Composers not yet 'lost' to brass bands.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Thirteen Ball, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Appreciated. And thanks to you (and everyone) for not pointing out my obvious blunder when I said that my little list contained no works written as testpieces!

    The title of this thread is 'composers not YET lost to brass bands'. I took that to mean composers who haven't yet written anything but might yet be persuaded, rather than composers who are merely still alive. My worry is that if upcoming composers don't want their music subjected to the contest treatment, and bands don't play their music in concerts, then they will quickly move from the 'not lost' to 'lost' category despite still being alive. And that' s where I felt things were heading when I listened to the discussion between Lucy Pankhurst, Gavin Higgins, Peter Meechan, Andy Scott and Dan Price at the RNCM festival. I see Mr Meechan is monitoring this thread - I wonder if I'm summing up fairly?
  2. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Andy wrote a piece for Fodens, 'Battle of Barossa' - what a fabulous piece! Whilst not written as a 'test-piece' I am certain that it would be a corker if used. It is a demanding piece and would test most bands, but hasn't been written for that purpose. It is, though, very listenable to and full of wonderful sounds. The 'Hymn to Barossa' is just part of the piece and has been played independently of the rest of the work at concerts. :clap:

  3. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Having heard the UK premiere of her Percussion Concerto yesterday in Glasgow, I'd like Sally Beamish to dip her composing toes into the brass band genre.
  4. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Come to think of it - what would it take to get Dave Payn to compose something for band, as opposed to the myriad of qulaity arrangements he has down?
  5. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Nice of you to say so :) but currently too busy teaching, conducting and trying to fit SOME practice around all that to compose something!
  6. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Then perhaps we should look at the criteria that the panel use for selecting something as a test-piece, and suggest a certain broadening of the approach in order to accommodate more adventurouse works?

    Or potentially look at restructuring the format of contesting altogether to allow the bands themselves to select more adventurous works?
  7. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Not sure who's actually on the panel that selects test pieces, but I would hazard a guess that there are some old war horses there. I'm not knocking them, but I would go as far as to suggest inviting the likes of Lucy, Andy, Peter et al to add a more contemporary outlook on these decisions. :)
  8. JR

    JR Member

    if you dont ask.....


    Let's at least ask these people - if we don't ask we might never find out if they're interested

    P.S one more plug for Paul "Military Wives" Mealor - I have it on good authority he's interested...

    John R
  9. JR

    JR Member

    nearer 40 years ago...

    Besses with Ifor James premiered a work with electronics at the Harrogate Festival in 1974 - I was there - The gigantic reel - to - reel machine broke down half way through....

    I can't remember for the life of me the name of the composer - don't think it was Bob Lennon though (who used to play euph for me at Yorks Co-Op - we pemiered his tribute to 9/11 called Fallen Citadel ten years ago)

  10. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Alan Hope, Brian Buckley, John Maines and Richard Evans are the current music panel.
  11. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Well , there you go then..... :-?
  12. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Can't think what you mean ;)

    To be fair, this very panel picked Pentacle a few years ago, which I think is a superb piece, and got a load of flak for it. It's a bit of a thankless task - slated by newer music fans every time they revert to Ball and Vinter, slated by traditionalists every time they pick something new and different (Ian Perks, j'accuse...)

    I've got another suggestion - Benedict Mason. If you get chance, listen to Lighthouses of England and Wales, it's ace.
  13. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    And they picked some piece about King Arthur too!!
  14. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    The thing is with all these suggestions, someone's got to pay for a new commission. The only organisation in a position to do this for the Nationals is Kapitol, so put yourself in their shoes for a minute.

    Option 1: Spend £4-6,000 commissioning a composer to write a piece for one of the sections at the Regionals.

    Option 2: Pick a load of existing "tried and tested" pieces, costing nothing.

    Is option 1 going to result in more bands entering, or in any way generate additional revenue for Kapitol - it being a private company, after all is said and done? I think we all know the answer to that one.
  15. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Vaguely remember that, now you mention it. Wasn't as good as Pentacle, though!

    I'm a big fan of the often suggested "rotation" system - over a three year cycle, pick a "golden oldie" (e.g. from pre-1970) or a transcription, a modern classic, a new piece or a recent commission from another band/contest. This could be applied to all 5 sections. So if you get Gems of Schubert this year at least you know there's a chance of Dances and Arias the year after.
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

  17. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    He has in fact written a short piece for band - Line Drawing by Candlelight. He wrote it for Grimethorpe in the 1990's (I think). I heard it many years ago, but unfortunately can't remember much about it, because (surprise) it never gets played.
  18. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    There is a version of this currently available, European entrant commissions something for own choice, The Open select it a couple of years later, then it finds its way to the Grand Shield. It's a shame that the format for the piece doesn't differ too much from loud/fast/daft time signature- slow/exposed- loud/fast/mostly huge ending.
  19. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Or run a competition.

    No prize money, just the privilege of having your piece used as a set work. Of course, there would be varying degrees of reward depending on who publishes a set work, and subsequent interest in the composer's other works, so there are benefits if there is no prize.

    Quick straw poll of all the Sibelius composers (alright, Finale and Print Music and quill/quink brigades too) -

    1. How many pieces do you have on tap that are (in your view) suitable to be used as a test piece.

    2. Would you enter a competition where the only prize was your piece being used as a set work for the Regionals?

    I'll start you with (1) three, and (2) yes.
  20. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    An afterthought - 3. Would you play in a band that was playing your piece as the set work... (I mean, what if you can't play the very notes you have written!?!?!?!?!?)

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