Gothic Dances

Discussion in 'Bandroom News - User Submitted' started by Alan Fernie, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member

    I'm beginning to get 1 or 2 queries regarding "Gothic Dances", and it's selection for Harrogate. I'm aware that, as usual for Obrasso, there are no programme notes on either the score, or the BAYV cd inlay. So, I'm presenting some background on the piece through tMP - not advice on how to play it, but on what it's about!!

    As I stated in the interview I did for tMP in March, this suite has been rather "put together", using material from less successful pieces I've written over the years. The source of it was Obrasso, who, last summer, asked for a "second section test-piece on the subject of Knights and Castles". As usual, I was miles behind schedule, and flung together 3 movements, not expecting very much. Needless to say, it seems to have worked better than pieces I spend ages on and really think a lot of!

    The opening fanfare was actually part of a large concept work I wrote for the now defunct Todmorden Old band, which I think they only played once (correct me if I'm wrong). This is the 4th piece from the original 6 movements which have found a new life/title as something else - Slovenian Spring, an easy entertainment contest test-piece called Our Town, and a cornet solo called Aria (which I believe is about to be recorded by the wonderful Kirsty Abbotts) are the others. It opens with a plainsong, based on the "in Nomine" which I heard in a version by Orlando Gibbons, played by the Phillip Jones group , and there are definite echoes of both Ray Farr and Elgar Howarth's Agincourt Song throughout.

    The slow movement began life as a piece I wrote for 10 piece brass as a teenager (when I thought I was going to be classical composer, writing symphonies, and not "Amarillo"!). It resurfaced in a version for strings and brass which was part of a suite written for the Millennium Dome - here it was titled "Rosslyn Chapel" (a bit before any Da Vinci Code notoriety). It was always my intention to do it for band - this gave me a chance.

    The finale opens with a fanfare I wrote for 6 trumpets as the opening title to a TV debate on the subject of Nuclear Warfare!! It's initial ff bottom G for all the cornets was stolen/borrowed from the opening of Gilbert Vinter's "The Trumpets", something I'm sure my good friend Sandy has picked up on, Diane!!! The rest of the movement is new(ish), and is written with the test-piece formula very much in mind. I imagined "Lord of the Rings" - both bands I ran it through with (Jedforest and Lochgelly; neither involved at Harrogate) said "Star Wars" get the idea!

    I hope everyone can enjoy at least some of it at the finals - I really enjoyed the chance to prove I can write this kind of stuff, and not the lighter nonsense my contract sometimes ties me to. (Although I do like the odd bit of quality "Radio 2 "stuff - I'm keen to do "The Carpenters go Brass", or better still, "The Best of Barry Manilow" - and no, that wouldn't be the shortest piece ever!!!) I make no apologies in revealing the music's source and influences; I sometimes wish more of us composers would tell the truth and just say where they stole it from!!

    A few errors have surfaced in the parts and score, and the final version is not exactly like BAYV's fine recording of it, although that'll give you a flavour of it. So, here are the ones that I, and my fellow finals piece composer Philip Sparke have spotted. No doubt there'll be others - just post them below!

    1st Movement - Bar 34 Floor tom at same pitch as before; a notational error.
    2nd Movement - Bar 35 E flat Bass; last note C# not B
    Bar 47 Cymbal roll in Perc.1
    Letter F Bell note down the octave (and after)-ignorance on my part!
    Letter G Perc.2 plays Glock.
    3rd Movement - Bar 4 Snare Drum (Perc.1)
    Bar 20 2nd Cornet B flat
    Bars 54 and 77 Perc. 2 plays Bass Drum, not Tam-Tam.
    Bar 94 Solo and 2nd Cornets still B flat
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2006
  2. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Active Member

    Could I add these? (Alan, could you confirm the ones with question marks???:) )

    1st Movement - is SD snares off for the whole movement?

    2nd movt bar 32 are basses 'p' ?? (presumably)

    3rd movt bar 19 top Solos Cts - Bb on 4th note
    Bar 20 Rep - Bb on 2nd note
  3. ignore me

    ignore me Member

    Just found this thread - interesting!

    I have to admit i'm not too sure about some of the notes on the Euponium part in the 3rd movement, there seems to be a few Bb's missing (don't my part handy so I might edit this post later). Also as a solo Euph player are you sure about the opening as well???? ;)
  4. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

    Played this piece for the 1st time last night under Gary Cutt's guidance! Brilliant I thought! And the opening is superb as well, but then again I don't have to play it!

    Definately looking forward to September now!!!
  5. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    Good to see this kind of dialogue on tMp.
  6. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member

    Spot on with these, Philip. Thanks.

    David (frae Borrheid) - all the Euph. notes are correct, so far!! I know it's a bit crunchy,for me,now and then, but it's what I meant!!
    The opening Euph. solo will be fun in the "padded cell" acoustic in Harrogate!!
  7. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Active Member

    First rehearsal on this tomorrow. Looking forward to it!
  8. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    I have added the term Gothic Dances to our Auto Linker. This will help people to locate this thread when they see the term Gothic Dances in any other thread on tMP.
  9. ignore me

    ignore me Member

    Thanks for clearing that up Alan - much appreciated!

    I think the band are playing at brass in the park, so as long as the hall's not as bad as a big tent it should be ok :)
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006
  10. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member


    Ive had a look at the score, and yes David, there are a few missed Bb's in there. Specifically, in the last movement, the B's in bars 41, 68 and 101 should be flat. The ones in bars 41 and 68 also are relevant to the baritones.

    Sorry about these, but I don't think the error sheet is as bad as the area piece!!;)

    Incidentally David, the big tent at Nitten is a breeze compared with Harrogate - seriously!
  11. ignore me

    ignore me Member

    Yup, they're the ones I was thinking about (don't think there are any more) - at least when I'm whistling at work it'll be the right notes now!

    Yeah I've been warned about the Harrogate acoustics - the word "DEAD!!!!!" seems to crop up quite a bit!
  12. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I agree with Andy - great to see Alan (and Philip) contributing so positively to tMP.

    Long may it continue.
  13. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Active Member

    One more small one

    1st movt bar 49
    1st Barit - second note should be C (I guess!)
  14. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member

    Of course it is! Thanks again, Philip; hope it's not "too easy " for your band!
  15. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Active Member

    We're going to have a lot of fun with it. It's not stretching the band technically (they are basically a first section band having a year's holiday!!) but that makes a pleasant change, and we can concentrate on making music. I've only done one rehearsal but think the second movt. is a little masterpiece!
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2006
  16. Bruce Fraser

    Bruce Fraser New Member

    Enjoying working on this piece. 2nd Trombone is curious about letter H in first movement, 1st, 3rd and 5th bars - are the A's correct as they are different from the solo cornets. Tried it with same as cornets and the band is split about it. Can you confirm the A's please. Regards Bruce
  17. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member

    Hello Bruce,
    A in trombone 2 is correct!
    I've actually done an "as full as possible" list of corrections for the piece, if anyone needs it. Just pm me.
  18. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - why not post them for everyone to see? :confused:
  19. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member


    You are aware, surely, of my natural numptinness on all things computer! I'm not sure I know how to!
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - If you click on 'edit' on your first post and scroll down to the bottom, you can add the rest of the errata there! (by the way, hope the M.J. arrangement went down well in Switzerland. Warner Bros. had no problem giving permission so I hear). I've heard lots of good comments about the Dances and bands are enjoying rehearsing it!

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