Out of their Boxes

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by lewis, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. lewis

    lewis Member

    I know we should all be up for new things and thinking out of the box but ???


    I know I'll upset some people saying this, but things have been said about my band when we've just been on a brass band stage!

    A cello with a brass band, are you sure? And then Rite of Spring, please tell me this is a joke!!!
  2. kiwiposaune

    kiwiposaune New Member

    I haven't heard the Rite transcription / arrangement? so I can't really comment on its virtues but we have a transcription of Firebird which has been a staple of the band repertoire so what's the difference. In fact, I'm half tempted to sit down and take a crack at Petrouchka (just kidding). As for the cello, Gregson and Steadman-Allen have both written works for piano and brass band so - why not?
  3. lewis

    lewis Member

    There are so many textural elements of the Rite that stand it in completely different ground the to Firebird. You can listen to an orchestra play the firebird and imagine it being played by a brass band but I have never had that sensation while playing the Rite. Same composer correct but completely different pieces and the fact that one works for a different ensemble doesn't guarantee the other will as well.

    If this recording does I will stand corrected but I doubt it very much,
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    It's a slow development (if you want to call it something different it's up to you), but non brass instruments have been introduced into our repertoire for a few years now. 'The Planets' arrangement has harps, 'Circuses' (Roman Festivals) arranged by Howard Snell has a piano, Andrew Duncan has a keyboard to add atmosphere in his version of 'The Gael'. Hannaford Band commissioned and recorded 'Sinfonia for Brass Band, with Harp and Piano' from Gary Kulesha. Seller's last CD probably is the most daring with with the vocal talents of Elizabeth Atkinson and Jason McCann, Dave Astle (Clarinet) Ian Buckle (Piano), Andrew Corcoran (Keyboard) Simon Lindley (organ) and Peter Whitehead on guitar (http://www.4barsrest.com/shopping/default.asp). And not forgetting the role of the synth and echo effects used from the days of Tim Souster and of course, the middle movement of Riff & Interludes (Aagaard-Nilsen). I'm quite open to this as long as the additions complement the band set-up. I would love to hear a full-blown CD with a brass band merged with changing soundscapes produced by synths and sequencers. Closest album I've seen is the Empire Brass Quintet's playing in the 1994 CD 'Passage' which is also encoded in surround sound (great for late evening listening).

    oops! I forgot to mention Elgar Howarth's use of an electric piano in his 'The Bandsman's Tale'.
  5. lewis

    lewis Member

    You can uncerstand a piano or a synth being using with a band it would be able to hold it's own. But my primary question is with a cello. Cello with brass band, I can see major balance issues! This is no personal gripe with John this is simply a question of tibres.

    Although I probably do have a personal gripe about the rite but I wait to hear the resut with baited breath.
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... the 'cello would have to be put through a P.A. for concert purposes. There has been an arrangement of the finale from 'The Rite Of Spring' around for years, but cannot remember who adapted it.
  7. lewis

    lewis Member

    The arrangement of the firebird is simply brilliant but all I'm trying to say is that the rite of spring won't work. Even with mics godd luck to the cello!
  8. kiwiposaune

    kiwiposaune New Member

    I appreciate what you're saying about the textural differences between Firebird and the Rite - and I largely agree with you (Lewis). Interesting, though, while I was playing the Rite last September with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (in what Yan Pascal Tortelier called the best performances of the Rite he has ever conducted) I had plenty of time to think about the piece (and a lot of other things) since, as I'm sure you know, the bass trumpet waits a very long time to enter. I recall thinking, at several points, that you could put together a very effective band transcription of excerpts. I think the use of some of the newer practice mutes (such as Trevor Bremner's sssshhmute) in performance gives brass band textural possibilities that haven't existed in the past. However, this is pretty subjective.

    In any event, thanks for this thread - it's nice to post something a little more stimulating tham movie association.
  9. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    There's no reason why non-brass istruments shouldn't be featured with band accompaniment, given sensitive arrangement and balancing: in addition to the examples above, Whitburn have featured a violin in one of their recordings and we often feature a flute at our Christmas events.

    Regarding "Rite", in theory the aggressive, percussive nature of much of the writing should lend itself quite well to brass, although you probably couldn't do much about the high sustained string stuff. As so much film music, and also a number of established contest works, have been influenced by "Rite" I don't see why one shouldn't give it a go.
  10. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    A cello in a brass band?:sup
    The inclusion of non-brass instruments in a band?:sup :sup
    This would involve "change" in the brass band world - surely not allowed :wink:

    Whatever next? French Horns & Trumpets?!?!??:sup

    Seriously - why not? Experimentations in orchestration have been around for many years and there have been some "interesting" combinations in the past. Has anyone heard Harold L. Walters' (yes, he of Hootenanny fame) lovely piece - Morning Ride? It is a piece for soloist and wind band. The "subtlety" of a wind band accompanying the awesomely powerful viola!
    Yes, you read that correctly, a viola!!
    Even back in the baroque time there can be found some very peculiar instrument combinations - my favourite example being Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.2. There are four soloists, who all take turns as the lead instrument. Trumpet, Oboe, Violin and Recorder!!!
    For those of you who might not know this piece, the trumpet part ascends to the A that is an octave above the stave (reading Bb cornet pitch) and, at that point, is NOT the lead instrument.

    The cello solo line might need amplification, or the band will really have to demonstrate a quality control over their softer dynamics. Having heard Aveley & Newham, I am sure they will rise to this challenge.

    As for the Rite of Spring - there are certain pieces that I feel should remain in their original form. These are the sort of pieces where the instrumentation used is very specific.
    The opening bassoon wail of the Rite has a very specific sound. The bassoon is at the very top end of its register, producing a very haunting (in my view) tone. I am very intrigued as to how they will achieve such a sound - a muted BBb bass? That might make the opening as scary for the band as it can be for the orchestra?
    Personally, this would be a piece that I would leave in its original state, but I am very interested in the outcome.
  11. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    Just as long as they dont have anything higher than a cello im not botherd cellos are the only strings i still like.
  12. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Don't panic folks, it's just a one off recording for a specific purpose!

    I have played thru the arrangement of the Rite of Spring and it does work 'ok'.

    Before the question is asked, I have played the Rite of Spring with Symphony Orchestra and I do own at least two recordings of it!

    Chill!!! :)
  13. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    Mod Post:

    Just a quick one here folks: A thread title is there for a good reason, it facilitates searching, and helps draw the eye to topics of interest to users. A title of "???" is fairly useless, in all honesty.
    Lewis, would you mind editing your origial post title, or pming one of the team with a useful title, and we will change it for you?

  14. Richard Dyson

    Richard Dyson Member

    Rite of Spring

    In Elgar Howarth's book he wrote that he wanted to transcribe Rite of Spring but was refused permission by the Stravinsky family - I'm interested this version is being allowed, even though its very cut down. Surely if EH thought that Rite of Spring would work for Brass Band then people should give it a chance, I'd love a crack at it someday if someone can write the whole thing. We could then use all the percussionists we have had to get in for Rienzi then!

    Richard Dyson
  15. tim

    tim Member

    However the baroque natural trumpet had a very very different timbre to the modern valved piccolo that most would attempt this beast on! It was a much softer sounding instrument that blended with the recorder and oboe much more readily.

    Im sure Bach would not have written for the trumpet had it been an overpowering instrument as it often is in modern recordings due to the nature of the development of the sound of the trumpet.

    edit: terrible spelling :(
  16. lewis

    lewis Member

    Sorry Keppler, this is only my second thread and I didn't think the title was that important, I have changed it now.
  17. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Can't honestly see what all the fuss is about regarding the cello. Nothing new to me. When I was with Crystal Palace Band, we performed Massenet's Meditation from Thais for violin and band. Judicious use of mutes and careful scoring, and it worked a treat. (Arranged by the band's conductor, Mike Gray). Balance can be a problem, sure, but it can be worked around (for a start it'd mean bands playing quietly for long periods. Perish the thought.... :)). A few years ago, I arranged the first movement of Bach's Double Violin Concerto using (shock, horror!) two violins as the soloists, with a reduced brass band scoring. I don't like to boast at the best of times, but I never heard any complaints when it was performed. (Perhaps people were being kind.... :))

    Still, Rite of Spring could be interesting. Hope it doesn't provoke a similar reaction to the first performance of the original......
  18. kiwiposaune

    kiwiposaune New Member

    maybe a good riot wouldn't be a bad thing after a band concert - it'd make a change from the usual stroll to the pub
  19. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

  20. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    If I remember correctly, after first run thru of the first draft arrangment, there may have been some "disquiet" so to speak (changing time signature every bar.. couldn't he make up his mind!! ???), not quite a "riot"..

    but then again, the Brass Band movements ability to make "mountains out of mole hills" is legendary stuff.. so .. maybe there was a riot!!!

    I had to kick my way out of the band hall, fight my way to my car drive the A13 , A406 home "mad max" style.. (I did slow down for the speed cameras...)