Proms 2005 - guess what's missing again...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by NeilW, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    ... any sign of brass bands, of course.

    Maybe we need to instigate a campagn of writing to their comments address / on their BBS to see if one can be programmed for 2006.

    Plus, of course, if one DOES get on the programme, "we" have to support it by going of course...

  2. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Where is the full listing?
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  4. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Looks like the Cleveland Orchestra will be here at the end of rate group!!
  5. lewis

    lewis Member

    Look at it from the BBC's point of view. They probably don't want a band that is going to play a program of marches and arrangements of show tunes, but at the same time (and I know I'm guilty if this as well) when the BBC have supported new music being written for brass bands we are all very vocal in saying it's rubbish and bad for the movement. When Grimethorpe played at the proms it was because they commissioned and were associated with the two Birtwhistle pieces.

    It would be brilliant to have a band at the proms but it might need something very new and innovative to get one there.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    lewis, that is a very good point. It is surprising how many 'learned' people still think that brass bands only play marches and hymns. Another misconception was experienced by Julie and myself a couple of weeks ago. A neighbour saw us with our instrument cases on a Sunday morning, and asked us if we were going to church!
  7. lewis

    lewis Member

    We did a 10 piece concert last week and quite a lot of the audience spoke to me afterwards about the variety in music we played. They had come to a brass concert still expecting marches and hymns.

    We do need to find away to promote our hobby to the masses and the prom would be a perfect way but unfortunately that opportunity isn't going to come about playing an arrangement of the sound of music :rolleyes:
  8. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Do you really mean that.. .do you really think the BBC expects that all bands play... "a prog of marches and show tunes"... sheesh... come on... they [the BBC] are just not brave enough to ask a band to play at the proms. There's a stack of music one could choose; new, original, recently comissioned, classical... but they contiinue to act in a hypocritical manner by running high(ish) profile brass player competitions when they want to show their "diversity", but then totally bottle it when high profile media or TV coverage is invloved.

    Come on BBC, get your act together....!!
  9. lewis

    lewis Member

    Not entirely ;-)

    But the other thing to think about is if they did put a brass band prom on how many would they really get in the audience. The jazz proms nearly stopped a few years ago because the hall was less than 75% full. I worked there for a couple of years and they are the sorts of figures the porms look at as an average over the season. I don't think you would even half fill the hall with a brass band concert.
  10. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Quite possibly I agree... it might be difficult to fill the RAH for a Brass Band only concert, but what about simply including one in a concert... one in which being representative of (1) the diversity and (2) the huge number of musicians invloved in brass music making...??

    This, in my opinion, is what the BBC doesn't seem to attempt to embrace.
  11. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    I see the major problem here as being one of repertoire. There are (in my opinion) almost no pieces written for brass bands that can hold their own against the great composers.
    Yes for diversity, but if the music isn't going to be great, it has no place in being in the Proms.

    The vast majority of serious brass band pieces are written for the contest stage, rather than for the public. I have called in a different thread for the composers who do write for brass band to stray away from 15 minute pieces designed to show off a band and take up the challenge of writing a true symphonic work.
    If a great composer was to write a serious, symphonic style piece for brass band, maybe it would catch on. You might find that the cloth cap and whippet, marches and hymns image would start to leave the view of the public.

    Until there is an established repertoire of top quality symphonic style concert pieces (I would consider the majority of contest music to be for contests only) written by composers who are well known and respected amongst the formal music establishment, I would suggest that the brass band movement will always be looked down upon by many in the public arena. This is not a good situation but the brass band movement really doesn't help itself in this matter.

    This is one person's opinion, if you disagree with some of the ideas suggested, that is your right, but don't flame me just because we happen to disagree
  12. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Another thing that could be at issue is whether any major orchestral composers (living) from the UK have actually been approached to write for band?
  13. lewis

    lewis Member

    I doubt it very much. The primary problem I see with that is where would the money from to pay for such a commission?
  14. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Mike, no-one is going to flame you for offering your opinion on here so no need to keep mentioning it.

    As for repertoire, yes, I do agree that perhaps a major symphonic work might help... but why should any major music written for band conform to the same format used for that of an orchestra? I don't believe we as a movement are trying to emulate what orchestras do. We are not orchestras, and any attempt to copy them would be folly. Musically, there are a massive range of génres and nothing sets the standard.. it is all subjective, different strokes for different folks.

    You play in a band yourself (or so I believe I have read somehwere on tMP) and so I will make a few assumptions here: (1) you must enjoy it as otherwise you wouldn't do it, and (2) you must be aware that there are many, many fantastic pieces that don't just attempt to show off a band, they present an opportunity for musicians to demonstrate exquisite musical expression, to show quality and class in their playing, and also more than adequately portray a fantastic range of colours, moods and tones - just as many of the classics do. I am certain that if banding was a profession, the standard would be comparable.
  15. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... is there even any evidence that some have any interest in writing for a brass band? It seems that any work from a major composer has resulted from people who have important cross-over links to the orchestral world. It might be fair to say that Elgar Howarth was the last of those eminaries and we all know what happened when the commissions were heard and his reaction!
  16. lewis

    lewis Member

    I'm sure if the money was available then there are many good composers around that would be happy to write for band. Turnage springs to mind immediately, his orchestral pieces always have great writing for the brass and he has written two concertos for Lindberg as well now.
  17. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    It actually doesn't seem to be a very good year for brass or woodwind of any description: only had a quick glance through the list of artists taking part, but I only spotted Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet) as soloist, and no brass chamber groups at all. As to the question of suitable repertoire, there are plenty of commissioned works out there which could fit in perfectly well - composers such as Paul Patterson, Thomas Wilson, Thea Musgrave, Judith Bingham etc have all featured with various genres of music over the years.
  18. Mark Bousie

    Mark Bousie Member

    I agree with earlier points about many people's reactions to attempts (and many of them very fine ones) to introduce more mainstream classical composers to writing for brass band. There are many examples unfortunately. You only have to look as recently to the reaction that Prague got (Judith Bingham is a highly regarded contempary composer) and a few years earler to Maunsell Forts (John McCabe). We are fortunate that composers of their like have composed for the medium, but whats in it for them if their works (which aren't really that far out at all) come in for so much stick?! Well, there are a few things like the money and numerous guaranteed quality performances of their work (at least over a short term), but if they're getting work elsewhere (and I presume its the the successful composers we'd be wanting to attract!) they don't really need it.

    On the plus side events like the RNCM Festival of Brass and the more forward looking approach of a lot of young players especially will help things gradually.

    I would love to see James Macmillan write for brass band (anyone got a spare few thousands of pounds going?!).
  19. lewis

    lewis Member

    Although those composers are all great and have had succes in their own right, I do think it would be fantastic for the movement if one of the top composers around could be commissioned. Elgar and Holst both wrote for brass bands and I've even heard of a couple of marches by Shostakovich, if Turnage, Berkley or Adams would write for a band it would be great.
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Nice seeing Thea Musgrave's name being mentioned. She wrote a work called 'Variations For Brass Band' (I think that's it's title!). I wonder if anyone can remember the last time it was performed in the UK? (I have one date and band I can recall)

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