The Frogs of Aristophanes

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by ISBBBb2, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. ISBBBb2

    ISBBBb2 Member

    Butlins 2nd section test piece 2012. What do we feel about this fellow 2nd sectioners!?

    Has it been a challenge enough? Is the only challenge keeping percussion awake long enough to finish the piece?

  2. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Funny how perceptions of pieces vary over the years..

    As yet, BBR only has it recorded being used in the top section (on various occasions) up to 1995, when it was used for the 1st section finals. There follows a break until Leicester a couple of months ago, when a couple of bands ran it out in preparation for this contest. Neither band achieved the result at Leicester that one would have expected of them.

    Are bands in the middle sections of better quality now than they were in 1995? My ears don't think so.

    Has this piece been overrated in the past? I think that's possible. I do recall something of a general sentiment at the time that the piece was not challenging enough for the 1st section finals.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Presumably the bands that finish in the bottom half of the results table will have found it challenging enough ...
  4. ISBBBb2

    ISBBBb2 Member

    Ha good point! Perhaps I should have saved this post til after the contest!!
  5. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I just like it because I find it interesting to listen to, though I seem to recall through the dim mists of time some nasty double sharps in the bass part around the last 20 bars !
    There is a magnificent recording of it by Manchester CWS on a Fontana vinyl recording circa 1959.

    - Mr Wilx
  6. ISBBBb2

    ISBBBb2 Member

    I havent been able to get hold of that (not for want of trying!) although I have heard the Grimey (Parkes) and Dyke (Watson) recordings. Two completely different interpretations which made for interesting listening!
  7. jezza23361

    jezza23361 Member

    I think that this piece will be poorly played by most bands - rhythmically very hard to nail - especially for basses. There are also dozens of mistakes in the parts and score with fistfulls of wrong notes and dynamics missed out or misplaced. This is very disappointing considering it has been published for many years and was bought new in October. In the very awkward sharp keys with many accidentals it will be a minefield of bad tuning and poor ensemble. The two recordings by Grimethorpe and Dyke are not brilliant - one of them very unstable rhythmically in places the other harsh and overblown at times.

    Under-estimate it at your peril is my view

  8. Statto

    Statto Member

    I haven't heard either of them but some might be interested to note that 'The Frogs' has also been recorded by Eikanger under Howard Snell (Kings Messenger, Doyen CD047) and Cory under Bob Childs (Brass Band Classics Vol 4, Doyen CD201).

    As a 2nd section piece, best of luck!
  9. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    And also by the Salford University Brass Band on their Granville Bantock CD, which is excellent. And also by the Stanshawe Band on an old World of Brass LP, if you still have the wherewithal to play gramophone records....
  10. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Very true and said ;
    I heard a band at the West Midlands Contest play this in 3rd section the above quote comes to mind very much so with the performance given.
    It will prove to be a good test for 2nd section bands.
  11. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

  12. Coverhead

    Coverhead Member

    Being the brass band anorak that I am, I have 5 recordings of 'Frogs': Black Dyke (Watson), Grimethorpe (Parkes), Eikanger (Snell), CWS Manchester (Mortimer), Stanshawe (Hargreaves). Each performance is amazingly different in the way it is approached!
    I also possess a recording of Bantock himself conducting the original orchestral version (in 1945). IMO the band that gets closest to the composer's own interpretation is CWS.

    On a personal note, I think there's an awful lot of music to be found in it... and I'll stick my neck out and say that many 2nd section bands will struggle.

    Great piece though!
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I actually have an old orchestral recording of the Frogs conducted by the composer ... It's faster than any band recording but I can't rely on it being accurate because I don't have the original media for it.
  14. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member

    My favourite is the Stanshawe recording -great bass playing and, I think, Mr Baglin on solo euph.
  15. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I have to admit it IS one of my favourite pieces, but whereas the bass part is very interesting, it contains some very awkward fingering. (Well I found it awkward anyway !). I think I rewrote some of the worst bits into more recognisable notation.

    - Mr Wilx
  16. ISBBBb2

    ISBBBb2 Member

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  17. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

  18. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I know your question was meant for Perksie Dave, but it may be of interest to the "brassbandresults" site that I played it when it was the set piece for the top section of the Northern Area qualifying Contest of the very first W.D.& H.O.Wills contest in 1969/70.
    It was held in Preston, and only three bands entered. Imps won it. The other two bands were Haydock and Edge Hill British Railways. I don't recall the 2/3rd placings.

    - Mr Wilx
  19. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Thanks Fran, but we already have that one. Ian mentioned that a band had also played it at the West Midlands contest - I don't think that can have been Chalgrove. It's easily checked though - we are borrowing one of their players for Butlins!

    How confident are you about dates and the bands entered? There is definitely something weird-looking with the BBR Wills championships records as they stand - one is recorded in Manchester in 1971 (no day or month given) with Imps winning and Ever Ready 2nd, on the Frogs, but we also have Western, Southern and Midlands area results for 1969/70 (West in Nov 69, the others in Jan 70) with the Frogs listed as the test piece. Did they really use the same test piece two years running?

    If you have more details, send me an email to avoid distracting the thread - Thanks!
  20. mjwarman

    mjwarman Member

    Save you the hassle of Checking with Steve, it wasn't Chalgrove that played it, we didn't do the West Midlands Contest.....A very quick of detective work and comparrisons between the WM contest and the bands that are playing at Butlins might give you the answer if Mr Perks doesn't remember?