British Open and National test pieces

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by midwalesman, May 10, 2003.

  1. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
    Although I love The Planets by Holst and the Enigma Variations by Elgar I feel that their choice as test pieces is dangerous. No, there is no doubt that they will be technically and musically difficult to play. Yes, they will be pieces recognised by the general public (if any actually turn up who aren't banders!!). Yet, by taking two or three movements out of a big suite is taking them out of context ? I can see that each individual movement possibly works very well, however many years ago I played the whole of both the Enigma Variations and Planets Suite (except for Pluto!) and enjoyed them immensely.
    I have no qualms about using quality transcriptions of music but surely there are challenging transcriptions out there who are available to play in their entirety? The Frank Wright arrangements ? Dr Denis Wright arrangements ? These transcriptions are still very difficult to play and although there are certain corners that have been taken out they still remain in a whole and are surely a better option.
    I am reasearching bands at the moment and appreciate the energy and influence that Eric Ball had on brass banding. His music is fantastic and I have, except for the above reasons, no problem about celebrating is influence by chosing a piece of his for the Nationals. However, another great admirer of the brass band died 20 years ago, the 23rd of February 1983 to be precise. Why is it that we are not celebrating his influence on brass banding, although not as big as Eric Ball granted, 'Pagentry' was a piece which was more evolutionary to the movement than the efforts of Holst and Elgar (but falls short perhaps of Fletcher). The British Open would have been the ideal place to play such a piece as Three Figures or even Pagentry?
    So it will be, Venus and Jupiter....and some movements of Elgar! Im a firm believer in new music at contests, but I also appreciate cross over music and its transcription. I'm wondering when are we going to get some modern transcriptions of more modern music. Then again why do we not have transcriptions of a finale or Scherzo from a Mahler Symphony or a few movements from a Bruckner Symphony. I have heard music from both which would be suitable for band contests time wise. Even if an additional player is required for an extra Flugal for example. ??

    My main point here though is, why Holst Planets when we could use any number of other people this year who could be celebrated! For instance Herbert Howells.
  2. Janet Watkins

    Janet Watkins Member

  3. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

    I've heard it from a few sources now, so I think it could be true.
  4. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    It's now confirmed that it will be Jupiter and Venus from the planets for the Open. I don't see anything wrong with it myself. Last year was a new composition, so why not go back to something tried and tested? As regards to the finals, I think the selection of the Enigma Variations in itself is great, however I would have thought they were going to use an Eric Ball composition rather than an arrangement. Nice to see they have made use of Grimeys absence to invite a band from the USA. It would be interesting to see how they fair over here. They have won two hat-tricks of their national championships, so I think they should hold their own.
  5. Active Member

    Wellingborough, NN8 2QH
    British Open and Nationals test pieces

    Since the announcement that Enigma Variations (selection from) would the test peice for the Nationals, we've had several enquiries about recordings of it. Unfortunately, we are not aware that anyone has recorded the full Eric Ball arrangement but would be interested to find out if in fact it has been done.
    We have plenty of stock of the Black Dyke CD containing the Stephen Roberts arrangement of The Planets.
  6. BoozyBTrom

    BoozyBTrom Member

    Auckland Park, Bishop Auckland
  7. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    Re: British Open and Nationals test pieces

    The full version is on the Polyphonic cd Elgar in Brass, played by the combined forces of Desofrd and Fodens.
  8. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    I'm disappointed by the choices. To have no new work (or significant revival) for our two major contests seems a hugely retrograde step. Disappointment is compounded by the fact that we'll be hearing excerpts from chosen pieces rather than whole works - I thought we'd moved a long way since the days of playing 'bleeding chunk' transcriptions.

    I'm not against hearing arrangements used in contests, far from it, but to have two in the same year sends a very negative signal to those of us who enjoy new work and for the future of band music generally.

    Once again the choice of pieces indicates very clearly that the organisers of our major contests don't talk to one another and that there is no coherent rationale behind the decision making process. It would be very easy - and much more satisfactory - to work the major contests on an annual rotational system:

    Areas - new commission from BB composer
    National Finals - revival of piece from 1990's
    British Open - major transcription
    Masters - revival of work from 1980's
    Grand Sheild - new commission from outside BB movement
    Pontins - revival of work pre 1980

    which would ensure a healthy input of new work and a fair chance to revive and revisit older repertoire. Bands would benefit from a greater variety even if they only enter one or two of these contests.

    But this isn't going to happen until we've improved the co-operation and communication skills of those entrusted with managing these events. Only the Masters seems to have a coherent policy of balancing new work with recent revivals.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice