Most satisfying test piece you have played?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by MoominDave, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Posted to offer a counterpoint to "Hardest test piece"; a subtler question. Should be interesting to see what people really value in their own contest performances.

    For my personal choice, I find it hard to look beyond Wilby's 'Jazz', which was a real challenge for the areas 10 years ago, and one that we rose to so well that we followed the previous year's 9th place with 2nd place and qualification.

    So evidently there's a measure of musical satisfaction there, and a measure of satisfaction at how the band played, and a measure of satisfaction at the result. But do all of these need to come together to create a most satisfying experience?
  2. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Tallis Variations. By a street.

    Great to rehearse, rewards proper musical playing, great to listen to, but still not easy (though a long way from being the hardest thing I've played). I loved playing it the other year and I'd love to have another crack at it.

    In answer to your last paragraph I don't think all of your factors need to come together. My last band played Tallis at two contests and never really performed it on the day and our results echoed that. I still loved the piece despite the dissappointing results and performances.
  3. Bass Man

    Bass Man Active Member

    I'm actually going to offer the same answer that I just have on the 'Hardest Testpiece' thread - Titan's Progress. There is so much for everyone to play for every section, so when you finish your performance you actually feel as though you have achieved something. Not forgetting the fact that we won the Grand Shield on it, and gave an even better performance of it at the English Nationals on Saturday :)
  4. welsh_tenor

    welsh_tenor Member

    Oooo that's a real though question!

    I loved Blitz as there was a good mix of technical challenge and some great music to be played and being written for two rep players made it fun to move seats for a contest!

    Don't think I can ever beat Year of the Dragon though. Have played it on front-row and back-row and on horn and it takes so much technique to be note-perfect on the solo cornet part (which I confess I couldn't do!) whilst at the same time trying to play ppp in the 2nd movement was a real challenge... but getting that 2nd movement right can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.....
  5. I did Contest Music with Wire a few years ago at the Grand Shield, an absolutely unforgettable experience.
  6. nadband

    nadband Member

    For me still Variations On An Enigma with Roberts Bakery at 1999 NW Areas loved it! 2nd horn and was still superb to get my teeth into.
  7. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Not Alan Street, surely!
  8. xRinat

    xRinat Member

    For me it has to be Audivi Media Nocte, a real cracker that one!
  9. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

  10. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Cloudcatcher Fells. Not even played it at contest! Brilliant music shines through.

    I struggle to think of any piece brought out for contest in a band I have played in that has really set me alight. Except maybe Les Preludes, but that's for odd reasons...
  11. KD

    KD New Member

    Oregon... only ever played it once at a contest many years ago. Second or third section at the time but a real enjoyable piece to play and one that could be used in a concert too. Would probably be fourth section now, actually a good choice for the qualifiers next year!!
  12. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Did this at Leicester last year when I was playing Eb bass - good chunky stuff for the basses there.
    Had "Essence of Time" out last night which is certainly one of my favourites. As a previous poster has alluded to however (and with all due deference to Dr Graham's publishers) , never mind playing it - trying to read it is half the task !!
  13. katieeuph

    katieeuph Member

    I'd agree with Tallis too. I've also had some really 'sastisfying' performances on Spectrum, Royal Parks and Resurgam too - not necessarily my favourite pieces, but when they 'come off' and the music shines through, it's extremely satisfying.:)
  14. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    For me a few i can say:
    Fantasy On British Sea Shanties by Donald Osgood, It was my first senior band contest at the 1977 3rd section National Finals and WON,the 2nd baritone part was a bit tricky but managed to play it well on the day of the contest.

    La Forza Del Destino;First played this on Solo Baritone when i was 15 loved every minute of the part and that was when it was used at Leicester for Championship section 1981 then was lucky enough to play it again at same contest when it was used for 2nd section in 1988 and came 2nd it was still a great enjoyment to play and practise for on both times and im sure all the Solo baritone players will enjoy playing it at National this year.

    The Wayfarer;Always as been a favorite of mine and was glad i played this in 2007 at Area the part and the piece was always going to be a big hit and so satisfying what ever the out come of the result of the contest lucky enough it was 1st place.
  15. weenie

    weenie Member

    I have to agree with WoodenFlugel cuz for me, it's Tallis Variations. I remember playing it at the GS about 8 years ago and loved every minute of it, even though the result wasn't good that day. Beautiful piece of music from Mr Sparke!
  16. Split Splat

    Split Splat Member

    Land of the Long White Cloud - simply amazing! :clap: followed closely by Titans Progress (hardest ever) and Journey into Freedom (the slow section does things to me only ever achieved by my wife aged 19! ;) )
  17. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    No Gilbert Vinter ?:-?;)
  18. cockaigne

    cockaigne Member

    A tricky one... I can remember being absolutely bowled over by Philip Harper's 'Sword, Jewel & Mirror' based on Japanese mythological themes (2nd section area test piece in 2000, I think) - although I was probably influenced by that being my first senior contest performance. A very clever piece though - testing for all sections of the band, but not in a contrived way - with the final movement being an exact retrograde of the first. I think the idea (IIRC) was to represent sunset and sunrise respectively...

    Kenneth Downie's 'Purcell Variations' is probably worthy of a mention; again a very musical piece that's great fun to play.

    I'd probably plump for George Lloyd's 'English Heritage', though - despite having the corniest trombone solo EVER - it ticks the boxes for all sections of the band, I think, and hands out the material [almost] equally for everyone to have something to get their teeth into. I have fond memories of playing it at an own-choice contest, my first time out in the top section, and 'nailing' it rather well...


    It depends on what you mean by most satisfying...

    I remember the celebrations after winning the scottish with Music for the common man in 2000.

    However, if we are talking about rehearsal, home practice and performance, then I think that I would plumb for Vaughan Williams Variations for Brass Band. Great piece for playing in a good Bass Section. Great piece to do some serious Pedaling!
  20. Owen

    Owen Member

    I have to agree with Tallis Variations, and would also add in Between the Moon and Mexico by the same composer which I loved both rehearsing and playing out.

    Another piece that I enjoyed from start to finish was Passacaglia on a Theme of Brahms by Butterworth, which was a 1st section area piece a few years back. I enjoyed it so much I got to stay on stage and play it again with Stannington!

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