Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by Mesmerist, Nov 20, 2017.
Now transcribed for BBR, thanks Peter. Anyone know which way round Enderby Youth and Gresley Youth came in the youth section?
Intriguing to see how choices of test pieces paid off or not in the top section - 4 of the 5 bands that chose The Year of the Dragon occupied the last four places (the other band to play it was Flowers, who did a place better in the Entertainment discipline than the set piece, fwiw). I've always felt that this is an unusually hard piece to do well on in an own choice contest (like Paganini Variations, it's iconic and overplayed but still rock hard) - but then the set piece run-down doesn't seem to upset the form book particularly, so there's more than one effect at play here.
Interesting to observe that Contest Music comes out of this list looking like a good tactical choice, one perhaps offering better access to the higher placings. Interesting particularly because we recall the 2004 Open, when bands similarly had a choice of three pieces, one of which was Heaton's masterwork; on that day the other two were St. Magnus and Montage, and bands that played the Heaton overwhelmingly clustered lower in the table - with the big exception being the wonderful winning performance from Foden's.
Hard to say that this goes to show anything in particular when the 2004 Open featured many Heaton performances in a larger field with different set choices some years back compared to Saturday's two in a field of eight, but it is tempting to ponder the potential tacticality of the offered choices. Especially when next year's Butlins contest offers a tactical set piece choice in every adult section! Should 2019 championship bands opt for the Haydn Johns Rienzi arrangement? Or for the fabledly hard Benvenuto Cellini transcription by Frank Wright? Or for Geoffrey Brand's version of Dvorak's Carnival that so surprised banders with its extreme key signatures in 1980? Which is the tactical option out of those? My instinct is for the Wright Berlioz arrangement - it has a fearsome reputation that the others lack, and no-one can hear the extra brainwork going on to put each of 7 flats (what's that over 25 brass players in Bb and Eb? 162 flats plus 5 sharps for the bass trombone?) in the correct place in the Brand Dvorak arrangement... But then maybe it's too obvious a deduction - will everyone come to the same conclusion? Perhaps the piece to back is the dark horse that nobody knows (because it hasn't been set for a contest since 1964) - the Johns Wagner arrangement - in a spirit of standing out from the crowd. I think if I were the MD of a championship band planning to attend Butlins next year, I'd be trying to find out what pieces other attending bands were intending to play before committing to one...
Intriguing tactical choices to make in the lower sections too:
1st section: Force of Destiny vs. Corsair? FoD is more technically impressive but better-known.
2nd section: Academic Festival Overture vs. The Frogs of Aristophanes? FoA offers opportunity to highlight good playing more, but also the opportunity to highlight bad playing...
3rd section: Egmont vs. Rule Britannia? Again, one substantially harder than the other. Play it safe or not?
4th section: Overture to Youth vs A Saddleworth Festival Overture? I'll have to declare ignorance here - I know neither of these pieces.
A Saddleworth Festival Overture is pretty decent, although it's a bit over-used as a stalwart of 4th section own choice contests. I'd be surprised if many bands DON'T pick that one - they'll mostly have it in the library, and most 4th section conductors will have at least a nodding acquaintance with it.
The two Brand arrangements (Corsair and Carnival) are by far the best transcriptions on the list, for me. Benvenuto Cellini is like Judges of the Secret Court - an average transcription of an average piece. Its difficulty (and therefore notoriety) is the principal reason for its survival. Carnival is tough to bring off with anything like the brilliance of the original but my instinct is that any band that picks it and manages to nail it will outperform bands picking the others.
From a purely playing point of view, 3rd cornet players are going to have a riot in Corsair - the 3rds have the arpeggiated trumpet fanfare near the end, and it's SO much fun. That'd be my choice in the 1st section. In the 2nd I'd pick The Frogs, because I like Bantock. The 3rd section have a right Hobson's Choice. I'd be tempted to go for the Rimmer for s**ts and giggles, but I imagine it's decidedly 'of its time'. Egmont would be more musically satisfying but it's a tough ask at that level.
A contest to enjoy from the bar, next year, it seems...
Wasn't Saddleworth Festival overture used as the Butlins 4th section piece only about 4 years ago?
sorry - checked.....it was 2013
I've not seen or heard any 'we woz robbed' comments regarding placings this year. Does that mean bands generally felt that results were fair?
Well...having been promoted to 3rd and coming 3rd excuses me from joining in any "we woz robbed" conversation. cheers all!
Great result! Well done all!
No, it just means we're fed up of complaining about it.
We were placed last in the 3rd section - which surprised several members of our local rivals as well as ourselves. Whilst its only a prediction as well, 4BR had us 3rd right up until the last couple of bands. Having said that the same adjudicator (Kevin Wadsworth) placed us last 12 months ago, so we obviously do something he just doesnt like.
Unfortunately the notes are a bit "bullet pointy" so dont give us a huge amount to go on - but c'est la vie, on to Stevenage.....
I hear (sic) both you and Brighton were both placed completely contrary to the popular thoughts of the day. We've all been there, but as you say "that's contesting and onward to Stevenage". Interestingly the question was asked at the last rehearsal " which piece do you prefer; Napoleon or Henry?" there was not a lot of response! I see a new thread starting.........
Oh, and definitely Egmont next year at Butlins (not that I have any say in the matter!)
Maybe that's the trouble, especially in the smooth passages (joke).
Source - the Musical Directors Joke Book. Not available from any good bookstores, cost Too much
I should imagine this is quite a rare publication
Unfortunately not - its a necessary item if you're a MD
Baton - Check
Tuner - Check
Thick Skin - Check
Book of crap jokes for concerts and rehearsals - Check
Separate names with a comma.