Paul Hindmarsh & the Nationals

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Brian Bowen, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    This month’s Brass Band World reports that Paul Hindmarsh has been “sacked” from the National’s music committee. It seems his views on commissioning new works, rather than using arrangements for the contest, do not sit well with Kapitol Promotions Ltd.

    I believe Paul’s reputation and influence has been of considerable value but confess I know little about Kapitol or why they have the say in choosing test pieces. Could Paul’s departure be bad news for those who want to see brass band music advance? Isn’t it only through the imaginative commissioning of new test pieces that many bands are prepared to play any progressive music?
  2. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Given that I think it was Paul Hindmarsh that was behind promoting a series of successful band concerts on Radio 3 a few years back and trying to bring bands to a wider audience, I think this is bad news. New music for band should be promoted. Where will tomorrow's Connotations, Resurgams, Harmony Musics, Spectrums, Volcanos, Blitzes, Moorside Suites, Concerto Grossos etc. come from if it isn't?
  3. Active Member

    British Bandsman issue dated 10th April has an article on page 3 headed 'I was not sacked' says Hindmarsh.
    The article goes on to state that 'a conflict of interest arose over the commissioning of a test-piece for the Finals'.
  4. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Either way, it's still disappointing news.
  5. Billy

    Billy New Member

    Paul Hindmarsh

    Yes, undoubtedly, Mr. Hindmarsh would have continued to bring some good ideas to the table and his fingers are on the pulse with regard to exciting new composing talent in the UK and beyond. I also believe (and yes this does matter) that Mr. Hindmarsh's association with brass bands does bring some kudos to the movement in the wider performing arts world in the UK but alas, the deed has been done and Mr Hindmarsh was informed that it might be better if he resigned.......... is that the same as being sacked? I think we all know the answer to that!
  6. Mark Bousie

    Mark Bousie Member

    Whatever the way he departed from his position on the committee it is still a blow to lose one of the very few people, currently associated with bands, who has any influence on the wider classical world (especially contempary composers). We desperately need personalities like Paul to promote bands as serious and forward looking ensembles.

    If stories are to be believed 'the row' was about Kapitol 'binning' a new commission for the Finals in favour of a transcription. What kind of a message is this sending out?!

    Lets hope that Paul Hindmarsh does not turn his back on bands because of this! We certainly need many more like him to take our movement forward. If only we could have one forward thinking national organisation....
  7. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    Exactly. They are often complaining about the lack of new composing talent, then do something like this. What have they got to complain about then? Whilst the money might not be there to commission a new piece every year, there are still some excellent 'modern' pieces to play rather than relying on transcriptions. (Look at some of the points raised last year of the use of 'Enigma Variations'.)
  8. choirmaster

    choirmaster Member

    Paul Hindmarsh and the nationals

    It seems like my fears have come true. Having contributed to previous thread saying how bored I was at last year's national with umpteen performances of Enigma Variations, it appears (if our sources are correct) that the practise of using orchestral transcriptions is now going to happen with increased regularity. :cry: I cannot believe the attitude from a so called" Promotional" !! company!
    There are only a few people that seem to have an influencial voice in the wider musical world. Now due to the retrogressive attitude of the "promotional" company'Kapitol' it looks like our voice is to become far less powerful with the resigation of Paul Hindmarsh. We need more people like Paul who are prepared to work hard at getting the band movement greater exposure.
    Where is the positive thinking in going back to yesteryear for a suitable testpiece, and even worse selecting a piece that was not even written for band in the 1st place? I think my previous tongue in cheek comment about selecting The William Tell Overture, and supplying everyone with a blindfold may not be that far off the mark.
    If money is an issue I would be quite happy to quickly knock together a test piece ready in time for the nationals, gratis ( commission 3 test pieces, get the 1st one free!). :wink:
    Is there any point in contacting Kapitol to express my/ our disappointment ?

    Choirmaster (a.k.a. Derek Jones- Purveyor of fine testpieces!)
  9. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    We do of course have one national organisation - the BFBB. Whether it is forward thinking is another matter, of course. But the important thing is that it is democratic. If you are a member, you have a vote. If you have a vote, you have influence. If, of course, you are not a member of the BFBB, then obviously you have no influence at all, and are reduced to merely complaining about the state of affairs in forums such as TMP. (This isn't having a dig at Mr Bousie - it is intended for all who monitor TMP). :)

    The BFBB is bumbling along at present, but it seems to me that it is being hamstrung from doing what would be what we all want by a severe shortage of cash. So I would suggest that if we all put our hands in our pockets, became members of the Federation ( personally, that is, not taking the cheap option of merely being in a band which is a member), we could do an awful lot of good.
  10. Bones

    Bones Member

    It's all well and good being a member of a National Body such as the Federation, but what good does it do you when it does not have a say in any of the Major Brass Band Festivals that happen. For example,

    Kapitol Promotions - the Finals
    Martin Mortimer - The Open and Spring Festival
    Phillip Biggs and Richard Franklin - All England Masters

    etc etc etc etc

    So why pay good hard earned money to an association that has no power to change the movement we live in.

    Grrrr. Grrrrr. Rant.
  11. Mark Bousie

    Mark Bousie Member

    I have to say Richard you got there just before me! Whilst I agree with Jim, yes, there's little point just moaning, there are so many people/organisations running things that it must be difficult to get anything meaningful done for the brass band movement as a whole, especially when some of these parties disagree and/or don't communicate.

    Just this week I was reading that the Federation were looking into how the regionals/nationals are run (good idea) and Kapitol are retorting by saying that what the Federation are doing is meaningless and are treading on their turf!

    Now I couldn't and woudn't say who's right/wrong here, but wouldn't it be great if everybody could see beyond their own corners and work together.

    I'm sure you're right Jim when you say that the Federation is struggling for cash, but I don't think that's the only reason why its not as effective as it would like to be. I think more people would get involved and back it if truly was a representative, national organisation (in Norway they have ONE organisation representing bands and organising/promoting events- it seems to work a treat).

    I'm not knocking the work that these individuals/organisations do (where would we be without them?!), its just while this seemingly internal conflict is going on its difficult to look forward.

    If our movement in England was a little better structured then we might have some sort of policies on recruitment, publicity and repertoire (which is where this discussion began!) to ensure that the brass band does not ever become extinct.
  12. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    100% agreed!

    Whilst I often rant and rant on here, and often make people fall asleep at the same time! I agree 100% with Mr Bousie and the others on this one.

    The problem banding has at the moment is that everything is contest driven (more or less). We have a cultural drive to compete against each other and improve. However, if the actual contests we attend are not run by one body that bands are a part of and have a say then it is a bit absurd. With the greatest respect to the BfBB what can they do even if every band gave them a little more money ? Could they take over the running of all the contests ? Possibly, very slim I'd imagine.

    The repertoire situation particularly irritates me. There are some who hark on about looking back at the tradition that British brass bands have got. Yeah, fair enough, everyone has to appreciate those who have invested their lives into the running of band contests etc. BUT if we listen to these people who say "aye, it wer good in the olden days" then a) we wouldnt progress (or rather we'd regress as Mr B I think said) and b) we wouldnt evolve with the musical times and would remain a museum culture that people would fondly go and hear when they want to think of the olden days when they were young. ONE LESSON that we could take from contesting in the past is however, a commisioning policy that meant new pieces commissioned for every 8 out of 10 years at the National, a feature that often occurred at different times during the 1930's, 40's and 50's either in the British Open or National final. Check the facts and you'll see what I mean. There are other issues as well, such as the amount of different adjudicators from different backgrounds used, you can also see these in any historical data that you can get hold of (this is digressing too far off the point!). If people insist on ranting on about the past and how good it was, then lets employ the facts as they were in the past, i.e new commissions every year, and all the other things that used to be utilised.

    Its a sad state of affairs altogether when a person who can take bands to another audience and not just band fanatics is jostled out by a company who even in name is a promotional entity i.e all they care about is how much money they can get out of the punters who go to the final in London. Mr Hindmarsh leaving will no doubt pave the way for more transcriptions at the contest because the punters used their feet to come to listen to Enigma Variations a million times, whilst probably noticing that people weren't so fond of the contemporary music that has been played of late i.e Maunsell Forts or Prague, admitedly in the Open and Area respectively. Whilst having a large crowd at the finals is always nice, with all due respect the general public don't attend these contests, banders and band fanatics do, but Joe Bloggs who comes to most of our concerts don't even know there is a National Finals let attend it. We are in danger of narrowing our audience to a specialist only event and as was pointed out on 4barsrest comments, there seems to be less and less bands going to contests or in existence. Does this suggest that we are gradually declining as a movement ?
    After having played Holst and Elgar in the Majors last year I hoped that would be the last we would see of transcriptions for at least another for or five years. If you want to play a transcription to an audience, you can do it in your concerts ?? The audience there would perhaps know it better than most in a contest audience. The transcription was a vehicle that bands needed to find an audience, it used them at the beginning of contesting for this purpose. Yet over a hundred years later we still want to rely on them ! Perhaps it would be interesting if the transcriptions were from Mahler, Bruckner or Shoshtakovich or even push the boat out and have a large scale contemporary work written by a living composer transcribed with his permission ? I'd probably bet now that the next transcription will be something by Mozart or Beethoven. Today, here, now, in the 21st Century its about time we developed our repertoire even further by having more original music, intended for the purpose or use of brass bands and not return to being the proverbial magpies that steal other genres music.

    I have an idea of how much Mr Hindmarsh likes brass bands since I am currently being taught at Sheffield University by his brother who is equally curious about brass bands but works as a professional in other sectors of music. It is sad that we inherently shoot ourselves in the foot continuously when it comes to changing and introducing new repertoire, not to mention getting rid of those who could possibly have an ounce more perspective on music than those wholly integrated in brass bands who perhaps do not have the required amount of perspective to give clear ideas on the direction that banding should take.

    Rant well and truely over!
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Whilst I agree it is a pity that Paul Hindmarsh has had to step down from te panel, if there was indeed a conflict of interests then there may have been little choice in the matter, or else this would have been a debate over favouritism, an "inside job" etc.

    Just a thought - if we are to have a transcription, why not Howard Snell's "Daphnis & Chloe" - that would certainly sort out the quality bands :!:
  14. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Or Howard Snell's transcription of Respighi's Roman Festivals :twisted: :wink:
  15. Tuba Miriam

    Tuba Miriam Member

    The fact that the process of selecting music for the nationals is closed adds to the air of mystery. At some level every band in the country has a stake in it - the process should be more transparent. This could easily be done by publishing the minutes of selection meetings; as it is, aside from a few cryptic comments over a conflict of interest arising over a proposed commission of a new work, we really have no idea what this conflict of interest was, but instead we read that the retrograde step of adopting yet another transcription is the way forward. However, it's difficult to draw any firm conclusions when all we have are the titbits that Kapitol Promotions choose to disclose.

    Another suggestion might be to publish the minutes after a suitable time-period has elapsed, say a couple of years, along similar lines to the Official Secrets Act, but please, not 50 years. This could be an acceptable compromise; we get a view of the selection process in previous years, whilst the selectors themselves are able to make current decisions with the security of discretion - if that is really so important. Of course, this wouldn't enlighten us now with details of the current situation, but surely as a movement we are entitled to see how and why some of the major decisions are reached (even if we must remain powerless to effect change).

    Currently, we have only the scantest notion of strategy, let alone the desicion-making process itself. It's as if the selections for each years' round of national qualifiers and finals are dealt down to us like papal dictates for which we should be grateful, not question and certainly have no recourse for complaint ... except on forums such as this.
  16. bobajob

    bobajob New Member

    Paul Hindmarsh is the only member of the Panel who has given verbal or written feedback to compositions I have submitted for consideration as test-pieces. His criticisms are constructive and his attitude really encouraging.
    However...One member of the current Panel said (a few years ago) ... oh yes I think I've still got the tape... but can you send another copy of the score?... I've mislaid it! and was generally unhelpful and discouraging!
    Have any other composers had dealings with 'the Panel'?

Share This Page