Trumpets of the Angels

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by The Cornet King, Feb 13, 2004.

  1. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Hello all,

    Having just read BreadofHeavens poll for everyone's top 10 test pieces got me thinking about The Trumpets of the Angels by Edward Gregson. Its been one of my favourite pieces for ages not least because it uses full Brass Band, 6 Trumpets and an Organ.

    Anyone else a fan of the piece?? Or heard the recording by Eikanger with Martin Winter as lead trumpet...simply breathtaking... :D
    Also Under English regulations this piece can never be chosen as a test piece (because of the Trumpets and Organ), whereas in the Norwegian championships they can. Anyone else think its a shame we'll never get to hear it in a contest...

    Your views good people... :D :D
  2. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    I've heard it *waves arm* :lol:
    I have to say I probably haven't listened to it all the way through, it's quite long isn't it? About 17 mins? But i've heard Martin Winter and he's amazing!
    It's on the Now that's what I call Brass CD that I won in the Dec. comp! :D
    Shall listen to it through later :wink:
  3. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Longer! :D Its just over 20mins long, same length as Concerto Grosso (Bourgeois). Probably too long for contesting anyway, but brilliant piece that deserves an outing somewhere! :D
  4. shedophone

    shedophone Member

    I havnt heard the piece- but i would like to, is it out on CD?
    It sounds fantastic, Edward dregson's pieces are usually great, and it sounds like a great mix of instruments.

    However, i would not like to see it on a contest stage.
    Put it in every concert ever heard, but not in a contest.

    For a start, it would be an adjudicators nightmare!

    Would the organ and trumpets be judged? It would be hard not to, but then the band would not get as many useful comments which would not help them as much.

    Every contest venue would have to have an organ just in case...

    If the said contest venue's organ was out of tune with the band then they would not be judged fairly due to the adjudicator's hands clamped over his ears....

    Ok maybe i've stopped being overly serious, but seriously, the brass band contest is to test the skills, stamina and (usually) musicality of a band. A piece such as Trumpets of Angels may be incredibly beautiful, and it should be kept in a concert hall where it can be enjoyed properly not looked upon critically.
  5. shedophone

    shedophone Member

    oops bad typo.... sorry Mr Gregson
  6. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    I think its a bigger shame that our top bands don't play this sort of music in their concerts and that there isn't a regular place for it in our broadcast media.

    Great music - irrespective of whether or not it is a 'test piece'.

  7. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Its on the Norwegian Championships 2003 CD (awesome recording!)
  8. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member


    I think the reason that top bands don't play this kind of thing is, is that it really is a bit too long, and also why it isn't used in contests. They'd be there until midnight! :? :D :roll: :wink: It's like Pictures at an Exhibiton, in my opinion it's just too long!
    I suppose bands could just do excerpts, argh, i don't know!
  9. Active Member

  10. alks

    alks Member

    Sadly, i'm not really impressed by 'Trumpets of the angels'. I was expecting it to be really good after reading the 4br review, but he really isnt playing anything technically hard. It seams to me its just a load of ramdom notes that anyone can play. Mind you his CD 'winters tale' is quite brilliant for the most part. Except the first piece (trumpet concerto) whcih sounds similar in style to 'trumpets of the angles' just a blurb of random notes. I would rate both pieces as reasonable. Although he does do a better job than i could!! Also how on earth does he play such an extreme last note on a flugal on ' a child is born'?? Does anyone know what note it is ?? Super C? or higher?.

  11. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    I love the piece. The CD is a permanent fixture in my car.

    It's just great music. Simple as.

    I would rather it not be used at contests 'cos you'd just get every band hacking it to bits.

    Will any band better the performance that's on the WOB CD. They'd have to go some. (IMHO).
  12. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    It's a fantastic piece, in fact my friend Tim Barber played one of the trumpet parts in the premiere! (ooh get me :) )

    It is good, though like has been said, I don't think it's a suitable contest piece. Very good piece though!

    I've never heard an organ play out of tune with a band. :p A band play out of tune with an organ yes, but not an organ with a band. Quite hard and time consuming it is to sit there in a concert tuning an organ to a band...(and boring too!)
  13. Mark Bousie

    Mark Bousie Member

    I believe Gregson has done, or offered to do, a condensed version (presumably without organ and with trumpets parts simply put onto cornet) for contest use. As yet, no contest organiser seems to have taken an interest in the piece, a shame! Speaking personally, I think its a great piece and would really stretch bands (especially the cornets, but what's wrong with that?!). I think Gregson has also said that he will probably not consider writing for band again until its used, a bit drastic, but you can understand him.

    Unfortunately, it seems that Gregson has been rather forgotten by the brass band world lately, surprising as he has also now got quite a reputation in the wider classical music world. It's a travesty that Of Men and Mountains has never been used at one of the big contests (I know it was used at the areas) as thats a terrific piece too. I find it strange that we seem to have composers that seem to be 'flavour of the moment' and some that are overlooked. We are not flushed with real quality works in our repertoire.

    As for the main solo trumpet part in The Trumpets of the Angels not being technically hard, I would disagree. To play such large interval leaps in extremes of register faultlessly in a contest I would think to be extremely taxing!
  14. Pete Meechan

    Pete Meechan Member

    As ever, Mark, I find you talkig sense in generous portions!

    I've been lucky enough to hear it on the few occasions that it has been performed in the Uk, and it is a great piece.

    As for 'alks' - I think that a little more listening to music is requied if you think this is random note producing piece! If you Pm me, I could sugest some listening for you...Also, if the last trumpet part is so easy, why have the performances in the UK had players of the class of Martin Winter and Jamie Prophet on the part? Easy, I'm sure.


  15. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    Fortunately, Mr.Gregson has not forgotten the brass band world as it was his college that hosted the excellent RNCM Festival of Brass last month. I understand that the 2005 event has been cofirmed as going ahead.

    I was 'blown away' when I first heard 'Trumpets of the Angels'.
    However, it's no good listening to it on a CD Walkman even if you've splashed out £90 on a pair of (sensational) B&O earphones! You really need listen to it on a decent hi-fi system to fully appreciate it.
    I think the music has to be appreciated for what it is, a stunning piece of music.

    Hopefully, a band will include it in their programme for next years' RNCM Festival.
  16. alks

    alks Member

    Ok, ive listened through the piece 3 times this morning and its good -but not amazing. Its got a very Gothic fanfare appeal to it which gives a 'haunted house' feel-very atmospheric. There are some high notes in the piece but not that much beyond top C and remember its easier to play high on a trumpet than a cornet. A few of the passages sound quite tricky but they are quite brief. I like it, but it fails to 'blow me away'.

  17. cornetgirl

    cornetgirl Active Member

    So when do we start work on it then? I'll volunteer to play trumpet!

    Rach x
  18. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    But have we got enough Angels in the band to bring it off? Not so sure...

  19. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Well there are 6 Trumpet parts count me in and all!!! :lol: :lol:

  20. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member

    I played at the Premier in 2000 at the Bridgewater Hall with Martin Winter. I wasn't aware it had been played amywhere else in the UK. Who played it Pete and where?