think this must be because it was the date of first publication of the original wind band version; Wikipedia tells us that it was completed in manuscript in 1909, premiered in 1920 and published by Boosey in 1921. So that clears that up, I think. Still a confusing thing to do to put the wind band copyright date on the brass band edition!
     
  5. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    734
    Location:
    Brighton, UK
    The "new" edition is simply the same as the original but with the Studio Music data at the foot - possibly that would make copying this edition a further period away from being legal?
     
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,574
    Location:
    Oxford
    Agree strongly. That rare thing in a piece that gets set - deep musical thought.
     
    Tom-King likes this.
  7. CousinJack

    CousinJack New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Greenwich/Mullion
    I was, but I'm not convinced anymore! I had it somewhere in my mind that this arrangement was published with the wind band version or soon after but I after doing some digging I see that it was first used in 1970 at the 2nd section areas and in 1972 as an own choice piece. Now I'm even more confused as to why Sydney Herbert reduced the percussion from the original - which is my main issue with this arrangement really.
     
  8. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,124
    Location:
    Between the Moon and Mexico
    FWIW This arrangement will enter the public domain 70 years after the death of the arranger, Sydney Herbert. As I can't find his dates anywhere, this remains unknown, but I would bet it's still in copyright.
    The Studio Music data is only there because they are the selling agents of the Boosey Edition.
     
  9. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    734
    Location:
    Brighton, UK
    Thanks Phillip - a quick search on Sydney Herbert came up with a composition from 1988 so that would mean at least 2058 before anyone can legitimately copy this.
     
  10. Mr_Chairman

    Mr_Chairman Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Daventry
    Looking at some of the compositions/arrangements by Sydney Herbert, the Copyright date of 1921 may well be the date of arrangement. There is a copyright date of 1924 on the 'Second Suite in F' and there is an arrangement of Schubert's 'Ave Maria' copyrighted in 1926. If he wrote a testpiece in 1988 then he lived a long life!!
     
  11. CousinJack

    CousinJack New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Greenwich/Mullion
    Well I suppose the origin of the Holst may be a mystery then!
     
  12. old sandbachian

    old sandbachian Member

    Messages:
    33
    I am not sure you are correct Philip. Copyright in an arrangement lasts for 25 years, not 70. So even if this Herbert arrangement was made as late as 1993, which it wasn't, then it would have been out of copyright at the beginning of this year.
     
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,574
    Location:
    Oxford
    Does anybody know:
    a) Who Sydney Herbert was?
    b) What his (even approximate) dates were?

    He seems to be a total mystery to everyone... Which maybe hints at an earlier rather than a later date.

    FWIW, I had a chat with someone the other day about this - apparently the Herbert Holst arrangement was played regularly by the Yorkshire Youth Band in the late 50s, so it predates its contest popularity by some years at least. I wonder if that 1988 date that I set store on above is reliable - has anyone here ever played Balmoral Inventions? Set at the 1988 North Wales Rally in the 2nd section, three bands competed on it - Rhos and District (the now defunct Wrexham Brass as was), Ifton Welfare (now Ifton Colliery), and Royal Buckley Town (who still have the same name). Anyone from those bands on the forum, able to look up its copyright date in the library?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  14. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,574
    Location:
    Oxford
  15. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    Kent
    Had a quick look on intnet. Sidney Herbert arranged Jerusalem by Parry, inc. in the film "Brassed Off"
    I thought the name was familiar, Northfleet had this arr: and played it many times.
    I'll carry on digging;)
     
  16. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    Kent
    Hepworth Band have recorded a C.D. "Yorkshire Heritage".
    It features two arrangements of Sydney Herbert's
    Three Dale Dances by Arthur Wood ( he of the Archers theme )
    and again "Jerusalem" by Parry.
    an E-mail to them might come up with arrangement or copyright dates
     
  17. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    Messages:
    1,432
    Location:
    Long Eaton Nottingham
    has anyone come across an errata as yet or even an unofficial list of printing errors of the Holst
     
  18. CousinJack

    CousinJack New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Greenwich/Mullion
    I don't think there is one, however the vast majority of errors players can find errors fairly easily. I've only spotted one problem in the BBb bass part which is there is a G in the last bar of the first movement when it should be an F
     
  19. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,218
    Location:
    Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
    MoominDave asked: Does anybody know:
    a) Who Sydney Herbert was?
    b) What his (even approximate) dates were?

    Like Dave, I'm intrigued. There's next to nothing on the Internet about Sydney Herbert so it looks as though he'll remain something of an enigma. I've checked my recordings list and found a couple of additional titles with arrangements attributed to him: Euphonium solo "Lucy Long" by Charles Godfrey and Herman Koenig's "Post Horn Galop". The latter was recorded by Harry Mortimer and David Read so, if anyone knows David, he might be able to add some information. My two recordings of "Three Dale Dances" both show Arthur Wood as the composer but with no arranger. The Sydney Herbert arrangement could be an error of omission or, perhaps less likely, a different version. It appears that he wasn't a very prolific composer/arranger. Finally, I did find one version of Spirit of Pageantry by Percy Fletcher (Cory in Concert Vol.IV) with the arrangement attributed to Sydney Herbert but all other recordings simply indicate Fletcher as the composer.
     
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  20. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,124
    Location:
    Between the Moon and Mexico
    Quite amazing that there is so little information available online about Herbert. He has 90 arrangements listed with PRS (mostly published by Boosey) but was not a member himself - was he perhaps not British??. I've looked at some of the 'dates registered', but they do not really give a clue as to publication date. Most of the 'work created' dates are in the 1980s, which were probably re-registrations of some sort. The man is a mystery, but obviously very busy.
     
    Slider1 likes this.
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