Elgars Nimrod. The Greatest Brass band piece ever written?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by _si, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. _si

    _si Member

    The one piece for me which epitomizes the georgous Brass Band sound we all love. Emotional, Thrilling, quiet, loud, its got everything for me.
  2. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    As an arrangement of a gorgeous orchestral piece of music, it is ok.
    I love the orchestral Nimrod (the original), but a great deal of the love is the way the movement (yes, it is just one movement) emerges from the previous one, allowing the beauty envelop you.
  3. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    You're right Mike, the greatest brass band piece NEVER written :biggrin:

    Seriously, though, it does arrange well and I think it's probably the closest we'll get to playing the original.
  4. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    First time I ever heard this piece was on television - some state funeral overseas. The sounds were awesome! I enjoy hearing a good band play this but have heard a few murder it I'm afraid... I do though also enjoy many of the orchestral renditions that are heard on Classic FM especially. We bought the solo with piano accomp, and one of the nicest things Boy Wonder (as a young and naive 9 yr old) said to me was that he would play it at my funeral... When you appreciated the sentiment behind what he said it was truly very touching; he obviously appreciated how much I thought of the piece. :D
  5. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    Great piece, in both forms. but much like Faure's Pavan. Seemingly always played much slower than the composer intended, especially in Brass Bands. Would of been great to have had a huge Brass Band output from Elgar. Would have to put him on the one that got away list...in fact.......good idea for a thread?
  6. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

  7. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    I think the metronome marking that's shown in the Novello score in parentheses as (crotchet = 52) is probably Elgar's own -- a suggestion only for Adagio. Tempos in some of the other variations are similarly indicated in parentheses. It would be many years later that square brackets became the accepted practice for editorial additions.

    I remember BBC TV showed the rehearsal with Bernstein and the BBC Symphony Orchestra that preceded the live performance and subsequent DG recording. It was obvious the orchestra weren't happy with Bernstein's very slow (almost stationary) adagio. It also showed an argument between Bernstein and the (stroppy?) principal trumpet player. It seems the orchestra managed to push Bernstein to take it a little less slowly in the live performance at the Royal Festival Hall.
  8. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Yes, I remember seeing that, too. Actually, I didn't really have a problem with the very slow tempo personally, although I would have found the recorded version slightly more convincing if he'd actually succeeded in maintaining the tempo over the whole variation, instead of allowing it to speed up gradually ...
  9. Tom the Tenor

    Tom the Tenor New Member

    Can someone recommend a good brass band arrangement of the Nimrod music and if there is a nice one available for brass & reed/concert band, please.

  10. GinGinnie

    GinGinnie New Member

    I walked down the aisle to Nimrod. Organist said he usually played it at funerals!
    Fab piece!
  11. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    I loved the Bernstein version of Nimrod. Really brought out the emotion of Nimrod.

    For me the whole Enigma Variations does not work for brass band. I was at the Albert Hall when it was the finals piece and was totally under-whelmed. Didn't enjoy the arrangement or the performances.

    The Nimrod version on march card size (is it Denis Wright!!!) is just awful. Just does not capture the emotion a full orchestra can bring.
  12. MartinT

    MartinT Member

    Enigma Variations has meant a lot to me at times in my life, being about friends as it is.
    I absolutely agree that the work as a whole doesn't work for brass band - not even the movements selected for the Finals arrangement. Too much filigree strings work, for a start, which doesn't translate well for brass. I think it's a good illustration of how the much wider range of tonal colours and articulation in the symphony orchestra enables the production of more extended works.
    Perhaps the limit of what one should do with it for brass band is to put variations 8 & 9 together, as trumpetmike refers to above, taking advantage of that wonderful "pivot" note between them. That part of the Finals arrangement certainly works for me.
  13. Toby

    Toby Member

    There's a recording with Elgar conducting the LSO and I seem to remember Elgar took it rather briskly. I could be wrong as my memory is a little hazy from my college days
  14. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I actually think Nimrod works best when played by a good military band. I heard a version by the Coldstream Guards today. I much prefered that to a version by the LSO or the well known brass band version.
  15. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    Like MRSH, I too love the Bernstein tempo and plan on including a metronome mark in my will for whichever band gets to play it when the time comes!
    I also agree about the transition from the previosu movement - when we perform this with the Sussex Symphony, our Conductor generally starts with opening note held to allude to that.
    Finally Matt : it's out of copyright now so time for a MRSH arrangement?
  16. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    Now there's a thought - may well get on to that very soon :tup

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