Original Works for Brass Band and Choir

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Sir_Threepwood, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. We are looking for some decent, longer british original works for brass band and SATB choir whereby the music should date from around the late 19th century / first half of 20th century and should be in the style of john ireland, edward elgar, ralph vaughan Williams compositions, will say, works of a more classical approach but no transcriptions, if possible. And no light-hearted music, only substantial works.

    The work should allow to be performed in a church or wide concert hall (extended acoustic response included).

    Any hints from anybody? Searching the worldwide web is an obvious choice of course, but we would like to choose works the could prove to be popular choices with the audience, and have not the necessary musical background to divide the works of a "classic" stature (that are the ones we want) from works of more advantgardistic style that are not well-known.
  2. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Methinks you are asking a great deal! There are few enough pieces for band and choir in total, before we start applying your restrictions!

    I can only suggest the following (they are at least all British even if they don't match all the other criteria):
    • The Trumpets (Gilbert Vinter) - substantial, difficult, with some distinct parellels with Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, so it MIGHT just match your requirements. You'll need a bass soloist and a solo trumpet.
    • Christchurch Cantata (Eric Ball) - in the classic Ball style, but where you would find a copy of it I have no idea - it isn't very well known, even amongst Eric Ball fans
    • Samson (Joseph Horovitz) - in his distinct, non-early 20C style
    • The Peatcutters (Peter Maxwell-Davies) - modern, and even then for children's chorus,not SATB as far as I know
    • Song of Freedom (Malcolm Arnold) - easy listening, but again for children's chorus, not SATB as far as I know, and the subject material, based on children's poems, may not be your idea of 'serious'
    • Psalm 104 (Anthony Hedges): yet again, for band and children's choir, I'm afraid
    • Requiem for a Charred Skull (Bram Tovey) - sensationally good piece, serious, SATB, recent, in a modern idiom, but wonderfully atmospheric.
    Well, I've dredged my memory and that is all I can come up with. Actually, the more I think about it, the last mentioned might be the piece you want. Either that, or it's back to Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory! Good luck.
  3. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    And probably a slightly augmented band, 'cos it's one hell of a blow for 25 players. I think there's also an optional organ part?

    This would be my choice, for me it's the finest thing Vinter ever wrote.
  4. Jacob Larsen

    Jacob Larsen Member

    Samson by Joseph Horovitz.... A fantastic piece for band and choir...

    :) I have a recording somewhere from a recording we made for the Danish National Radio..... :)
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I have the LP in front of me and the sleevenotes state that the band was augmented to 38 players and 4 percussion. The Huddersfiled Madrigal and Glee Society had extra singers in from the Colne Valley Male Voice Choir and
    the Bradford Festival Choral Society. Solo bass (singer) was Michael Langdon and the trumpet calls in the last movement (Revelation) were played by Maurice Murphy. No sign of an organ being played on the recording.

    Great work but don't you think that the opening fanfare subjects make you feel that they are going to morph into the early Star Trek theme? :rolleyes:

  6. That's why we adapted "The Creation" of joseph haydn for band and choir (as performed by the "Swiss Army Brass Band" and the "Regenburger Domspatzen" Choir). That's what I call substantial...


    Around 3500 pieces of the cd were sold to date.

    There were some decent suggestions so far at which would will look. But as it seems rather difficult to find original works within the given timeframe, have you got any proposals for transcriptions (all other restrictions further applying)?
  7. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    Music by CHH Parry (composer of the tune to Jerusalem) might be a good bet, or of course Edward Elgar. We are performing Parry's "Blest pair of sirens" with a choir at the end of the month - PM or email me if you would like more details. "I was glad" would also work well, or some of Elgar's larger church anthems - try "Fear not, O land", "Great is the Lord" or "Light of the World" (from the cantata 'The Light of Life').

    Not only do these two composers play well to the general public, but they are both out-of-copyright for the purposes of brass band arrangements (Parry d. 1918, Elgar d. 1934).
  8. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    I have the full score and there's no mention of an organ. But it does list extra parts such as 2 Sops, 6 Solo Cors, 2 Reps, 2 1st Tbns, 3 Euphs, 3 Eb Basses, 3 Bb Basses and 4 Perc.

    Duration 33 mins.
  9. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Really? Is that for all six movements, or just the four which involve the chorus? I have a recording of the full 6-movement work, and I would swear it lasted longer than 33 minutes. Perhaps they were playing slowly...
  10. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Good question. My score, which is a copy of Vinter's manuscript, states 33 minutes and contains only 4 movements -- Blazon, Destruction, Dedication & Revelation. At the end of the 4th movement Vinter has written 25 Aug. 1964 (and a place name that I can't read).

    My apologies to Anno Draconis because I now see there is an organ part but it was not shown in the instrumentation list at the front of the score (it's optional). Had I been more careful I'd have seen it in the actual score and listed right under the the title.:oops:
  11. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    Dirion Dir

    Gareth Glyn wrote "Dirion Dir" (Gentle Land)for SATB soloists , band and voices ( male , female and childrens choirs) for the 100th Anglesey Eistedfod last year , the piece is around 50 min long and a great piece of music , there is a thread here about it on TMP, might be worth emailing the Gareth to see if the music is available.

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2007

  12. Therefore, it is not exactly "from around the late 19th century / first half of 20th century", is it?:D

    But thanks anyway. But the problem is, although there are quite a few modern works for choir and Brass Band, the choir wants to perform "classical" works... which brings us back to the given timeframe.
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Not within the time frame either, but there are band arrangements of "Messiah" and the whole of "Magic Flute" (and I know it's not British either). I'm sure there must be other arrangments from your specified period, as it was a great time for massed band & choir concerts, although it may have been a question of individual songs rather than complete works.

    I know that Eric Ball transcribed the Prelude to "Gerontius", but I'm not sure if any of the vocal numbers were arranged. Equally, I'm sure I've come across a band arrangement of at least part of Coleridge-Taylor's "Hiawatha's Wedding".

    It may have too many seasonal overtones, but Roy Newsome has arranged Percy Fletehcer's "Ring out, Wild Bells" for band and choir.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2007
  14. matt_BBb_bass

    matt_BBb_bass Member

    i know a great cornish piece called proper job! If played with a good choir sounds amazing! Same with the band!
  15. BrotherBone

    BrotherBone Member

    Have a listen to Young Lochinvar by Bourgeois, awesome piece!! I think a score of it is on sibelius music. =)
  16. tsawyer

    tsawyer Member

    A bit after your time period, but I played a version of Rutter's Gloria with a 10 piece (plus Organ) from Wallace Arnold (Rothwell) and Gildford Catheredral Choir in the early 90's. Fabulous piece.

    Rothwell Temps are premiereing a new piece for band and choir in Wakefield Cathedral next month.

  17. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Are there really 6 movements? Wow.

    As far as I knew, there were only 4, the first of which is instrumental (Blazon, actually for cornets only if memory serves) and the other three which Brian mentioned which are choral. I'd love to hear the other two. My maths indicates that there is therefore another choral and another instrumental movement to make 6 - were these added later? (i.e. after 1964)
  18. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Your maths would be right, were it not for the fact that mine was wrong. What I meant to say earlier is that three of the movements involve the chorus, three are for band alone.

    All this talk has inspired me to dig out my hissy old recording on tape cassette, which I shall do when I get home. But surely I'm not the only one who feels that a shiny new digital version of the work is long overdue? I think there are at least three recordings on vinyl, but that was a long time ago. Faireys recorded two volumes of Vinter's work on Polyphonic some years ago. What a pity they didn't complete the project.

    I've only heard the work performed live once, that was at the RAM in London in 1989. Even then, they only played the four movements.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2007
  19. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Give me a a(n augmented) band and chorus.... ;)

    It is about time it was dragged out fo the cupboard for something - it's a great work.
  20. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    It was performed in its entirity at the RAM as part of the Brass Festival that John Wallace ws involved in, I believe with Dyke and students from the RAM making up the band. Definitely one that calls for a new recording, as there were a few balance problems with the soloist, good as he was.

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