Joseph Holbrooke Symphony No 5 for Brass band

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by davetubaking, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. davetubaking

    davetubaking Member

    Does anyone know anything about this piece?

    I gather from this article that "the finale of the Symphony for Brass Band 'Wild Wales' of 1920 (but published as opus 106 in 1933), was used as brass band test piece at an Eisteddfod at Wrexham,"

    If just the finale was used as a test piece it suggests the whole work might have been pretty substantial.
  2. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

  3. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Interesting stuff. Identify the publisher and you might be on to something. But don't get too excited about the scale of the piece - Hubert Bath's Freedom, which dates from around this time, is also described as a symphony, and is still only about 12 minutes long!
  4. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

  5. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Holbrooke was a contemporary and friend of Granville Bantock, and also of a Gentleman by the name of Dan Godfrey. D Godfrey could be a relation to C Godfrey who, with the exception of three works, arrange every Open piece from 1872 to 1923. One of the three was arranged by C Godfrey Jnr!

    I think the Godfrey connection could also bear some fruit, but I haven't unearthed anything to confirm or refute this hypothesis.
  6. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Sir Dan Godfrey was very active in amateur music-making, as well as founding the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra. He did indeed come from a musical family, his father (also Dan) was Bandmaster of the Grenadier Guards Band, whilst grandfather Charles and his son Frederisk Adolphus both led the Coldstream Band.
  7. davetubaking

    davetubaking Member

    The manuscript is in the British Library. If I can work out how I'll try and have a butchers at some point. Apparently he wrote possibly a dozen works for brass band and/or wind band.
  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    The Godfrey family liked to recycle names - there were three of note of each Dan and Charles; see for details. The chap who arranged every Open piece for 50 years (no exceptions) between 1872 and 1921 inclusive (note 1922 was arranged Maurice Johnstone) - was the second Charles (1839-1919), often suffixed with a 'junior' to distinguish him from his father Charles (senior) (1790-1863). The third Charles was the son of the second Charles and lived 1866-1935. The first Dan was the son of the first Charles (and the elder brother of the second Charles) and lived 1831-1903. Dans 2 and 3 were son and grandson of Dan 1 and lived 1868-1939 and 1898-1935 respectively.

    Charles 1, Dan 1, and Charles 2 were active in the earliest days of brass band contesting. Brassbandresults has various recorded contest adjudicating and conducting records against these names, but it is not always clear which is which: (definitely Charles 1) (definitely Charles 2) (no information snr or jnr or even more jnr)

    I think Charles 3 didn't have much, if anything, to do with brass bands, in which we can probably remove quite a bit of the uncertainty over that last entry. Does anyone know? (all must be Dan 1 on date grounds) (could potentially be either Dan 1 or Dan 2) (ditto)

    As Joseph Holbrooke lived 1878-1958, the Dan that he was friends with could potentially have been any of Dans 1, 2, or, 3, father, son and grandson, somewhat unhelpfully... Dan 2 is most close to him in dates though.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    It would be very interesting indeed to see if there is any undiscovered Holbrooke out there for band - I think his style would appeal to brass band tastes quite nicely even today.
  10. davetubaking

    davetubaking Member

    Turns out the complete list of works for Brass Band by Joseph Holbrooke is;

    * Girgenti (c.1920) [arrangement of Mezzotints for clarinet and piano, Op.55 No.7]
    * Butterfly of the Ballet (c.1920) [arrangement of Mezzotints for clarinet and piano, Op.55 No.6]
    * A Hero's Dream (c.1920) [arrangement of Mezzotints for clarinet and piano, Op.55 No.2]
    * Clive of India, dramatic overture, Op.96a (1939) [originally titled 1914]
    * Three Trinidad Songs, Op.96b
    * Symphony No.5, Wild Wales, Op.106 (1920) [also titled Old Wales]
    * Suite - Air de Ballet; Oriental Dance; Ballathona; In Mandalay, Op.85 (1920s)
    * Song of Llewellyn, Op.110b (1930s)
    * Don, fantasie, Op.127 [based on music from the opera The Children of Don, Op.56]

    any one know anything about any of these.
  11. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    There is a Nocturne, op. 55 by Josef Holbrook on a newly released CD of baritone solos played by Kristy Rowe. It's for baritone and piano, and if it's the same composer (the spelling of the name is different) it's unlikely to have been written originally for the instrument, but thought I would just mention it.

    In fact, I've just noticed that in the list above, op. 55 is shown as being for clarinet. I wonder....
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  12. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Dave, did you ever find anything more on this? I spot that Wikipedia has a complete list of Welsh National Eisteddfod venues, and the 1933 event was indeed held in Wrexham, which is maybe what prompted the publication of the piece? No other Eisteddfodau were held in Wrexham after the date of writing of the piece until 1977, so it must have been this event.

    I have added the event to brassbandresults, assuming that it was for the top class: