Moorside Suite by Holst

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Soppy, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. Soppy

    Soppy Member

    I was wondering if anybody has ever played this piece. My band are thinking of contesting with it, but it'd be good to know what it's like first.

    What kind of standard is it (eg 4thsection, 3rd etc) because we are really sort of at the very bottom end of 4th section :(

  2. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I'd class it as broadly a 3rd section piece - but it is a little difficult to classify it so baldly, because the real difficulty to it lies in the middle movement, which is slow, sustained and quiet, and requires a band with real control to bring off perfectly. Quite a few 4th section bands will be able to play it well, with enough rehearsal time, whereas some 2nd section bands won't. If nothing else, rehearsing this movement cannot fail to enrich the band's tone/balance/togetherness.

    And apart from all that, it's a lovely piece of music. I'd recommend that you do get it out and rehearse it, even if you decide not to contest with it.

  3. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    Played it several times and love it.

    I reckon its probably 3rd Section standard. Maybe some top 4th Section bands could manage it. It isn't as easy as it looks. There is a lot in - both note wise and music wise.

    Don't let that put you off giving it a go, though. My philoshophy for choosing pieces for a band to play is to run through it, see what the band think of it (as a whole and individually) and if you've got the time, energy and inclination to do it - go for it.

    Good luck whatever you choose.
  4. missflugel

    missflugel Member

    The Durham University Brass Band played it last year at our Summer concert. We have players of varying standards and played the piece really well.

    The slow movement is quiet and exposed.
    I think its a really nice piece, interesting and probably of 3rd section standard although I think it has been used at 2nd section contests before.

    Jo x
  5. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    What I remember of this piece I personally wouldn't recommend it for a 4th section band. I contested on this piece back in the early eighties with a good second section band under Roy Curran, and remember the amount of difficulty he had coping with the intonation in the slow movement. There's only one way to find out whether its suitable for your band though and thats to run it through at rehearsals.
    I would say with the improvement in bands over the last twenty years or so its probably more suited to a 3rd section band.

    I'm sure in due course there will be lots of suggestions from our members.

  6. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    I remember not so long ago when I took a rehearsal, that the band managed to a very good job on the Barber Of Seville. I'm sure that if you do look at The Moorside Suite, you will do an equally good job.
    Let me know how it goes.
  7. Borfeo

    Borfeo Member

    I was thinking about the Moorside suite in the pub the other day, and I honestly can't remember ANY band I've ever heard, play the middle movement without blemish or problems.

    It is a difficult work for lower section bands, I wouldn't personally give this piece to a 4th section band, more 2-3rd section.
  8. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Great piece! (However, when it was written for the Nationals, one wag allegedly dismissed it as not being much good because the piece didn't contain a single semiquaver!) For contesting purposes, I'd say it's 2nd section at least. The control required for the second movement alone gives even higher section bands the willies sometimes! Worth looking at to work on for improving your band, though.

    If you are, as you say, at the bottom end of the 4th section, try Philip Sparke's Tameside Overture (assuming this is an own choice contest we're talking about). Changing time signatures but with practice well within a 4th section band's apabilities and a good piece to boot which the band should enjoy.
  9. Soppy

    Soppy Member

    Thanks for the replies everybody.

    @Dave Payne: We have a choice of this or Dimensions! I can't for the life of me undestand why they have chosen these pieces because they're way too hard for the bands they want to play them

    That was 2 years ago we did that because I remember it well
    :D Unforteunately the band has changed beyond recognition since then :( and there's no way we can play a 3rd section piece. We'd sturggle to play a 4th section piece atm :(
  10. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Blimey Andy, didn't realsie it was that long ago.
    Are these choices for the EABBA spring festival?
  11. Soppy

    Soppy Member

    It was actually 'only' 18months ago thinking about it, but it's still a long time.

    Yep, they're for EABBA section B. Whoever is on the panel for choosing the music obviously hasn't got a clue!!!!
  12. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Jus to add a bit of 'fun' Andy, I thought that Mr B himself had something to do with the choices.
  13. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Of the two (Moorside and Dimensions) I'd go for Dimensions. Even the first movement of the Holst is deceptively difficult. Everyone would need to be 'on the ball'. That's not to belittle Dimensions (lets face it, any test piece and the like needs everyone to be on the ball!) which I really enjoy as a piece too, but to my eyes and ears, Dimension has a bit more 'safety in numbers' (or more 'doubled parts') about it. Good luck with whatever you choose to go with.
  14. flashbarry

    flashbarry Member

    As a band training piece Moorside Suite will pay dividends, the piece has all the old requirements of playing together, playing in tune, balance and style. Using it as an own choice test piece in any section will in my opinion handicap the band. If it was a set piece then all the bands would have the same problems to contend with but as an own choice you are stacking the odds against you as Moorside Suite needs to be played very well.

    I feel the same way about Resurgam a fantastic piece of music but one to be avoided at own choice contests unless you have a very very good band, other more modern test pieces can sound exciting and vibrant which is what a lot of adjudicators seem to go for.

    Good luck and enjoy your music (and contesting) whatever you choose!!
  15. Soppy

    Soppy Member

    Unfortunately, we couldn't play Dimensions when we were at our best a year or so ago, let alone now.

    Kev, I thought 'Mr B' walked out on the EABBA and told them to err, get lost, so to put it!!
  16. Hilary Mateer

    Hilary Mateer Member

    Played the Moorside Suite at the WMA Summer School last year.
    I loved playing it and it is a georgeous piece of Music.
    I would think you would need at least a 2nd section band to do it justice (we didn't manage it at summer school :( )

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