Suite Gothique - Boellmann/Ball

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Dave Payn, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Just been listening to the organ version of this (for which it was originally written). It made me realise what an excellent arrangement the brass band version is, particularly Eric Ball's method of getting round what are in the original, some very nasty octave semi-quaver leaps in the final Toccata. Very cleverly scored throughout. Biased perhaps, because it's one of my all time favourite brass band pieces. Nope, musically not as 'challenging' as some of today's test pieces, but I love it, all the same!

    One thing puzzles me, though. In the band version, there's a demi-semiquaver (I think) just before the final chord of the last movement. There's no such note (or even a grace note) in the original (I have a copy of the organ part). Still, it's not a gripe, just puzzled.

    That's it, folks. I was just listening to it, and decided to share my thoughts with you! ;-)
  2. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    If that is the case (about the ending) it just goes to show what a creative arranger EB was. A TaTaaa! ending on organ would sound very naff, but the BB version would also sound weaker without it, I suggest. That's REAL arranging - ie making a brass band piece of it, rather than trying to imitate the original (Frank Wright please note!!!)
  3. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    exactly :)
    else it would just simply be a transcription... *yaaaawn* :lol:
  4. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I take your point, but some other organ toccatas do have the Ta-taaaa ending (I think) In any case, it wasn't intended as a criticism of EB's arrangement, merely an observation (not that I implied that was what you were saying)

    I think the end of Widor's Symphony no. 5 (the famous Toccata) has a Ta-Taaa and what I've heard some organists do is play the 'Ta' (i.e. the penultimate note - a semi, or demi-semi quaver - then a slight hiatus or 'mini-pause', followed by the final chord. When I've conducted Suite Gothique, I've adopted the same principle, not just for show but to give those in the band that need it a chance to snatch a quick breath before the final note!

    Take your point about Frank Wright. I could go on about some of his arrangements.... really, I could! Perhaps, in the interests of peace and harmony on this forum, I'll desist!
  5. cornetchap

    cornetchap Member

    Agree with you on this one Dave, goes down as one of my all time favourite brass band arrangements. Particularly love the repiano cornet part, wouldn't much care to attempt to play the solo cornet part, but that's just my inability :D
  6. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    p.s. Eric Ball's clever method of arranging the constant semiquaver passage in the final Toccata of SG is precisely (in my view) the creative arranging being spoken of. Very smartly done!

    Also, he's very creative in getting round the final bit. In the BB version, the cornets have ascending and descending semiquaver arpeggios. The organ version has semiquaver triplets at this point! Listen to the organ version and you'd barely notice the difference. That's how brilliant Eric Ball's arranging of this piece was!
  7. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    I'm with you there Philip!! :lol:
  8. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    I do love this piece, but for me, I rate an arrangement on whether I enjoy it and if it sounds good. It is right to keep the original spirit in mind when playing an arrangement, but at the end of the day, it's still an arrangement for brass band.
  9. Jo Elson

    Jo Elson Member

    I really like this arrangement too. I first heard it at Blackpool last year when Deiniolen(sp) played it very well. :)
  10. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Truly a great piece - one of my faves too. I remember playing it at a contest once and our soprano player was giving it so much welly at the end he keeled over when he stood up after the performance. :shock:

    Just as another aside, during ther rehersals for that contest, in the first movement we spotted that there's no silent pause or rest between the loud bars and the quiet bars. Everyone plays it with a gap between comments anyone? (BTW we went straight from loud to quiet - very effective but we still didn't win. Booo!) :wink:
  11. imthemaddude

    imthemaddude Active Member

    It was my first ever contest piece - played it at Blackpool 2001 with Ashington Colliery - cracking piece.
  12. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    Surely you mean Rhyl - the Blackpool of North Wales? ;)
  13. twigglet

    twigglet Member

    haha equally as classy! Played the tocatta with Deiniolen (at the Blackpool of north wales) and it was brilliant. The solo cornet part is so tiring but I like something that makes you concentrate really hard the whole time, particularly at the end when it breaks into arpeggios. Absolutely fantasic arrangement...
  14. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Yeah I agree it's boss!!! And a right good blast!!! The 2nd movement is lovely too but you can't beat the last one!
  15. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    I love the last movement because I get to stand right behind our basses for most of it - there's some tasty pedalling (no organ pun intended!) going on...

  16. Owen

    Owen Member

    My band played the Toccata in Bradford Cathedral for the enthroning of the Bishop of Bradford, at his special request. The only problem was that space only allowed for a 10 piece. We were in a small chapel behind the altar (sorry - there is probably a technical name for this spot which I don't know) which helped to amplify the sound fantastically.

    We managed to talk him out of his original choice of the last movement of the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony however...
  17. Di B

    Di B Member

    A slightly different tack on this one for you... my ex was a dance music DJ and he thought the fourth movement would be excellent as a hard dance music track! :shock:

    He heard me playing it with Newstead band, and though that if the piece was made via electronic instruments instead it would be great?!!

    I think the thought came from the bass melody..... blasting through speakers in a night club...... at ffff or louder to shake the whole building.

    Hate to admit it, but he might have been right... anyone up for a challenge???
  18. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    Toccata....Euphonium part.... b*****d

    Opening chorale is ace if you've got a big sounding band

    My first perfomance with Ellington band at blackpool a few years ago... we were second...YAY
  19. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    I really like that idea - think your ex might be onto something there - I'll have to give it a go!!


    (100 posts - hurrah!) :lol:
  20. Di B

    Di B Member

    If you do Dave, let me hear it! Always thought it was a good idea.. he just never did anything about it! :lol:

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