Prague - love it or loathe it???

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by cornetgirl, Feb 22, 2003.


Prague - love it or loathe it???

  1. Love it

  2. Loathe it

  3. It's growing on me

  4. Hmm...can I get back to you on that?

  1. cornetgirl

    cornetgirl Active Member

    What do you reckon to good ol' Prague then as Areas loom?

    It's growing on me slowly, I actually reckon it's better to listen to than to play because you get more of an idea of the texture of the piece, so you never know, I may end up liking it!

    Rach x
  2. Boneman

    Boneman Member


    I would have to agree with you - It has grown on me. The first time I heard the CD I recoiled in horror! - however having played it I am now growing to, almost, like it.

    In terms of was this a good choice for the area then I think Yes. This is the first time I have been exposed to music of this kind and I would not have been had it not been selected for the area. I would imagine that this is the same for many players. If it had not been selected then we would not have been exposed to the style. At least now we can make a far more objective opinion of this music.

    Having said that I am looking forward to working on something else now!
  3. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Boneman worte:

    HOOTENANNY! here we come . . . !

  4. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    I'm a front-row-cornet-player at Yiewsley and West Drayton Brass Band , and we're only in the second section; so I've never heard it, BUT, if its anything like "Celestial Prospect", I'd go for "Growing on Me", because I loathed our piece, but listening and playing the bloody hard 5th movement(!) Its growing on me!! :lol: :eek:
  5. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    I actually quite like the piece now.. (braces for certain abuse)
    We've been working on it almost 2 wks and, although I admit my first impressions weren't exactley fantastic, it has grown on me quite a bit... just the same as other controversial pieces such as Atlantic, and Maunsell Forts (although the latter didnt grow on me one bit!)
    Prague is a very descriptive piece, and ms bingham is obviously very intelligent and knows what shes doing! To the matter of whether it is a good choice as test piece... I think it depends on who you are trying to benefit.. from a playing/conducting point of view, I think it is an excellent choice, broadening the horizons of many players, who otherwise would not have had the chance to play a work outside of the usual test-piece stereotype. But as an audience piece, I don't believe its a good choice at all. The banding movement survives on its audiences, and they do not come to hear modern and contempory music, (they could go to a professional orchestral concert for much less hassle) we survive by playing popular music that people want to hear, and pieces like this just scare our audiences off.. I believe that we will see what happened at the open, where people came to hear the piece for the 1st few bands and then simply did not return for any others, barring the "big name" bands.
    All that said and done.. i quite like the piece :wink:
  6. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Sounding really DUMB, can I ask, Aidan (aka nadia in spare time :lol:) are you from the Besses o' the Barn, coz I never realise that all of the championship players actually LOGGED in to here!
  7. dgibbons

    dgibbons New Member

    Prague is the sort of piece you just think is a wall of noise on first listening and as a result I know that a lot of people are telling friends/family/supporters not to bother paying to get in and listen = empty hall and full bar

    The other problem is that it's so boring to rehearse, most people seem to have great periodsof inactivity - despite the usual every night rehearsal at the moment I'm more out of practice than usual and that's saying something!

    Anyway, this time next week it'll be all over for us Yorks contestors so it'll be nice to play something with a tune.......
  8. Boneman

    Boneman Member


    We did a concert on Friday - first half ended with Prague, second half with Hootenanny - We played Prague a lot better than we played Hootenanny (normal tired lips and lack of control!) - Needless to say the audience loved . . . Hootenanny - If we put as much effort into Hootenanny as we have put into Prague, then just imagine the audience reponse!!!
  9. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member


    Although I am someone who is pro contemporary music and to some extent love Prague as a piece I do find the rehearsals longer than normal. This is not a reflection on the band or conductor but as stated in one of the earlier letters the periods of inactivity do take a toll. One interesting comparison I kept thinking about whilst in rehearsal on the piece was, that orchestral brass players have these periods in most pieces they play so why are we moaning about it. Do we hear orchestral players moan and moan about it. I think the fact that we as banding players get in the habit with all the repertoire we play, that we have to play 85 to 90% of the time. Why ? I agree that you have to gain some satisfaction from playing, but does that mean playing all the time ? Surely a player must go to a band rehearsal to listen to other players and the music and not simply to themselves!!
    As a composition this piece is well constructed and although there are some mistakes in both in the score and parts it is a very intelligent piece of music. The figures in the last movement have been taken from those in the first or earlier movements. The fact that there isnt one instrument playing a TUNE or MELODY in a phrase and it's split between numerous instruments does not mean that there isn't a melody.
    This leads me onto the audience!! They turn up to a contest to be entertained ? Isn't that like asking a football supporter to go to watch the same match 20 times knowing the result is a draw, knowing the scorers and knowing who gets sent off at what exact moment in the game. Surely an audience wanting to be entertained can go to band concerts which churn out the same old cheese! A competition is between bands, the call for a composer to please a whole audience in this day and age is surely a pointless excersise! The pleasing of audiences, yep, okay, I want someone there to listen to us play but then I don't want to turn up to a contest and play old test pieces or pieces which are "THE SAME OLD" pieces with loads of tunes in it!! Every other music moves on! We drag our heels over the littlest things i.e. who cheats by playing bizzare mutes at contests ? POINTLESS! How about exploring why we think playing older styled pieces will save banding in the future ? My God, I bet a statistical analysis of banding audiences in contests will show that attendence at contests with disliked test pieces will be down. BUT the general audiences are going to go down never mind the piece. In an age where everyone wants variety in their entertainment why come to a contest with 12 to 21 bands playing the same piece. In my opinion most people love contests because it gives them the ideal opportunity to be armchair adjudicators rather than musical listeners ? Yesterday a friend of mine told me an interesting story. He started by saying that two people turned up to his bands rehearsal wanting to listen to the piece because they wanted to know what the piece was like as to decide whether to go to the contest on sunday or not. The band gave them each a score and invited them in to listen. At the end of the rehearsal my friend went to talk to these people and asked them whether they had decided whether they would go to the contest or not having heard the piece. They said "We heard so many bad quotes and comments about the piece that originally we werent going to go. But now we have heard the piece we think it's quite nice and not as bad as what many people have said". I think this is usually the case with any controversial test piece. Many of the people criticising these sorts of pieces often don't take the time to listen to the piece outside the context of the bandroom. When I merely played my part I was dissapointed at how disjointed it was, HOWEVER when I subsequently listened to the recording I understood the piece much better. All this really adds up to the fact that some players and the audience do not want too much to think about when going to the contest. The players want to play their own parts well and win, whilst the audiences many of whom do not take the time to listen to the test pieces turn up a contest and immediately take a dislike to the piece. DOES NOT A PERSON CHECK WHAT A FILM IS ABOUT BEFORE GOING TO SEE IT ?
    The time when audiences were given a nice story to make the piece meaningful are over. there are new pieces which are still programmatic but surely you wouldn't ask Picasso or an impressionist to explain their music because as the name suggests the piece of art work is left to the interpretation of the viewer or listener and not structured in such a way that everyone in the audience thinks it's a story about Joe Bloggs trip to Australia in a pedal boat!
    Audiences attending a contest should know the music before going to make up their own minds. I have personally come accross a few people who have gone out and bought the CD and are listening to it every day trying to understand it. I only wish that 99% of the audience followed this example.

    Richard Jones

    Brighouse and Rastrick
  10. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I should like to go along with what Midwalesman has said regarding the need to explore a variety of styles. I was impressed by Prague when I first heard it in the original broadcast a year or so back. Here we have a composer from the main-stream musical world getting involved in the brass band scene, and receiving criticism, often from people who have not heard the piece, and have no intention of doing so.

    Whilst I can appreciate what some people have said regarding rehearsals, where they have been sitting around with little to do, as a BBb bass player that is not an unusual experience for me! Music does not have to be so full of notes that the page turns black in order for it to be challenging to play. Many is the time I have felt great satisfaction musically from a very simple and serene passage, that just adds the finishing touch to what the rest of the band is doing.

    I also feel that we can be too apprehensive regarding the reaction of, if you excuse the term, the casual listener. Friends of mine, a married couple, are relatively recent converts to the world of brass bands. It has been interesting to note their reactions, and they have often responded most to the more challenging repertoire, rather than the somewhat superficial pyrotechnics that only really mean something to those who appreciate the level of difficulty because they play themselves.

    Unfortunately, I shall be unable to attend my Area contest as the top section is on a Sunday which clashes with my Salvation Army commitments. I only hope that those who are there are willing to give it their best, whether as players or listeners.
  11. robbie

    robbie Member

    I've just come back from listening to Dyke reherse Prague at the Royal Northern. I was unsure about it at first, but after a couple of hours listening to it and following it through on a score it really is growing on me. Dont think I'll spend 2 much time in Blackpool listening to the championship section....the bar is much more of a better offer :wink:
  12. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    yes, haha
    theres loads of championship players on here.. hence why all the prague discussions came sprouting up!
  13. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Up until yesterday I have only ever heard Prague on CD and I have struggled to enjoy and understand the music, but after reading the synopsis in the score and listening to the 'Live' performances at the Midlands Area yesterday I can now fully appreciate this fantastic piece of music.

    The bands I heard were brilliant, and really brought this music to life, something the CD dosen't manage to do.

    So for me . . . I love it.

  14. Heather

    Heather Member

    I've never heard the piece at all but am definately going to liasten to a few at Blackpool on Sunday.
    What were the audiences like at the weekend for Prague?
    Maybe all the hype, good or bad, will entice more people into the hall to listen.
  15. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Bet u love that joke :p!

    Cool, to be honest I thought you lived in some cavern all together where no-one could reach you - you'll like pro's!!!
  16. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    I've only heard the first 3 mins on CD because my mum can't stand it - she hates it - so I can't hear the rest :cry:, and the championship section is after the 2nd and I live a long way from Stevenage (where its being held) Poor Me! :p
  17. Bagpuss_007

    Bagpuss_007 New Member

    I really like Prague, its really good - yesterday, after WEM BAND came 4th - YEY!! The percussion did rather well if i do say so my self!:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
    Any how - i pestered Mom & Dad to take me to listen to Prague again - I think its amazing - and i love the sop in it - sounds really good :wink: :wink:
    Well done dad & the rest of wem - ya'al did brill
    Love ya all
    Bexc.x :p
  18. BoozyBTrom

    BoozyBTrom Member

    I actually have to say that it has grown on me now and I dont dispise the peice any more.

    not sure if it should have been used as a test peice.

    We have had a blow through Chivalry the test for the masters. Not a classic but such a nice change after prauge
  19. asteria

    asteria Member


    I must admit, after listening to Prague at the yorkshire areas this weekend, i am quite enjoying playing it! Knowing what the piece sounds like as a whole makes it much more interesting.

    I still think it's not a particularly good choice for the areas and i'd like a more interesting part, but it's a considerable improvement since the first time i played it! :)

    Although not full St George's hall was by no means empty on sunday. I heard some people saying they'd come along to find out what all the controversy was about and they decided it was much better than the Open test piece. The fact that it is not too long too listen to certainly kept my interest going too (unlike the 18 minute Whitsun Wakes last year)!

  20. groovy

    groovy Active Member

    I have only heard it, (thankfully have never had to try and battle through it and hope I never will :D ) but I loved what I heard today at the Scottish champs.

    Esp. enjoyed the trombone solos and the wee euph solo in the middle there.

    Had a bit of a headache after hearing it a few times!!!!! :wink:

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