John Pickard is "mystified and puzzled" on 4br

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by JR, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. JR

    JR Member

    I am too...
    The 4br interview states that the adjudicators did not contact the composer prior to last weeks contest!
    Also they did not have access to anything approaching a satisfactory recording of Eden...
    Does this not raise a few interesting questions?
    Incidentally, last year Rothwell Temps rehearsed and ran through "all flowers..." for the judges benefit - and it was generally thought to be a worthwhile exercise. Why was this not done for Eden? - plenty of decent bands to choose from - especially necessary i would have thought given the complexity of this years test.

    Thoughts anyone?

    john r
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2005
  2. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    I completely agree with his comments about adjudicators spending time talking to composers about the inspiration and concept of their peices. After all, the bands are going on stage to tell a musical story in my mind and not necessarily show they technical superiority.

    I believe that a panel of adjudicators should sit and debate what they expect from a piece (with the composer if possible) and release this to the competing bands prior to a contest. I get fed up of performances being tailored to the man in the box based on what he usually likes, not only can it give an unfair advantage but it takes the emphasis away from what the person who was actually inspired to write it.

    This would only ever cause problems at local contests when the composer actually conducts a band and how often does that happen.

    Im glad that a composer has finally spoken out.
  3. aqua76

    aqua76 Member

    Are we ever going to have adjudicators in our top contests who have actually conducted the top bands recently?

    Is there anyone who fulfills such criteria? I find it impossible to believe you can adjudicate such a technical piece without an current knowledge of the banding scene.

    Who is going to judge Open, Nationals etc in 15 years time......seems to me like we have an aging population re our adjudicators!!!
  4. Redhorn

    Redhorn New Member

    I think you'll find all three guys are no strangers to that particular scene. DR is regarded as THE man when it comes to adjudicating, JB is a rising star (and also STILL conducts a very good ch standard band), and MB knows what hes doing..... (allegedly!;) ) So, cant really complain about that.

    However, if I had written the music then I would want to be in that box- even if it was just to give advice to the real adjudicators. Surely the man who writes the stuff knows more than anyone what is the correct interpretation of his music?....

    So, lets get the composer in the box too! :clap:
  5. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Does this mean none of the adjudicators came to the Composers Talk at Regent Hall the Friday before?

    That would surprise me. If seen adjudicators and conductors there in the past.
  6. aqua76

    aqua76 Member

    Why?? Because he has been doing it for the last few decades???
    On a side note - What do adjudicators such as DR do when they arent adjudicating?? DO they still conduct?

    Im amazed they could walk into the box on Saturday, having only heard an extremely mediocre performance of the piece (according to something i read somewhere.....) played by a group who had only had few practices on it - this is supposed to be the piece de resistance contest in the banding world, yet this smacks of them being unprepared.

    How can they effectively judge such an intensely complex piece without knowing it inside out?

    I respect their opinion, and i know its a hard job to go in that box (allllllllllllll day!!) and make a decision after a long day listening to band after band, but i know if i went into a presentation etc at work and i wasnt totally prepared, id get a b*****king!!

    Why should the most important contest of the year be any different?
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Mr.P:- “I wonder what market research they actually undertook if they had their doubts? Leaving it to the day of the contest and gradually admiring the work after listening to a number of performances seems a very strange way to go about things. They could have come to me at any time to ask about the work, its inspirations, structure and my personal thoughts, but I did not actually get to meet them until the night before the contest at my talk about the piece. That seemed rather too late.”
  8. aqua76

    aqua76 Member

    On a slight tangent - i remeber being told about a band who played at London area when it was a Philip Sparke piece being played...notes from the box included
    'this isnt how the composer intended this to be played........ (or words to that effect)

    Guess who was conducting????????

    Yes, none other than Mr Sparke himself, heheh

  9. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    When you say 'current knowledge of the banding scene' are you saying that the banding scene is exclusively the championship section? Seems to be like in football, where if a ref makes a rubbish decision at Premiership he gets kick down to the lower levels because people don't notice as much if there's a poor decision at lower levels.
  10. aqua76

    aqua76 Member

    Of course not, every person who competes wants the best possible adjudication that is possible on the day.

    But if you are responsible for judging the championship section, at the premier contest in the country, then spending your time adjudicating lower sections where the standard of piece and playing is less, will surely diminish your capacity?

    Im sorry but i cant understand how anyone is capable of judging when they are not involved at the top level on a week by week basis. Realistically its not going to change, as all the people id love to see adjudicating are all conducting!!!
  11. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The adjudicators were all there, but the point the composer made was that it was the first time they had met him, despite apparent reservations over the piece. I think the idea of a run-through by a band for the adjudicators is a good one, but equally I would expect people as experienced as they are to have a pretty good idea of the sounds to expect just from reading the score. I think it's on John Pickard's own site that he speaks of reading a score and suddenly finding he could hear the music in his head.

    As for the question of the composer's impression of contest performances, it was interesting at the Cambridge Masters when the composer was adjudicating, placed apart from the other two, that on occasion his placings were very different from the "professional" adjudicators. I would certainly like to see more liaison with composers, where possible, and it would be good to hear more about the training and development of the next generation of judges.

    I am not sure, however, that an adjudicator has to be an active conductor of bands: if you look at other music competitions, they tend to go for much more diversity, using players, conductors, musicologists etc, with maybe just one specialist on the panel. On the other hand, the banding world tends to question the judgement of those it does not perceive as being "their own", particularly if, as in the case of the Europeans, there are no remarks or explanations of how their decisions were reached.
  12. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    To me it's all about expectations. Any piece can be selected for a competition and it must be realistically based on what the selection panel and adjudicators feel what the bands are capable of. This does involve a degree of background research into current standards so the judges can comment and act on them appropriately. If a judge feels that the selected piece was too difficult on the day for all or most competing bands, then questions must be asked. Okay, the piece may separate performances that bit more (and easily) for adjudication, but it's not the best feeling in the world going on stage to try and merely cope with the challenge considering time, effort and money spent leading up to the event.

    I wonder, too, about these 'doubts' mssrs Read & co. had about 'Eden'? Some clarification is needed to explain the comment. Really odd that what we have been told about the amount of research adjudicators put into score-reading of new works that they didn't exhaust all resources, especially when the composer is active and willing to talk about the work's detail.
  13. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    One would hope that they would know the piece inside out simply by having read the score thoroughly, but I understand your scepticism.

    It all vaguely reminds me of Derek Bourgeois's comment years ago, when some people felt that conducting Sun Life Band on his own piece (Blitz) would give that band a special advantage. He said words to the effect that "it is almost as if there are things, not written in the score, which only the composer knows about".
  14. sharpnote

    sharpnote Member

    If the music that bands have to play at contest are changing (for the better), quoting 4BR:

    "There is little doubt that ‘Eden' will become a landmark composition for the brass band movement. It is a work of immense musical intellect and originality, written with a breadth of scope that stretches far beyond what we have come to expect even of our most talented composers for brass in the last twenty-five years.

    John Pickard has taken the art of brass band test piece composition not to a new, higher level, but to a totally new and exciting dimension. 'Eden' should be seen in the same light as ‘Contest Music' or ‘Cloudcatcher Fells' as a definitive work."

    ...then surely adjudicators should change for the future. CHANGE IS GOOD!!

    Adjudicators should put more work into the job that they'll be doing!

    Maybe NEW adjudicators who have fresh opinions towards how to mark a band up or down should be in the box. Would this change the final outcome?? I think this can only make contests better. Imagine NOT hearing the usual adjudicators dribble on about the usual 'what we were listening for today' speech at the end of a long days competing, but hearing a fresh insight about the musicality of the piece from someone new.

    this is just my opinion anyway!
  15. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    It does seem (sometimes) that adjudication or rather becoming an adjudicator is a bit of an old boys network. If we are going to change the way in which adjudication is performed then we need to encourage younger adjudicators who have a fresh perspective, and persuade our local regional comittees that the same old faces are no longer acceptable and that we wish to have these young guys and girls in the box. Mind you given the amount of moaning, groaning whingeing and whining which usually follows from any result I amazed that anyone is brave enough to do it! :D. The problem as I see it is that when we question an adjudicators ability it is normally regarded as sour grapes (and if we are all a bit honest it usually is), however if enough people cry foul then perhaps there is an issue, yet because it is one of our "respected octaganarians" we are told we know nothing and to be quiet. It's a very tricky problem, I think over a period of time all of us end up with a list of good and bad adjudicators perhaps we should be allowed to adjudicate the adjudicators!

    Further can we be certain that adjudicator 2.0 will be an improvement on the old Adjudicator 1.0 or will it still have bugs but just be a bit quicker and slightly flashier:D ?
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Just wait until it spots the swapping of parts, and announces "This band has commited an illegal action, and its programme will be terminated" ;)

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