A Celtic Suite - Phillip Sparke

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by vcbjet, Feb 20, 2005.

  1. vcbjet

    vcbjet Member

    Hello folks!
    I was wondering if any of you have played this piece, we are thinking of using it for an own choice contest in May. We are a 4th section band who are coming off the back of a few good contest results (2nd@Weston, 1st@SWBBA and 1st@Wessex).

    How difficult is it? Could a 4th Section band cope? Any big solos? How much percussion? Is there an on-line recording or sound bite? A.O.B?

    Your help would be appreciated!
  2. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member


    This link explains the music by the composer and it has been rated as 4/6 moderatley difficult. last time I played it was with a 3rd section band, but that is not to say that your band will not be able to use it. Otherwise pm Anglo Music Press and ask Philip Sparke for his opinion.
  3. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Last time I played it was in the old Pontins Finals, in the 3rd section, so given the passage of time I reckon a decent 4th section band would be able to have a good stab at it.

    It has a few tricky parts - going from memory, there's a section in the first movement where the main tune breaks up and everyone gets one or two notes of it which is obviously tricky to get right consistantly, and I remember we struggled with the last movement (Men of Harlech) but I can't remember why now. There are no really big solos but the Euph starts the second movement totally unaccompanied - followed by the first baritone and it is pretty thinly scored for the first half of the 2nd movement.

    It's a good piece, I remember enjoying working on it - no surprise given it's a Philip Sparke piece - and should give an aspiring 4th section band a decent challenge IMHO.
  4. JR

    JR Member

    It's a terrific piece - was the 3rd section finals test in the early 90s
    Slow movt is superb - "Suo gan" - you would need a good bass section
    I think it might be asking a lot for 4th section but a good effort would certainly be rewarded - would make a change from the usual fayre

    john r
  5. Ali

    Ali Member

    I have played this with Rochdale Youth Band years ago but We (Dobx Silver) played the middle movement 'Suo gan' as part of our entertainments program for Butlins. Overall the piece is very good and very playable but the last movment 'Men of Harlach' is a bit of a pig. Intonation and playing together will win lots of points on this piece.
  6. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Fab piece! Played it at 3rd section finals in '93 ish... definitely playable by 4th section as long as your euph and bari aren't wobbly. Don't know about any online recordings, but its on a really old Cory CD - Brass from the Valleys. Have fun!
  7. Jasonp

    Jasonp Member

    Great Suite. It was written for West Glamorgan Youth back in the 80's (when I played with them) and was used as the Youth Section test piece at the nationals in 88.
    It's not too difficult, but there are some very exposed parts for the Euph and Bari in the second movement.
    Good luck with it, you'll enjoy.

    Some useless info for you....Suo Gan, the 2nd movement was used in Steven Spielberg's film Empire of the Sun, so I guess John Williams must have some Welsh connections :)
  8. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    Celtic Suite is a great test for 3rd section bands , would be a test for a very good 4th section band( 1st movement is very tricky in the Dawn Werin ).
    I am sure Leyland recorded it on "Music of Philip Sparke " (along with Harmony Music and Cambridge Variations and a few others ).
    the 1st movement was recorded by the Parc and Dare band on the Celtic Brass CD ( Sain recording label ).
    was watching the Billy Connelly world tour of Scotland , Wales and Ireland , and the episode which featured Northern Ireland had a folk version for Violin playing the "Dawns Werin tune....
    anyway it's a smashing piece get it and work at it , will improve loads of aspects of band playing.
  9. bandsman12uk

    bandsman12uk New Member

    i have played celtic suite 3 or 4 times in the 2nd & 3 rd sections . its a lovely bit of music . the 2nd movement needs some good sounds from the ban and the 3 rd movement does take some playing at right speed .last time we played it was last nov in a local contest in the 2nd section as a set testpiece
    . we come 2 nd
  10. vcbjet

    vcbjet Member

    Thanks for all your comments folks, it has been really useful i'll bear it all in mind. Bring on the Areas! Its only 2 weeks to go!
  11. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    I recently played Celtic when considering it as an own choice for Maryborough, It is fairly playable by a confident D grade band, provided you have a few capable independant players to help you get through the first movement. That lovely little section at (C???) is fun, but a nasty piece of music!!