Brass band arrangements that are better than the originals..

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Lucky Beaver, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. Lucky Beaver

    Lucky Beaver Member

    Don't think we've had this topic before but appologies if we have.

    Anyone got any thoughts on arrangements for band that work better than for the original scoring. There are also those that are originally great but don't lose anything by being arranged for band and inevitably those which should've been left well alone :shock: (and it's tough for me to admit that anything doesn't work for band!)

    To get you started, here are a couple for each category (in my humble opinion):

    Procession to the Minster - Wagner arr Snell (Improvement)
    Ruby Tuesday - arr Catherall (Improvement)
    Finale from Organ Symphony - Saint-Saens (Equally Great)
    Pines of Rome - Respighi (Equally Great)
    Theme from slow mvmnt, Symphony 2 - Rachmaninov (Leave Well Alone)
    Theme from 'Schindler's List' - Williams (Leave well Alone)
  2. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Adagio for Strings - Definitely leave well alone!

  3. asteria

    asteria Member

    Macarthur Park - heard the band arrangement years before i even touched a brass instrument and it's still one of my favourite pieces, but was quite dissapointed when i heard the original!
    Don't get me wrong, the music is great, but what's all the "someone left my cake out in the rain" stuff?!? The words completely destroyed it for me!
  4. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    A few off the top of my head:

    The Magic Flute :- should have been left, fast light violiny stuff doesn't really work IMO. There's one or two other Mozart pieces similar.
    Tristan and Isolde, The Mastersingers (Alex Owen) :- excellent, not a direct copy of the original but made into fantastic pieces.
    Most film music, eg John Williams, Enrico Morricone, The Gael, Harry Potter and so on, seems to go over well.
    Derek Bourgeois Concerto No.1:- apparently this was originally a study for two pianos (?), hated rehearsing and playing it!
    The Irish Blessing :- proof that music doen't have to be clever or complicated to be good.
    Carnival Romaine , Bienvenuto Cellini :-fantastic when played well.
    I agree with most of Lucky Beaver's list, too, although I think the Saint-Saens organ symphony would be better with an organ added in. (my bro arranged it as a college exercise and reckoned he ran out of parts trying to give the organ parts to the band - or so he says!)
  5. yorkie19

    yorkie19 Active Member

    Question - Can something be better than the original?
  6. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I don't think arrangements can be defined as "better" or "worse" than the original composition. It is a matter of how successful the arrangement/transcription is for the new ensemble (in this case, brass band) and how clever the arranger is, and of course the music being arranged/transcribed.
  7. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    This is indeed the premise of the Theory of Evolution
  8. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    ... and though Roger has mentioned the Adagio for Strings by Barber earlier in the thread.. the version we all know and (most of us) love is indeed an adaptation and further work of the original.

    Adagio for Strings was initially the 3rd (I think) movement of a string quartet. It received such musical acclaim and attention that Samuel Barber took it to the next level - and boy did the Theory of Evolution (as quoted by Keppler) kick in eh!

    So, indeed - can something be better than the original..... "yes" in my opinion it most certainly can :D
  9. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    Barber also reworked the original for voices as an Agnus Dei. It has its own haunting quality, but somehow doesn't quite match the emotional intensity of the string orchestra version. Possibly something to do with a choir not having a five-and-a-half octave range?!

  10. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    Except the new Italian Job film, which was never going to be any good compared to the classic original! :wink: Seriously though, yes of course something can be better than the original. At what point does something stop being an arrangement or adaptation and become a work in its own right though? :dunno
  11. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    ... but you gotta admire their intonation when singing it though eh Dave! - it is simply superb. I have a version by Harry Christophers and his 16 singing it and I am in awe of the perfect voicing in this version. No wavering, no faultering, not even the slightest amount from the pin point centre of spot on tuning & intonation.
  12. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Don't forget al the Bach "masterpieces" that started life in different forms - sometimes even written by other people - before reaching their final versions, and that includes the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which is now thought to have been originally for solo violin :shock:
  13. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Good point Chris.... subjective one this, but I'd say it is when the original work is no longer recognisable from the current arrangement/adaptation... :)

    Great thread this.... :D
  14. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    One wonders how many string orchestras manage that...ever! Or how many bands, come to think of it :twisted:
  15. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    None I imagine..... which is why I find this recording so spectacular. I agree that it doesn't match the emotional intensity of the orchestral version, but the sheer quality of the singing is out of this world.

    I can honestly say it's some of the best singing I've ever heard. To those who haven't heard it ... and if you already like Adagio for Strings, you should try to... :D
  16. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    Can't match the emotional intensity of the original??

    Dunno if I agree with you there John. The recording I have is simply superb. 9 mins of simply electrifying stuff, from medative pools to anguished crys to plaintive pleas.. its all in there
    possibly my first favourite piece of music
  17. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Having just listened to it again Neal.... d'ya know, I think I might be swayed ... :) marvelous, really marvelous...

    I suppose it depends on what mood you're in when listening to it.
  18. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    To be fair to John, it was me wot said that! - and i was referring to the string orchestra version rather than the true original (string quartet). I have a recording of Leonard Bernstein conducting the strings of the New York Phil. which is simply incredible. Think we might just have to agree to disagree on this one. Still, wouldn't the world - and tMP - be dull if we all agreed about everything?!

  19. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    And then John agreed. I stand beside myself corrected :oops:
  20. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    now that we're all right we can return to the original topic..

    Setting myself up for a flaming from Ian here, but the band arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody is great. Pure melted cheese, but it's got a drive to it that's completely different from the Queen original. Maybe it's not better, but it's different! There's an old Faireys recordding knocking around somewhere, and I just think it's class (cheesy class)