Ray Steadman Allen

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Anno Draconis, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Here's a question for all you music spods on tMP.....

    Why don't contesting bands like Ray Steadman Allen's music?

    He's written some cracking stuff over the years, and almost without exception it gets one contest outing and disappears into the back of the library. The most obvious example is Seascapes, which was used at the 1988(?) Nationals and never again, despite being a great piece. However the one that really vexes me is Chorale, which is variations on "Es Ist ein Ros Entsprungen" (better known to some as the Christmas carol "A Great and Mighty Wonder") - used as the 1st section piece in 1991, to my knowledge it has never reappeared, and yet it's a a really good piece. He knows his way round a band score, as evidenced by his excellent treatise on brass band scoring, to my knowledge he is almost universally respected by musicians, and yet we don't seem to like him!

    Any ideas? Or any other sadly neglected composers that are due for a revival?
  2. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    Chorley, Lancs
    His salvation army stuff is fantastic too - check out the Holy War.
  3. postie

    postie Member

    Talking about Ray Steadman Allen I noticed at the RNCM festival of brass in January they are doing a tribute to him to celebrate his 85th birthday next year.
  4. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    New York City
    Well, we at Freckleton used Hymn at Sunrise at the Scottish Open - an amazing piece!
  5. BbBill

    BbBill Supporting Member

    In the back o' beyond
    I think some of his Hymn tune arrangements are little crackers too! We've always done really well with his arrangement of St Magnus at contests.

    It would be good if the Areas/Finals could have his contest music featured for some of the sections, if that was possible!!!
  6. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    Preston, UK
    Yep, but we got slated for playing it! Neither adjudicator liked it unfortunately. I love Seascapes, and Beacons was one of my first contest pieces. The march "Freckleton" was also a commission from him.
  7. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    Birmingham, West Midlands
    Sinfonietta is fantastic.
  8. JR

    JR Member

    I think the answer is that his output is something of a mixed bag - I agree The Lord is King and The Holy War would make very good test pieces but for which section? or contest? - certainly both are better pieces than, say, On Alderley Edge but are they as difficult?
    And has anyone asked RSA if these would be acceptable as tests when they were never intended as such?
    I enjoyed Seascapes but The Beacons was a disappointment and would not be difficult enough for top section anymore (nor was it in 1990)
    Hymn at Sunrise wasnt a big enough test at Cambridge about 10 yrs ago and meanders about too much for me
    Stantonbury Festival was excellent for the 4th section but The Journeymen wasnt
    ..so a mixed bag for me

    John R
  9. Griffis

    Griffis Member

    If anyone loves his work and really wants a CD of some of his best stuff, then look no further than "Alpha & Omega" by YBS band!

    It's a cracker of a CD with some really good playing on it (especially from the 2nd man down ;))
  10. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    Chorley, Lancs
    I was forced to ban myself from listening to RSA's music whilst in hospital, because I couldn't get to sleep after listening to it! It just goes off in unexpected directions constantly. Is this why bands don't use it, because it's too difficult to make sense of?
  11. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Didn't stop some bands making very heavy weather of it though!

    I agree with a lot fo the statements so far. Seascapes must be one of my all time favourites. It seems that some composers go in and out of fashion. Philip Wilby need only get his manuscript paper out of the drawer and bands are clamouring to play his music, irrespective of it's true worth. Sadly, as with so many composers/artists/performers etc., perhaps RS-A's work will be appreciated only after he takes up his baton in the holy bandroom.

    Same can be said for Eric Ball, I think. Although he was a huge figure in the banding world, his music had gone out of fashion during the 1980's and only had a resurgence (or is that Resurgam?) after his passing.
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