Help Required - Adagio for Strings (Bernaerts Version)

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by chris.neufeld, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. chris.neufeld

    chris.neufeld Member

    Re: Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber arranged by Rieks Van Der Velde

    I got this piece out to rehearse last night to find that the baritone, trombone and euphonium parts (and the score) were all missing.

    Bernaerts is shut until 6 August 2012.

    Does anybody have a set that they would be willing to lend.
  2. Space Cowboy

    Space Cowboy Member

    Some pieces are so beautiful in it's original form that there is no possibility that a band arrangement however good can do it justice. This is one such piece.

    My suggestion is put the "Barber" back in the library and play some of the many great pieces originally written for Brass band by brilliant composers like Lucy Pankhurst and listen to the Barber played by a top string orchestra on the way home from band in the car.
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Probably been confiscated by the Music Police as a precaution against musical vandalism ...
  4. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Indeed. It's appalling the way some arrangers will take great music which is patently unsuitable for transcription into another medium, then go ahead and arrange it anyway, regardless of the aesthetic of the result, just to show that technically it can be done. Imagine, for example, if someone had taken Ravel's masterly and colourful score to "Daphnis and Chloe" and tried to recreate it using only the monochrome sound pallet available to a brass band ... Oh, hang on ...:oops:
  5. ...on the other hand isn't there an argument which says pieces composed for string orchestra can be MORE suited to transcription for brass band than full orchestral works because they were written with a similar number of tone colours in mind?

    I've never heard the Samuel Barber played by a band, but one of the arrangements I most enjoyed playing was of a string orchestra piece by Elgar - Introduction and Allegro, set for the Granada Band of the Year in 1975, when they experimented with including a set piece. I thought that sounded fantastic when played by the top bands on the day. I would hate to have missed out on the chance to play that music just on the basis that it wasn't originally composed for brass.
  6. simonium

    simonium Member

    I think it is entirely possible that Mr Snell is wise enough to know the limitations of what is available to a transcriber before starting, unless you're saying that he is ill-informed and wrong, or perhaps that you've done a transcription which is even better? I would suggest for your next targets you have a go at Elgar Howarth and Ray Farr, as I believe they've toyed with arranging for brass band in the past.
  7. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    Interesting!!! Ever played it?
  8. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I fear you misunderstand. Mr. Snell's technical skills as an arranger and transcriber are not in question; nor those of messrs. Howarth and Farr. However that doesn't stop me questioning on aesthetic grounds whether the arrangement should have been made, just because it was technically possible. Much less whether a classical transcription should have been chosen as the testpiece for what is supposedly our premiere and most high-profile contesting event. Are we really so short of high-quality original material, or composers? There's no more justification for that than there was for the succession of Frank Wright efforts we've recently endured. But that's another argument, and I've already stated my opinions on classical arrangements in other threads.

    No, (although I have played the original) but why would that make a difference? I've acknowledged the quality of the arrangement on a technical level, but I am still uncomfortable on musical grounds as to whether music that relies so heavily on the original orchestral colouring should be arranged for band, just because it can be done.
  9. katieeuph

    katieeuph Member

    I don't class myself as a 'musical snob' and I think that some orchestral arrangements do work. However, in the case of Daphnis and Chloe I have to agree with Gareth on this one. However masterful the transcription, the original is so exquisite in terms of orchestration that to me, the band arrangement feels like a disappointment, kind of like looking at a Monet painting in black and white.
  10. simonium

    simonium Member

    I must respectfully disagree and would much more happily listen to Mr Snell's arrangement of an orchestral original than endure the output of PLC, recent Peter Graham or Martin Ellerby. Besides, Mr Ravel made masterful transcriptions of other composers' work so I'm sure he wouldn't mind!
  11. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    How about someone just answers Chris's question? Debate on the merits of the arrangement should be in a different thread.
  12. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Sorry, don't agree; threads develop naturally, and should be allowed to do so. Bad enough having the mods acting as "on-topic" police, without others joining in ...
  13. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    I think the point is that it will be something different. We have done traditional testpieces, old transcriptions, squeaky nonsense with no tunes, rehashes of perfectly good works and the occasionally good new commission. This is an opportunity for the players to get their teeth into something totally different. For me it’s as brilliant as the original composition because Howard Snell didn’t set out to “do the tunes” from Daphnis and Chloe, he tried to recreate the sounds and effects for band. It will require really imaginative rehearsals, thinking outside the box by M.D.s, a real reading of the score while listening to the original so when a harp effect is created for instance the MD will realise and work on that effect. The arrangement is all about effects and mood and the day will require a quality band to win it, with a quality MD, it will require quality adjudicating (careful organisers!!) the recording (that contains some fairly dodgy bass playing) will have to be studied by the judges prior to the event, the audience will really enjoy it because it will suite the venue, and the piece contains tunes!!! A winner all round!!!
  14. Ali

    Ali Member

    I didn't know there was a recording knocking about Toby!!! Anyway having now played both pieces I feel the need to say something. From what I've heard in both I'm afraid they have used the wrong pieces. D&C is so full of little details that I'm afraid it will get lost in the mushroom that is the RAH. It should have been used for the open in my mind. Whilst that new piece of rather unoriginal music that was chosen for the open should of gone to London.
  15. Ali

    Ali Member

    Should explain really. Electra is fast, quite, fast. It would suit the accoustics of the RAH. D&C is very detailed and it would all be lost in the RAH. If I had to pay to listen to one it would be D&C.
  16. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Well yes, threads meander, but this one has been derailed from the original request from the very first reply without even looking over its shoulder for the topic. I'd be a little bit miffed if I'd started a thread asking for a simple bit of help, and that simple request disappeared under a deluge of off-topic replies.

    But, on the other hand, there's so little debate on here these days that anything is to encouraged. So in that spirit, I don't see why a band arrangement of the Barber 'Adagio' shouldn't work nicely - the point of its tonal palette is the big wide lush homogeneous sound of a string section, a natural strength that is also shared by brass bands. But on a third hand, the words 'Bernaerts Music' attached to the arrangement make me suspect the worst...
  17. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    True, but then the only possible answer to the original question that would have any value would be "Yes, we have a set that you can borrow", and it would seem that no-one has yet read the thread who is in that enviable position. So I don't see that anything has been lost.

    Incidentally, I seem to remember that at one time there was a UK distributor for Bernaerts, possibly called Fenton music or something like that. However I can't find any trace of them on t'interweb, and the Bernaerts site doesn't list a UK distributor. And as the OP said they do appear to be closed until 6th August - possibly not the best business plan for a company supplying mostly hack arrangements of cheesy music best suited to use in Summer park jobs ...
  18. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    True in one sense. However the other characteristic of a string section which is extensively exploited in the Barber "Adagio" is that string players don't need to breathe - well, they do, obviously, but not in order to play. Whereas brass players generally would struggle to play the very long phrases involved in the piece, unless you somehow assembled a complete line-up of competent circular-breathers. So from a purely practical point of view I still don't think it's a particularly appropriate candidate for transcription.
  19. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    That doesn't seem much of an objection to an arrangement when you have as many as 25 brass players to deploy; just stagger the breathing.
  20. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Yes, it can be done that way, and up to a point it would be an interesting technical exercise in effective dovetailing, and a test of a band's ability to execute the handovers smoothly and unobtrusively. In my experience only the very best bands would be capable of playing it in such a way that the breathing would be completely masked, and give the same effect as that of a string ensemble.

    But then it comes back to the same question. Should it be done, just because it can be done? And where does it stop? How long before someone thinks it would be a good idea to transcribe "Turangalila" for brass band ...

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