National Finals 2011 - test piece rumours

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by hvb_shizzle, Mar 16, 2011.

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  1. andybass

    andybass Member

    Is that the new title?
  2. Zappa

    Zappa Member

    Sorry, Portrait of a City ;)
  3. Tom Kuiling

    Tom Kuiling Member

    Only heard a rumour that it was a Sparke piece, but didnt know which one but now Portrait of a City has been mentioned maybe somebody knows something that the rest of us doesnt.

    As for someone mentioning Ballet for Band, that would be a great shout. No doubt one or two will say its too easy though
  4. andybass

    andybass Member

    Ballet would still sort bands out. Prob 1st section in it,s original form though?
  5. ophicliede

    ophicliede Member

    Anyone know the history of 'Portrait of a City' ? Was it commissioned for anything? Phillip has the knack of writing music that is popular with players and audience alike.
  6. Di

    Di Active Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this the championship test piece at the Albert Hall in 1983? Not to be confused fourth section that year being Ballad for Band?

    Now where is that test piece archive when you need it. :-?
  7. ophicliede

    ophicliede Member

    Ballet for Band was used at the areas for the 1st Section testpiece several years ago, a great one!
  8. Tom Kuiling

    Tom Kuiling Member

    Its been top section area piece since then as well, 1989 or 1990 i think
  9. Di

    Di Active Member

    Just checked the archive on 4br, and it was used at the Albert Hall in '83. ;)
  10. ophicliede

    ophicliede Member

    Ballet for Band was used as the 1997 1st Section regional testpiece!
  11. Bass Man

    Bass Man Active Member

    It was also used as the Senior Trophy piece in 2007
  12. tsawyer

    tsawyer Member
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I remember it well - as I recall you put most of the bottom end of the band onto my part...

    I think it's fair to say that it stretched the 1st section above and beyond?
  14. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    It certainly sorted out the senior trophy as well.....
  15. cockaigne

    cockaigne Member

    In 1997, possibly - having tried it out on Forest of Dean, I'd say it's probably now within the reach of most 1st section bands, or (as in their case) a strong 2nd-section band.

    It's a lovely piece of music - very characterful and entertaining, not merely a "test" piece.
  16. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    No thanks :wink:
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    You're joking, Jack, I hope?

    Standards haven't risen in the last 14 years - I don't understand why so many people think that they have. The myth of test piece inflation is a powerful one, peddled by various people on this site at various times - but as I see it, the years 1970-1990 saw a genuine increase in average technical standards and general musical awareness within the brass band world [driven by, to pick a few things, greater mass communication, larger bore instruments, and an influx of directing talent that was bent on rendering banding less insular], but have since been followed by a twenty year plateau, and maybe even some falling away - and, to be fair, a plateau is what one would expect to see in terms of usual behaviour in the long term.

    BfB is a deceptive piece - not too hard to get through if your soloists are up to it, but very hard to pin down completely - all parts have important roles to play, and a lot of the writing is dangerously intimate for a brass band. A section of bands who all just about get through it does not do what is a lovely piece any justice at all.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  18. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    +1 to Dave.

    I've heard it massacred, and I'd much prefer not to's too 'nice' for that.
  19. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I can only really speak for the bass parts (having never properly laid eyes on a full score) but though there's nothing massively demanding in them technically or sound-wise, they're one of those things where a lot of subtlety and a lot of musicality is needed. And we do a lot more work in unison/octave with the euphonium and baritone than is usual - more like playing in the mode of a double-bass and cello team, rather than as one would tend to expect of brass band basses.

    The other thing is that it's a rarety in which it's one of those few pieces I thought was unutterably tedious the first time I played it, (with a closed mind, I'll now freely admit) but has since completely won me over both as a player and a listener. Normally I'm pretty stubborn about these things and first impressions tend to grow stronger with time.... but I was completely wrong about BfB. :)
  20. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Horovitz himself said that he had a story in his mind as he wrote Ballet but chose not to tell us what it was. But it isn't difficult to identify some of the individuals or concepts depicted. The piece has an obvious love interest, a comic interlude, and best of all, a wonderful role for the tubas and solo euph as the villain of the piece, doing unspecified nefarious deeds. And after a frantic scramble towards the end, they all live happily ever after. Aaaahhh!

    If you like Ballet and want to hear a work in a similar vein, try Buxton Orr's Narration (for wind band).
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