Results: Swiss National Championships 2007

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by Jan H, Nov 25, 2007.

  1. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    Championship division
    'Landscape' by Bertrand Morren
    Strawinsky hall, Montreux

    1. Brass Band Fribourg
    2. Brass Band 13 Etoiles
    3. Ensemble de Cuivres Valaisan
    4. Brass Band Berner Oberland
    5. Brass Band Bürgermusik Luzern
    6. Ensemble de Cuivres Mélodia
    7. Oberaargauer Brass Band
    8. Musikgesellschaft Risch-Rotkreuz
    9. Ensemble de Cuivres Jurassien

  2. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    so that a bit of an upset then?
  3. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Full results on 4BR here.

    Pat: Fribourg's win is their 3rd in 6 years so it's not really a shock, and they certainly played superbly, although I think a lot of Treize Etoiles supporters thought that their own choice performance was enough to win it.

    I was lucky enough to be at the contest at the weekend because I wrote the 3rd section test-piece, and I have to say I was very impressed with the format and organisation of the contest. It compared very favourably with our recent Nationals at Harrogate, and I'll take a few minutes to elaborate why.

    First, the venue. The hall in Montreux is superb, on the shore of Lake Geneva. There are two halls, the main Stravinsky Auditorium and the slightly smaller Miles Davis Hall - both seem superb for both playing and listening, with warm and responsive accoustics that nonetheless allow all the detail to be heard. There is a massive foyer area, with (what looked like) a temporary bar also selling coffee and sandwishes, masses of room for trade stands, programme sellers and a cloakroom. It may be purely coincidence, but the Montreux Xmas Market started on Saturday providing plenty more food/drink options. Montreux itself is a very attractive town with a lot of suitable hotels.

    Second, the format of the contest. All the 4 lower sections are fitted in on Saturday across the two halls, with one results ceremony at the end. There is then a (very well attended) Gala Concert on the Saturday night. The top section bands play a test-piece contest on Sunday morning and own choice in the afternoon. This means that there is a town full of band fans around on Sunday to listen to the top section contest, and it was packed - certainly by the end it was quite hard to get a seat.

    Third, the organisation - well this is Switzerland! Once the draw is made the estimated time that each band will be on stage is given, publicised to the audience with the draw, and is generally totally accurate. As well as the Gala Concert on Saturday, there was a jazz band in the bar on Saturday night and a concert by a number of Swiss solo champions before the results on Sunday. When I was leaving on Monday morning I noticed one of the local papers had extensive coverage of the contest - so not only had the organisers managed to get reporters and photographers there but they'd convinced them to put a full front page article in the paper about it. Also there was a panel of six adjudicators from whom 3 were chosen for each section, so they were worked hard and the association got value for money plus the bands got the benefit of 3 judges in every section.

    Fourth (and I admit to some bias here) the test-pieces. Four of the five sections had test-pieces from the SBBA's recent composition competition and with the exception of Bertrand Moren, they were by relatively unknown composers. As far as I could tell, all the pieces met with approval from the bands and audiences - yet what are the chances of a major British contest taking such a chance? In addition two of Sunday's own choice pieces were (as far as I know) new. So, a feast of new and interesting brass music. I wonder if it's a coincidence that many of the lower section bands were either youth bands or had a lot of young players.

    Fifth, and possibly most importantly, the attitude of the bands themselves, especially the lower sections. It was noticeable that a lot of bands came into the hall to listen to their competitors and - astonishingly when you come from a British banding background - cheer them on! They stayed in the hall, supported the Gala Concert, went to the "side events" like the jazz band and came to the top section contest to vocally support the top section bands - whose standard was at times, breathtaking, by the way.

    Sixth, sponsorship. The list of sponsors was breathtaking and included De Beers (the diamond people). I don't know how they do this, but we in the UK could and should learn!

    I have a theory about why the SBBA's contest is such a good one, and it's this - in common with most other continental countries they have one association in total charge. So there is one committee, elected by the member bands, which chooses venue, test-pieces and format, arranges the side events, recruits sponsors, arranges press coverage - everything. If it's rubbish, the bands can simply elect a new group of people to take charge. In the UK, if we're not happy with the Nationals, the only option we have is not to go - we have no power to change anything.

    So, well done to the SBBA on a great weekend's banding. There's loads we can learn from the way they do things; just a shame that I didn't see anyone from the UK Nationals organisation there - did anyone go? I'd love to know.