Land of the long white cloud...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by timbloke, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    Just a quick question hope someone could answer... and then a debate maybe?

    We played Land of the Long White Cloud (Philip Sparke) at a contest last week, and in order to get a feel for the music I had a look around for a recording. I found a wind band version. I liked the wind band version in places, I felt it had the ability to get a greater range of colours, although I much prefer the slow solo on Sop, especially when Griffin played it.. But there were moments where having bassoons and clarinets in particular really gave the music a different feel and depth.

    I've also seen a wind band version of Padstow Lifeboat. Which I didn't think much of.


    1. Were these pieces original brass band pieces arranged for wind band or the other way round?

    2. Have there been any examples of original brass band music that has successfully been arranged orchestrally? For instance is there an orchestral Resurgam? Obviously there are plenty of examples of the reverse.

  2. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Ralph Vaughn Williams "Variation for Brass Band" (The second section area test piece) was later transcribed by RVW himself for full orchestra (I have/had the orchestra recording at home - in Ohio - If you want to here it sometime)
  3. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    P.S. The transcription was then called "Variations for Orchestra"
  4. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    There is a wind band (?) version of Year of the Dragon kicking about. Never heard it so I don't know how well it works but apparently the Trombone solo in the middle movement is for Cor Anglais. I just can't imagine it on anything other than trom - preferably with Nick Hudson playing it...
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2004
  5. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    will do when i pop over to see you in a couple of years.....
  6. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    You don't have to wait that long silly!! I'll try to rip it when I head home in December and bring it back with me. HBB & WhatSharp? might be interested in hearing it too!
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    You would be surprised how much has been transcribed for wind band ... Montage, Dimensions, Harrison's Dream (Peter Graham), Journey Into Freedom, Resurgam, Sinfonietta The Wayfarer (Eric Ball), Variations For Brass Band (V Williams), Comedy (John Ireland) and a lot of Philip Sparke's and many other composers' works! Methinks, a nice sideline for ££££s :rolleyes:
  8. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    In Belgium and Holland, a lot of brass band works have been adapted or transcribed for fanfare band (brass + saxophones, melodies played by flugels, see my band's website for more explanation). Although we have many excellent composers for fanfare band (Leon Vliex, Rob Goorhuis, Harry Jansen,...), there aren't as many new pieces composed as for brass or wind band.
    A selection of the brass band pieces that we have played over the years: Year of the Dragon, Shine as the Light, Land of the Long White Cloud, Trittico, Gaelforce, Cry of the Celts, Windows of the World, Mid' All The Traffic, Hine E Hine, The Waltonian, and several other marches and hymn tunes.
    In the last couple of years, Luc Vertommen (conductor of Brass Band Buizingen, amongst other things) has arranged numerous brass band pieces for fanfare band.
  9. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    It would be interesting to hear some of these transcriptions to see how they fare. I've been thinking about it and I reckon Land of the Long White Cloud could work quite well - especially the opening and the Vaughan Williams could work well too. Not so sure about Journey into Freedom though...has anyone here played any??

    EDIT: I forgot to say, in answer to your original question Tim, I believe that the Land of the Long White Cloud was originally a Brass Band piece, commisioned for one of their contests over there (Nationals??). Anyway, whatever, its a great piece!
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2004
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I think Philip Sparke re-scored all the wind band versions of his works and all sound great (even if a cor anglais is used in the middle mvt. of the Dragon). Geoffrey Brand arranged Resurgam and Journey Into Freedom was rewritten for Fanfare Band by Sytze van der Hoek. Ray Steadman-Allen adapted A Downland Suite (John Ireland) and Comedy Overture for wind band too!

    For samples of the wind band version of Variations, try the link below:-
  11. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    From Philip Sparke's website: "A growing interest in his music led to several commissions, his first major one being for the Centennial Brass Band Championships in New Zealand – The Land of the Long White Cloud." (that was in 1979 by the way...)
  12. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Hmmm! I thought Variations was transribed for orchestra by Gordon Jacob?
  13. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    Land of the Long White Cloud and YotD were originally brass band pieces, transcribed for wind band. I've played all four versions, and they all work very well. Although the wind band version of LotLwC has added xylophone in it, which is really hard!
    I personaly think Resurgam could work well for wind band. I say could, as I personally think the Brand arrangement is a pile of **********.
  14. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    I have been subjected to the wind band rehashing of Year of the Dragon on a number of occasions. There are many problems with it. The main one is the start of the last movement. Those scales fit beautifully under the fingers on a cornet (if you find they don't - you need to practise harder!), yet on the clarinet they lie in the register known as the "break." Without getting into technicalities (this is a brass-based forum, nobody would be interested), this is about the worst possible register on the clarinet for running about. It is possible, but it is very difficult.

    I have heard truly excellent wind orchestras play this piece and yet not a single one of them has, in my ears, done it justice.

    As for the cor anglais middle movement - blasphemy!

    Somebody suggested that this could be seen as being £££ orientated - how true! Why write a piece for one medium only, when you can rehash it and sell it to more people, no matter what the musical effects in the piece or original motives behind it.
    I am not averse to good transcriptions of pieces, but in this particular case I just don't think it works very well. The timbral effects in the brass band original make my spine tingle, the wind band just makes me wish that the piece hadn't been written.
  15. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    As someone with a foot in both camps, I think many works can be successfully transcribed from wind to brass (and vice versa, as with the Holst suites etc) but it does really need a complete rethink, rather than someone simply switching parts to instruments in the same key, without any regard to the most effective range of the instruments in the new medium. In a few cases, particularly with wind arrangements of SA repertoire, the saxophone parts in particular end up being pitched about a fifth lower than is comfortable, where they have simply passed over the tenor horn parts as is.

    It really needs either a composer who is really comfortable working with either group or a very skilled orchestrator, who is able to see new possibilities. The end result may turn out to be different, but can be an equally valid interpretation. Amongst the most successful I've found are pieces by Nigel Hess, Kenneth Hesketh, Martin Ellerby and Philip Sparke - and I do find the YotD works, at least as a listener (RNCM cd recording).
  17. Griffin

    Griffin Active Member

    Your too kind Tim!....Cheerz;)
  18. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    I was reliably informed on Saturday that Pageantry (Howells) and the first section areas test piece for 2005, Comedy (Ireland) are BB originals which have been orchestrated.
  19. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Active Member

    If you would like to know the facts, rather than forming your opinion on your own predjudice, I rescored Long White Cloud for concert band because I was asked to do it.

    And as for doing it for the money, I agree with you. God forbid that composers should earn a living. And as one of a handful of band composers who are able to earn a living doing nothing else, I object to your use of the word 'rehash'.

    If you don't like it, that's fine. But please learn some facts before you form an opinion.
  20. euphoria

    euphoria Member

    As an exercise in the use of Musicator, I once arranged the last movement of Year of the Dragon for 25 saxophones, 2 glockenspiels and Tubular bells (without the permission of mr Sparke:oops: ).

    It sounded as you would expect and I have based my opinion about wind bands on that experience.

    On that ground I would discourage any adaptions of any kinds of music at all for wind bands. If composers could then agree not to write new stuff for ensembles that includes instruments that could (and should) be burnt, then these ensembles would eventually have to conform to the proper instrumentation :p .


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