How do you like your regional test piece?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by julian, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. julian

    julian Active Member

    Now Christmas has gone and you've put the carol books away for another year, those of you that contest will be starting to look at this years regional test piece (unless you started before the break!). What do you think, is it a good test for your section and band?. Will you enjoy spending time on it? Discuss!!.....
  2. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member


    It'll never be a favourite and doesn't really go anywhere, but it's not the worst ever either - plenty to do, can't complain really.

    Definitely a decent test for championship section, not as crazy as I thought at first listen through on an individual level... But I'm expecting it to be tough to piece together
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I'll let you know on the 18th March ...
    Euphonium Lite likes this.
  4. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I'm extraordinarily surprised to find that I enjoy playing Ex Terra Lucem as much as, if not more than, Variations for Brass Band. I never thought I would say something like that, but I do. And it suits the band as well.:eek:
    MartinT and Tom-King like this.
  5. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    First impressions are that it's written with craftsmanship - parts that lie sensibly and are sympathetic to the individual instruments (not studied the score yet though! I'm sure there are counterexamples.). Been a long time since I was presented with a band test-piece bass trombone part that looked like the writer might once have purveyed slidy farty sounds. Normally these days people assume tenor trombones are baritones with weak technique and that bass trombone is the same, but that every so often a honking great pedal note should be inserted randomly.

    Seems a pleasant enough piece with hints of depths as yet unplumbed, so I'm hopeful it'll continue to hold the attention as we rehearse it up. First impression: a good choice, and well done to the panel on finding something suitable that's also obscure.

    Anyone else hear something else in the first four notes of the slow cornet solo? "The hills are a-liiiive..."
    stevetrom likes this.
  6. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    On first look at, Odyssey appears to be an exercise in awkward Key signatures, in as many time signatures as you can find. Perhaps it'll grow on me .:(
  7. Repman

    Repman New Member

    I'm 4th section, I really like ours, despite some clunky transitions, seems the most traditionally tuneful of them all, although the others have their moments. Also useful to see the higher sections to know how much I need to improve. :eek::eek::eek:
  8. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    It's interesting - it's a different kind of choice, but it's an interesting one which will make bands think and put a focus on ensemble and style (on the other hand, it sounds technically on the easy side for 2nd section - which is usually a recipe for a results lottery).

    It's interesting also that it seems to be almost universally popular straight away... hopefully that doesn't result in a "dark side of the moon" phenomenon where everyone wants to play it for several years (including bands that won't be able to get near it) - it's very easy to get turned off an okay piece when that happens :p
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
    mikelyons likes this.
  9. julian

    julian Active Member

    I've not played Ex Terra Lucem yet, will be attending a first rehearsal tomorrow. I've looked at the part and heard the 'Regionals 2018' recording by Fodens. It's very easy on the ear. It will be interesting to discover how good a test it is for 2nd section bands.
  10. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I thought Dark Side of the Moon was awful - I still do. Maybe if I had been playing Euph then I might not have been so deeply, deeply bored with it.
  11. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    I thought it was an interesting piece - though the ability to paint the pictures it wants to portray was beyond almost all bands at third section when it was set at areas... To then hear it butchered time after time by bands in 4th section (and many in third) took the piece from the moderately interesting and put it firmly in the outright dislike camp.

    I'm kinda hoping (though expecting disappointment) that this one isn't similarly spoiled by bands choosing to play it because it sounds technically easy - we'll see over the next few years I guess
    mikelyons likes this.
  12. mjwarman

    mjwarman Member

    Apart from the percussion parts, for which you need 3 players of a decent standard or 2 very quick and experienced ones - Ex Terra Lucem is sight readable on first viewing for most 2nd section players I would guess. The skill is going to be painting a picture to the adjudicators, and making it a picture they want to experience........
    mikelyons likes this.
  13. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    The band I conduct is doing Butlins, so we have only had one very brief look at Napoleon as a band, although I've done a lot of prep work on it. TBH I like it, theres a lot of "hidden" challenges for bands of this level - and I'd say its a harder "band piece" than Ex Terra Lucem, which I'm playing Euph on

    Having said that Ex Terra is a fun piece to play - its a similar sort of approach that PLC often also uses, and its very listenable to - nothing too complex to play technically, but the challenge is to get the oft-repeated styles throughout the piece matching up.

    Overall happy with the selection of both by the music panel
    mikelyons likes this.
  14. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Mmm... And unfortunately, most times the challenge of the piece is in the musicality and the interpretation the results are mostly a lottery - it seems inherently unfair to have the subjectivity of the adjudicators so key to the results...

    Anyway, pet gripe over.
    (Albeit feeling a bit less of a moaner when I don't have to play it :p )
  15. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Second impressions!

    I unilaterally forgave the bittiness of the piece first time out, thinking that it will feel less grainy as we rehearse it up. Still feeling very bitty, and this now feels more obvious - it's composed of lots and lots of [too many, I'm thinking] little segments that don't develop enough and don't connect to each other enough. But very early days yet - I need to understand it a good deal better before making a decision as to whether it's a keeper or not. And even if it isn't, it'll take a while to feel that I've understood it enough for that, so at least the interest will be kept up either way.

    Don't understand the comment about key signatures - there's 8 bars in a horrible signature on the final page; otherwise all very friendly keys.
  16. Brian

    Brian Member

    The fourth section.....World Tour...yet another, this one...Phineas Fogg tour, Devon fantasy tour....pffft.. for me the last really good piece was Saint Saens sorted the Bands out, which is what the regional test piece should do...still next year maybe a trip round China
  17. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    That could make Midlands S2 interesting, at present 5 points cover first to last place in the table !
    Tom-King likes this.
  18. Suzi Q

    Suzi Q Member

    Loving World Tour, but as I’m new to brass banding I don’t really know how it fairs as a test piece really, I just think its a great piece of music and fun to play!

    Repman likes this.
  19. David Pegram

    David Pegram Member

    how are 2nd section bands finding ex tera?
  20. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member


    no comment