Trumpet Blues and Cantabile

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Dave Payn, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Having purchased another brass band recording which contains this track and as a keen Harry James fan, (note: not an 'expert', just a fan!) I've always been puzzled as to why so many bands take this at comparatively breakneck speed when the original Harry James recordings are nothing of the sort. Fairey's, on their album, Skyliner, is the only recording which for me, comes close in, in my humble opinion, tempo and style. (a quick 'blues 4' rather than an almost march tempo 2 as I've heard on other recordings) Any other views on this?

    I can think of a similar analogy with Widor's famous Toccata from his Symphony no. 5. Having heard so may 'wham bam, thank you ma'am' performances from great organists, I then heard a recording of Charles-Marie Widor playing it himself at a much slower speed and the amount of detail I'd heard which hadn't come to me before was amazing - even in a transfer of an old recording (Widor died in 1937). It could have been, of course, that Widor wan't capable of playing it so fast, but I doubt it, really!

    Don't wish to sound like a know-all, I'm nothing of the sort. Just an honest opinion. Comments welcome.

  2. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    I have heard that Widor wrote his famous toccata originally as an exercise, due to the fact that he 6 fingers. Whether this is true or not, I have no idea, but it does make an interesting note for programmes.

    Edit: duplicate post deleted. (Dyl)
  3. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    And talking of Widor's 5th Organ Symphony, has anyone else heard the English Brass Ensemble's multi-tracked recording of the whole symphony? (complete with the organist John Scott playing a few chords in the final toccata whilst the brass whizz about!). Pretty amazing stuff (for me, anyway)
  4. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    As with all brass bands trying to play jazz... if we play fast enough noone will notice we can't swing!!!
  5. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I would agree about the English Brass Ensemble's Widor - certainly spectacular! I've been fortunate to hear them live two or three times, including one fantastic performance of the Bach B minor Toccata and Fugue - James Gourlay was phenomenal. It's a pity they don't do more as a group.

    On the wider question of tempi, sometimes it is wrong to think that increasing the speed makes for a more impressive showcase, as you can lose more than you gain. One of the reasons Joseph Horowitz revised his euphonium concerto was to try to deter players from taking it too fast - too much pyrotechnical display and not enough lyricism and musicality.
  6. Midnight

    Midnight New Member

    Harry James did play the piece slow in the 1940's but by the 1970's when he had a different band it was much quicker ...
  7. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Indeed, but I personally think it sounds better and a bit more 'blues'y slower. (Probably because I wouldn't have a cat in hell's chance of playing any of the parts faster! :D )
  8. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    Another one that's often taken too fast is Lil' Darlin, Neal Hefti - the metronome mark on the score is way above the tempo it's taken on The Atomic Mr Basie - makes it easier but not authentic!
  9. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    must agree, it's bloody hard to do li'l darlin' at the right tempo!
  10. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    L'il Darlin' taken too fast is one of my pet hates also!
    Mind you, it is possible to take it so slow, it sounds like a durge! :cry:
  11. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    Ey up Dave! Long time no speak!

    ComputerBloke AKA Ralph Little.
    We must have a jar when I get down next!!!!!!

  12. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Ey up Dave! Long time no speak!

    ComputerBloke AKA Ralph Little.
    We must have a jar when I get down next!!!!!!


    Gawd blimey, guv! If it ain't little Ralph....erm, I mean, Ralph Little :)

    Nice to hear from you. How's things? Suggestion of jars gratefully accepted! (hic!)