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Thread: Official National Finals Thread - Second Section

  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by yorkyboy
    I understand the adjudicators where pretty critical of most performances in particular Alan Fernie the composer stating that no one played the piece how he wished it to be performed.

    Im assuming then that he either had a meeting with all the conductors pre contest to infrom them of what he expected from the piece or that he wrote detailed notes within the score that could not be misintepreted - if not then why not.

    You cannot criticise a musical interpretation if you have not infromed people what you expect. Im sure some of the conductors in the second section on Saturday where very talented but none of them can be expected to be mind readers. Surely the time has come for adjuidcators to sit down with conductors 6 - 8 weeks before a contest to discuss the piece and how they expect it to be intepreted taking away this situation we keep finding ourselves in.
    Surely the score is the indication of what the composer expects. If the bands did not deliver what Alan wanted, then perhaps the score was not explicit enough?
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  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anglo Music Press
    Surely the score is the indication of what the composer expects. If the bands did not deliver what Alan wanted, then perhaps the score was not explicit enough?
    Perhaps the score was not explicit enough as it appears that no one intepreted it as he expected.

    Do you not think a meeting between adjudicators and conductors would reduce this problem and then take away the argument regarding intepretation?? It appears to be a regular argument at major contests and its one I feel that could be solved quite easily and provide a better standard of competition.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by yorkyboy
    Perhaps the score was not explicit enough as it appears that no one intepreted it as he expected.

    Do you not think a meeting between adjudicators and conductors would reduce this problem and then take away the argument regarding intepretation?? It appears to be a regular argument at major contests and its one I feel that could be solved quite easily and provide a better standard of competition.
    But surely interpretation is the perogative of the performers? As a composer, I always try to make my scores as self-explanitory as possible. But you can't write every nuance into a score. Anything you leave unsaid has to be 'interpreted' by the performer.

    However, there was a bit of a puzzle when Alan suggested most bands played the 2nd movement too slowly. In fact all the ones I heard played it (wisely) faster than marked
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  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anglo Music Press
    However, there was a bit of a puzzle when Alan suggested most bands played the 2nd movement too slowly. In fact all the ones I heard played it (wisely) faster than marked

    cogratulations to St Dennis who I know played really well
    I agree - ! and even more of a puzzle when he complained that nearly all the bands took the last movt too fast - it's marked crotchet = circa 152, most bands I heard were (again, wisely) at least 6 crotchets steadier. I tried to keep it at 138 - still too fast apparently.

    John R (Lockwood Brass)
    Last edited by JR; 25.09.2006 at 11:26.

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    Time to reply, I think.

    I have my metronome in front of me now, beeping away at 152, and I have to say that most of the bands Graham and I heard on Saturday were quite a bit above. I lost count of the amount of times I wrote "fast and frantic" on the remarks. To be fair, it sounded like a few conductors were trying to keep it in control, but all too often the red mist descended, especially at the Allegro before H.

    To be blunt, I wasn't sure what to expect on Saturday. I would've welcomed the opportunity to explain the music to the competitors, but no general invitation was forthcoming. What I was looking for, apart from the usual right notes,in tune etc., was something indefinable and special, something other than the notes played fast and loud ( there were virtually no fff's at the end, as most were already at ffff!), and, with the quality of bands on display on Saturday, I really was expecting that "special something". Perhaps it's not there - I don't know! There were also the couple of traps in the finale, which I thought were clearly notated, but there were some remarkable interpretations of them, particularly bars 69-77.

    Anyone who plays my stuff will realise that it's virtually never technically difficult, a fact that has been mentioned frequently about Gothic Dances on this thread. Perhaps a clue as to what I like in a brass band is there?

    Maybe, if there is a next time, I'll stay out of the box and listen, with interest. Thank you for your opinions, which I'll take on board and learn from, both as a composer, and an adjudicator.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Fernie
    Time to reply, I think.



    Maybe, if there is a next time, I'll stay out of the box and listen, with interest. Thank you for your opinions, which I'll take on board and learn from, both as a composer, and an adjudicator.
    What an excellent response from an adjudicator / composer here - a willingness to actively respond too and engage with those that have politely framed queries / comments about their placings / remarks .

    Makes a very refreshing contrast to some whose names I will not mention but they know who they are !

    It's this kind of openness that does so much to ease the "we was robbed" syndrome that can occur at times .

    Here's hoping that Mr Fernie gets an invite to adjudicate at a L&SC event soon !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Fernie
    There were also the couple of traps in the finale, which I thought were clearly notated, but there were some remarkable interpretations of them, particularly bars 69-77.
    Alan, it's great that you are prepared to get involved here. We had a great time preparing your piece and were reasonably pleased with our preparation, though our performance was a little nervy.

    I have thought long and hard as to whether I should send this post as it may sound like sour grapes. It's not, I hope, but more a frustration with the contesting process. As a composer, I always despair when conductors don't follow the markings in the score and I'm sure you're the same, and I'm always learning new ways to make my wishes crystal clear; but I think I can (seeing as you raise the issue) explain the above!! From the stage, you said this should be a gradual accelerando, but this is not what's in the score; the tempo goes from (from memory) 52-152 in the first 2 bars and 152 -182?? in the next two. We tried to do this, but it doesn't make a gradual accelerando!! Maybe that's why you heard some 'remarkable interpretations'

    I won't be contesting again as this was a most enjoyable 'one-off' for me, but I can understand how difficult it must be for some bands to know what they should be doing and not surpirsed about the calls for guidance before the contest, either from composer or adjudicator.

    But we really enjoyed working the piece up and it maintained the band's interest throughout. You are right, it's not easy and we were always finding more music in it. The 2nd movement is an absolute gem!

    Thaks again

    Philip
    Last edited by Anglo Music Press; 25.09.2006 at 15:12.
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  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Fernie
    Time to reply, I think.

    I have my metronome in front of me now, beeping away at 152, and I have to say that most of the bands Graham and I heard on Saturday were quite a bit above. I lost count of the amount of times I wrote "fast and frantic" on the remarks. To be fair, it sounded like a few conductors were trying to keep it in control, but all too often the red mist descended, especially at the Allegro before H.

    To be blunt, I wasn't sure what to expect on Saturday. I would've welcomed the opportunity to explain the music to the competitors, but no general invitation was forthcoming. What I was looking for, apart from the usual right notes,in tune etc., was something indefinable and special, something other than the notes played fast and loud ( there were virtually no fff's at the end, as most were already at ffff!), and, with the quality of bands on display on Saturday, I really was expecting that "special something". Perhaps it's not there - I don't know! There were also the couple of traps in the finale, which I thought were clearly notated, but there were some remarkable interpretations of them, particularly bars 69-77.

    Anyone who plays my stuff will realise that it's virtually never technically difficult, a fact that has been mentioned frequently about Gothic Dances on this thread. Perhaps a clue as to what I like in a brass band is there?

    Maybe, if there is a next time, I'll stay out of the box and listen, with interest. Thank you for your opinions, which I'll take on board and learn from, both as a composer, and an adjudicator.
    Hi Alan

    I think its great that you would have welcomed the opportunity to speak to the bands pre contest. I truly believe this would help the bands and adjudicators a great deal and enable performances of the standard that you were hoping for. Maybe as you say the quality is not there in the second section - Im not sure this is actually the case as I have heard some good stuff coming out of the second section. Possibly the pressure of the day took its tole on many of the performances.

    Its great to hear a response from a adjudicator and composer of the standard of yourself - lets hope more follow your lead.

  9. #84
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    [quote=yorkyboy]
    Maybe as you say the quality is not there in the second section - Im not sure this is actually the case as I have heard some good stuff coming out of the second section. [quote]

    I actually meant in the music, not the bands themselves. There were terrific bands on show in Harrogate - remember they all played "Images of the Millennium" to get there! I'd only hoped they'd all had been a bit cleverer than just merely blootering through it!

    ps - Sorry for saying "*******s" in my speech at the results!

  10. #85
    Alan, glad to see that both your feet are firmly stuck on the ground ... you have always been honest in your opinion throughout the years.

    How did Graeme O'Connor get on tallying with you in the box? Did you have to get in touch with him before to let him understand what your expectations of 'Gothic Dances' were? Or did you both independently assess and rate performance then compare after each band's effort?
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  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Fernie
    Time to reply, I think.

    I have my metronome in front of me now, beeping away at 152, and I have to say that most of the bands Graham and I heard on Saturday were quite a bit above. I lost count of the amount of times I wrote "fast and frantic" on the remarks. To be fair, it sounded like a few conductors were trying to keep it in control, but all too often the red mist descended, especially at the Allegro before H.

    To be blunt, I wasn't sure what to expect on Saturday. I would've welcomed the opportunity to explain the music to the competitors, but no general invitation was forthcoming. What I was looking for, apart from the usual right notes,in tune etc., was something indefinable and special, something other than the notes played fast and loud ( there were virtually no fff's at the end, as most were already at ffff!), and, with the quality of bands on display on Saturday, I really was expecting that "special something". Perhaps it's not there - I don't know! There were also the couple of traps in the finale, which I thought were clearly notated, but there were some remarkable interpretations of them, particularly bars 69-77.

    Anyone who plays my stuff will realise that it's virtually never technically difficult, a fact that has been mentioned frequently about Gothic Dances on this thread. Perhaps a clue as to what I like in a brass band is there?

    Maybe, if there is a next time, I'll stay out of the box and listen, with interest. Thank you for your opinions, which I'll take on board and learn from, both as a composer, and an adjudicator.


    Thanks Alan - that seems fair enough
    I have to agree with Philip re the long accel though - we found the metro marks confusing too. I found it particularly difficult to get back to the right tempo following this passage! - most bands raced away from here
    I too liked the 2nd movt a lot - a killer in that hall!

    JR

  12. #87
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    The long accel also left us a little uncertain .. it did however remind me of Alan's arrangement of Ticket To Ride - so at least we played it with a smile!!
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  13. #88
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    I had a really good weekend!! Unfortunately we played far from our best on stage - no excuses, it just didn't happen! I thought that the remarks from the adjudicators were brilliant, and it was good to know that "fast and loud" wasn't what impressed this time! So no complaints, just a very memorable experience!

    Congratulations to St Dennis - yet another win to make Cornwall proud! I knew you could do it!

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