Regressive Butlins Choices ... ?

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by GJG, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

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    I’m very pleased to hear that. What I’m picking up from the conversation is negativity, or rather more negativity for what Brass can offer than is warranted. We do need to recognise our limitations, but also we need to celebrate the things that we do well and even the things that we only do adequately. Bands (Brass or Wind) offer, to my mind, different things than Orchestras; as I see it Bands offer many relatively short pieces of music in variety to their audiences whilst Orchestras concentrate on one long and large piece. Let’s enjoy the difference and concentrate on making what we offer to our audiences something that delights and inspires them. In some cases we won’t be able to offer an even remotely close sound to that of an Orchestra but can we capture something of the piece to entertain our audience with? I believe that usually we can, given a good arrangement.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  2. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

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    I think perhaps things are in danger of being read in that haven't been either written or meant! You can take it for granted that we all care about and enjoy playing in brass bands a great deal. After all, we are here... You might be surprised to learn that within the brass band subfolder of my Sibelius scores directory at home, there are a number of home-made transcriptions from the orchestral repertoire, given what you seem to be hearing in my words? I care that we do these things well, and that's my motivation here.

    Arranging from orchestral score for band is a tricky business to make work well, as discussed above. It's much easier to work successfully from scores for groups that don't have such a wide colour palette - e.g. organ works.
     
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  3. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

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    A quick reply as I’m taking a rest break between gardening chores.

    My comments above certainly aren’t intended to be focussed at any individual so, David, please be assured of my positivity towards you and recognition of your outstanding knowledge and skills. They are just ‘this is how I see it’ comments, and of course I know that at times what I see isn’t necessarily the complete picture.

    Orchestras are mentioned and, of course, we associate Clasical Music with them. However much classical work is also written for Piano, Organ and even the humble Recorder so there are plenty of potential pieces to adapt. Classical music was also written for ‘Trombones’, this piece comes to mind but I’m sure that there are many other and better examples, Purcell, Queen Mary Death :

     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

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    Many scholars reckon it was a violin piece that Bach expanded.
     
  5. David Broad

    David Broad Member

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    I am quite pleased that Butlins are going for arrangements of classical pieces. We have many many talented arrangers in the Brass Band world (and a fair few with no talent what so ever) and some like me somewhere in the middle, but few who can progress to compositions which can excite an audience.
    I would love to have a test piece based on Abba hits. The Sop parts and Bass parts would really stretch a band, ( guess what I was doodling with last evening). I am sorry but I have never knowingly heard a test piece I would want to listen to, I press next on the CD player when one starts. Most are like descriptive film music. Great as a backdrop to Gary Crant battling with King Kong or views across t' moor int'Artbeat, but the sort of stuff that gets dreary stuff a bad name.... OK I stuff progams full of cliched stuff mainly culled from TV adverts but our audience like them, give them "A Nightingale Sang in Baerkley Square" and they are all reminiscing about outside Privvies, school milk and Ricketts.
    How about a fantasia on James Blunt themes? Or Mad Donna?
     
  6. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

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    "I am quite pleased that Butlins are going for arrangements of classical pieces. "

    you're obviously NOT a bass trombone player in the 2nd section then :)
     
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  7. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

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    Who'd want to be that? :p:p
     
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  8. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

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    I feel your pain. and what are all the Star Flugel players going to play? :(:(:(
     
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  9. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

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    :):):):):) Actually its my next challenge. Having been a top section cornet player, a 1st section Euphonium player I think its the next progression.....
     
  10. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

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    Hi All,
    I must say that I am disappointed with the Butlins choices for 2nd Section this year. Not because they are bad music (though I remain to be convinced about the Frogs) but because these arrangements are nearly as old as I am and they are, in part due to Moomin's thought about the sound of modern bands, dull-sounding and of limited technical challenge. I love the Brahms in both its orchestral and brass band forms. It was one of my first test pieces many years ago (too many) but really, this is the best they could come up with for Butlins? We've regrettably decided not to go this year. Although I tried to plug the Academic Festival, the majority of the band felt that it wasn't worth the effort and on reflection I agree with them. Neither piece challenges the whole band. Our Flugel player was likely to commit hara kiri through boredom, swiftly followed by our 2nd bone and 2nd baritone. Ah well, next year...
     
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  11. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

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    Interesting thread on the 4 Bars Rest Facebook page on a similar theme today. David Read commenting on Scheherezade and how he got to know the piece by initially playing it in brass bands.

    Whilst I acknowledge Moomin's comment on a number of crass arrangements, (Dr Denis Wright and Eric Ball did some decent ones) it also has to be said that there are likely to be hundreds of people out there who's first encounter with some of these works was via the brass band medium. And as a result of the contest in January that number is likely to grow - how many 3rd section tenor horn players have ever heard Egmont, for example (actually how many brass band players have listened to Egmont full stop.... Ive played it in Brass Band, Wind Band and Orchestra but I dont think there will be a huge number of people that have done the same). Whilst the assumption that the choices were by an aging panel of people hankering for the past (wont mention Brexit at this point.....ooops.....) is probably fair, Devils Advocate says that maybe they were inspired choices to get the movement to seek the actual "real" Orchestral versions and to get to know them
     
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  12. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

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    An interesting thing to note is that none of these transcriptions are really favourites of orchestral repertoire in the original. The Brahms probably gets the most outings of the list, but it's still been half a decade since I played it (and I have played in a lot of orchestra concerts - cut it back last year for energy reasons).

    The overture isn't really the strength of the orchestral repertoire - that would be the symphony, with a shout out for the concerto.
     
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  13. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

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    Agreed Dave, but still (generally) lovely pieces of music in their original form. I think the Orchestral world goes through cycles and I'm sure there will be a time when the Overture gets played out more than in recent times.
    My 11 year old lad is playing horn with us at Leicester and had only had 1 go at Egmont (in a local community band rehearsal) before starting with us. He hated it before starting contest rehearsals (called it "Rotten Egmont") but is now developing an appreciation both for the piece and also for Beethoven (much to his mother's delight).
    Whether the choices for Butlins this year are good or bad choices are open to debate, but ANYTHING which develops an interest in other musical genres, and in some of the "classical" composers can only be a good thing in my opinion
     
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  14. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

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    Egmont was played at the Munich Olympics Remembrance service following the Atrocities against Israel's wrestling team.
    Fabulous piece. Remembered for all the wrong reasons :(
     
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  15. Mello

    Mello Active Member

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    "Whilst the assumption that the choices were by an aging panel of people hankering for the past " ( Euph Lite)

    Please dont bombard me with similar comments after reading this. I just want to add a little to the debate.

    I used to play a bit myself and was lucky enough to work with some of the best Ball /Mortimer etc . from where these quotes came

    "Look after the little pieces & the big ones will look after themselves " AM used to spend hours on pieces such as Birthday Serenade /Poem to ensure EVERY note- from every player was consistently as played as musically as possible in every piece..
    He and my mentor used to say to me & the band....you can play the notes but not the music , and he was correct .

    When Lorenzo was selected for the Belle Vue Open Championship, comments were rife ( no test/ ancient stuff/ too easy etc. ) .
    Yet - as forecast by the masters ...."It will sort out them out" & "this will open them up" ....it certainly did .

    Mortimer regularly featured pieces such as Frogs , Zampa , Egmont , Academic/ Dutchman/Tannhauser/ .... always pre empting criticism in his introductions by saying
    "Its better to hear the works of the masters played by a Brass Band than not to hear them at all " ( and he was an ex Orchestral player .).

    NOW - TO MY OPINION ( for what its worth)
    In my opinion, a contest is just the same as any other test be it Driving , GCE. Maths The paper or questions are set ....the candidate cannot change them to suit . Its no good withdrawing, just buckle down and be the best you can be. To me the true benefit of contesting is improve the band to dig deep , give 100% to every note and the band WILL improve, 1st or last place .....the bands that work hard and dont dismiss the piece as unworthy WILL improve . Often preparing for a contest is a way of getting full rehearsals, , bonding through a common objective, and socially , travelling Billeting and even partying together . Placings being of secondary benefit - specially for the lower section bands

    You can put the contest piece in the bin if you like After the contest , and choose your own stuff in programmes & Own Choice events.
    BUT Beware, disregarding pieces as unworthy can be a very slippery slope.
     
  16. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

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    Wise words, thanks Mello.
     
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  17. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

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    Ditto.
     
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