Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Maestro, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Just wondering if anyone has a recording of a piece that they have been disappointed with.
    On Essays for Brass Vol 1, for me, there is a big disappointment in The Light Of The World.
    I don't intend to slag off the recording of it, but the interpretation leaves me rather cold.
    Just before the end where ' Oh Jesus I Have Promised' comes in, for me the music calls out to be almost tormented, but I find there is no 'animato' there at all, thus leaving me rather cold.
    Perhaps I have been 'spoilt' by having heard the likes of Enfield and the ISB play this piece before hearing YBS.

    Anybody else have any other 'disappointments'?
  2. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    When the Heaton recording by Eikanger under Howard Snell was announced I was greatly looking forward to it, having been very impressed with them at the Europeans. Whilst on the whole I found it very good, I was disappointed in "My Treasure", a piece which I love and have played with a number of bands. The reading seemed a little cold and detached, whereas I have always seen it as a very personal, "involving" work.
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    It seems to me pretty inevitable that Salvationist/ex-Salvationist musicians are always going to be disappointed by interpretaions of SA music by non-SA bands/conductors. Not because of any technical failings in the execution, but because of the inability of the perfomers to identify with the spiritual context of the music. Even if the conductor has a SA background, it's still not really possible to make all of the band understand the context.

    I'm sure there may well be honourable exceptions, but as a general rule.........


  4. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Surely though Gareth, the conductor should still be able to get his interpretation acrpss through the band.
    Bram Tovey seems to manage it ok with Fodens when they play an SA piece.
  5. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I understand your point, but the fact that you "should" be able to communicate the meaning of the music doesn't always mean that your players will be capable of responding.

    As an example, twenty-five competent players who all sincerely believe that "when the roll is called up yonder, they'll [sic.] be there" will, I think, inevitably play the finale of "Call of the Righteous" with more fervour and commitment than twenty-five players with no strong religious conviction, despite anything the conductor might do.

    Don't mis-understand me, I think the YBS version of "Call of the righteous" is stunning, but I think the Enfield version is better!


  6. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Point taken Gareth.
  7. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    This is one of my great bug-bears!

    There are a number of people who say that non-army bands do not play the music with as much 'feeling' and because of this the non-christian players cannot communicate the message of the music. This is something I have never really grasped from the people that think this is case. In fact, I think it's a load of old tosh!

    As a Salvationist myself, I was so pleased when YBS released their 'Essays' series and avidly bought everyone of them as soon as they came out. For me, these are the finest presentations of SA music I have heard. I am not talking about the technical aspects of the playing but the quality of sound, sensistivity to the hymn material, balance,'s all for me, absolutely spot on. I know that others will probably be in agreement here - but the question has to be asked: how many of those players are Christians? Is David King as Christian? I will have a guess that most of them, if any, are not. Does that mean they cannot see, feel or interprate the beauty and power in the music? I think not.

    Whether you are a Christian or not you can play with feeling. Whether the music is christian or not, it can be played with feeling. I get at times, as much 'blessing' from hearing Elgars 'Nimrod' or a Mahler Symphony, or even a fantastic 'soaring' theme from a John Williams score as I do from alot of SA music.

    Playing with feeling is much more than having a wobbly chin and a tear in the eye. As a Christian, I believe music is a god given gift and I don't think he is particularly bothered whether it says SA Copyright on the top or not.

  8. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Guess we might have to agree to disagree here, John. :)

    Interesting that you're commenting from within the SA, whilst I'm from "without"; some people might have expected us to start from reversed standpoints!

    I'm with you 100% on the YBS "Essays" series, incidentally. I thought they were an immensely important and valuable (not to say historic) exercise. Not just in terms of introducing a non-SA audience to some of the classics of SA repertoire, but also in introducing some Salvationist musicians to some of the less well-known music by Salvationist writers; I wonder how many SA musicians were previously unaware of Steadman-Allen's magical "Children of the heavenly Father", or Brenton Broadstock's music?

    The only disappointment for me was that there was never an "Essays IV"; I always thought there was plenty more mileage in the project. I would have loved to have heard Peter Roberts doing the end of "Triumph of peace",(!) and there are several other "classics" ("Song of Courage", "Warrior Psalm", "Daystar", to name but a few) that I would have liked to hear YBS play. And on a different level I'm quite sure a disc of classic SA marches recorded by a 'top' non-SA band would sell well. Oh well, here's hoping!


  9. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    Works I would love to hear on any 'Essays IV':

    Variations on Maccabeus Norbury - Great tune, imaginative movements, big ending...go on Pete Roberts!
    Song of Courage Eric Ball - my favourite work by him
    Canadian Folk Song Suite Mentioned this before - brilliantly put together
    My Comfort and Strength Would like to hear this in the hands of YBS
    Pastoral Symphony In my view, his best work
    The Old Wells A 'little' classic - someone has to record it soon
    My Masters Will Another 'Just as I am' - exquisite stuff!
    Thy King Cometh Little known Les Condon work...great stuff!
    He can break every Fetter Ken Downie....delicious piece!
  10. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    [quote="MaesJust before the end where ' Oh Jesus I Have Promised' comes in,[/quote]

    This is no way picking at your comment Kevin, as you are just making a reference to the tune (you make some good points on here too :) ), but it's amazing how many times SA bands both introduce and theme this work to the words 'Oh Jesus I have promised' when the theme of the piece is Jesus knocking at the 'hearts door' and the words intended as a basis are not the above at all. A glance at the score would reap benefits I am sure - sure Mr Goffin would be a little ticked off too :wink:

  11. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Without wanting to tell you your job, nor mean any offence, but I was taught that conducting is teaching. This, IMHO, is the true mark of a conductor, to teach the music to the players.

  12. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    this is correct James... although there are conductors out there who just wag a stick... I was discussing this with someone at B+E yesterday in fact.
    I teach music to the band, getting the best potential out of them...
    After-all, adjudicators listen out for 4 basic essentials... Tuning, sound, balance and rhythm... the music on the score... ;-)
  13. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I think it depends somewhat on the level at which you are working. It's certinaly true that a good conductor will have much to teach a youth band or a lower section band; not many conductors would have anything to "teach" the LSO.

    In it's original context (ie: the difficulty of communicating religious experience to individuals with no spiritual convictions) I think my remark still stands; you can't "teach" belief!

  14. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    What it means by teach is by teach the essence of the music, teach the interpretation.

    I didn't mean this is a crochet, play it for 1 complete beat.

  15. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    Problems arise when you start thinking of what to include on another Essays volume. Pieces such as The Call of the Righteous and The Kingdom Triumphant are classics in every sense, and I think everyone would agree about their inclusion, whether you actually like the pieces or not! I think they were probably right to stop where they did, as the SA repetoire is so fantastically huge, with many many great works in it. What about Corpus Christi? What about Exodus? What about Christ is the Answer? What about In Quiet Pastures? Hence the problem.

    Having said about Peter Roberts, one thing I would like to him him play from the SA repetoire is Corpus Christi, by Robert Redhead. Never heard ANYONE play the 'big notes' top D at the end, everyone plays the optional A. I'm sure he'd put it in in his usual style!
  16. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member


    The reason why I referred to the tune as 'O Jesus.....', is beacuse I can't remember the actual name of the tune. I am sure there is another name for it, over to you Mr Bale perhaps?
  17. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    The name of the tune, as far as I can remember, is "Aurelia".

    I have certainly always associated it with "Oh Jesus, I have promised",
    although I have also heard it used for "The Church's one foundation".

    Always thought the title "Light of the world" referred to the painting that supposedly inspired it, rather than any particular set of words, but I am really not certain of my ground here!

  18. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    John makes a valid point. I believe it's a fallacy to say sacred music (e.g. some SA music) is better when played by christians. Perhaps in some instances the interpretation may seem to make more sense to those "in the know" where specific words are associated, but not as a rule. Quality musicians (as distinct from simply good technicians) are capable of playing with appropriate emotion. Beware of confusing sentimentality (engendered by much gospel music) with genuine sensitivity.

    The YBS Essays series was indeed enlightening. Not all of the pieces included would I rate as the finest performances available, though. Take for example "My Strength, My Tower", which contains some inacurate reading (missing ties, etc) and "The Kingdom Triumphant", which has a few wrong notes in the cornets and for me is one of the less inspiring interpretations. On the other hand, I found "On Ratcliffe Highway" a stunning performance - the best I've heard.
  19. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    "Aurelia" is correct but the text that Dean Goffin had in mind is "O Jesus, thou art standing/Outside the fast-closed door" (William W. How). "The Light of the World" refers to a painting by Holman Hunt (in St. Paul's Cathedral) depicting Christ knocking at a closed door. Goffin's music (in the meditation genre) is a justifiable classic.
  20. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    'Ratcliff' on Essays is absolutely stunning - they just manage to capture all the furious, sensitive, comic and truimphant moments so well. I can't imagine it being played better!

    This might be a good time to tell you: the 2nd Northern Highlights Festival for the Clarence Adoo Trust is being held at St Georges Church, Leeds on Sat June 19th. The event is run by the Castleford Citadel SA Church and this years guests are the Yorkshire Building Society Band under the direction of Garry Cutt and will be featuring a number of SA works, as well as the soloists using SA repertoire.

    If you are interested (tickets will sell well), send me a PM with you name and address on and I can make sure you are given the ticket details when available.