New Test Pieces VS The Golden Oldies

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Matt-Trom939, May 30, 2006.

  1. Matt-Trom939

    Matt-Trom939 Member

    I personally am a big fan of the older works by the likes of Eric Ball and Gilbert Vinter, but i do like to listen to the modern works that are being used much more today.

    I was just curious what other peoples opinions were?
  2. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I tend to agree. There are very few newer pieces that have really spoken to me as pieces of music. Many of them seem to be more test-pieces for test-pieces' sake. There was a period during the 70's and 80's when most major contest pieces were not only that, but great music too (Contest Music, Harmony Music, Connotations, Blitz etc.). I don't think that many of today's commissioned works will be held in the same regard in 20 years time.

    I believe this may have been the subject of a different thread, but I do think that more composers from outside the confines of our movement should be encouraged to write, bringing in a greater diversity. I am a great fan of Judith Bingham's Prague, but if I were Judith, I would not rush to write a band piece again after the comments that were received.
  3. Matt-Trom939

    Matt-Trom939 Member

    I also think that greater diversity is brought by non-brass band composers having works comisioned for major contests. I cannot stop listening to Johan De Meij's 'Extreme Make Over' from last years Europeans and i think its one of the finest works for Brass Band for many years. The idea of using bottles in what i believe is the 2nd movement of the piece is fantastic. Maybe an option for next years Champ section area set work....
  4. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I'd probably lose my bottle on the day....

  5. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    You'll find out soon enough when we announce the results of tMP's Favourite Test Piece Poll. Coming to a tMP near you soon!
  6. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    When I started playing, the older guys in the band were complaining about all this modern stuff by the likes of Ball(!) and Vinter... :eek:

    Me - I like musical music. A melody, a bass part, chords, maybe a counter-melody - you know what I mean. If a piece relies on screaming semi runs, horrendously atonal passages and weird time sigs, I tend not to like it.

    But the magic word here is tend - sometimes it's done well, and works just fine - so composers should continue to experiment. Just don't expect the experiment to be succesful every time ;)
  7. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    The set piece for the 1st section Belgian nationals this year is Spectrum. (there will be a news report about it appearing soon...)
    I'm already looking forward to it! :)
  8. Matt-Trom939

    Matt-Trom939 Member

    I love Spectrum. Its one of the best test pieces i think ive played and not trying to sound big headed but my band did a cracking performance of it at a contest last year.
  9. MaxPressure

    MaxPressure Member

    Some of the new pieces are pretty cool, but I don't like the ones that only have lots of black notes for the sake of having lots of black notes. I like my music to have memerable tunes in it, something that the listeners can go away and remember.
    A few times when a friend has heard a new piece and I ask what it was like, the answer comes back as " well it was fast".....
    "well" i would reply... " how did the melody go?"....
    And the reply would be..... "there wasn't really a melody..... just alot of fast stuff "

    I personally don't see the point in that kind of music.

    So I like any age of piece, as long as it has some good melodies in it.
  10. Matt-Trom939

    Matt-Trom939 Member

    I agree. I think the truly fantastic bands get there 'magic moments' in the slow expresive stuff and bassically i think thats what brass banding is all about. Any band with decent players around the stand can play a few semiquavers...
  11. MaxPressure

    MaxPressure Member

    I think a prime example of a very good top class modern test piece is 'Essence Of Time' It contains everything, some really tricky fast bits, and one of the most beautifull slow section (the kind that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up)
    And on a par with this of course is 'Year Of The Dragon', for exactly the same reasons.

    And although I havn't heard it myself, I have been told that Prague falls into the other catagory.
  12. tam-tam2

    tam-tam2 Member


    Yes, Matt you are quite right, the performance of Spectrum when Graham came down last year was the best for a long while. At the present time I believe that the old test pieces are more musically difficult and the modern ones are more technically difficult. Although, I am not saying old test pieces are easy...personally I don't fancy playing Epic and there are some fiendish parts in most Vinter and Ball testpieces. I believe each test piece, young or old has their difficult moments..that's why they are a test...otherwise we may as well play the f and g march at competitions heh!!
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    For me, it is not only a melodic line that helps me recall a memorable piece of music: it may well be a chord sequence, or particular sound produced: this applies to brass peces (such as "Songs for BL" and "Revelation") just as much as Strauss's "Death & Transfiguration" or Stravinsky's "Symphony of psalms" (the gorgeous chords at the opening "Allelujah"). I do enjoy many of the older pieces, but would not want to lose some of the more recent masterpieces.
  14. Matt-Trom939

    Matt-Trom939 Member

    I have to say that for quality in new pieces i think John Pickard's 'Eden' is fantastic. I had a look at the trombone solo in a lesson a while ago and it requires some really virtuosic playing-GREAT STUFF!

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