National Finals Tests Revelealed
The Music Panel of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain has released the test-pieces of the 2008 ‘Finals’, Sections 1 – 4, which take place on 27 and 28 September at the Harrogate International Centre.
Section 1: The Saga of Haakon the Good by Philip Sparke, published by Anglo Music, distributed by De Haske.
Section 2: Rhapsodic Variations – My Strength, My Tower by Dean Goffin, adapted by Brian Bowen, published by SP&S Ltd.
Section 3: Suite for Brass by John Rutter, arranged by Sandy Smith, published by Obrasso-Verlag AG.
Section 4: The Shipbuilders Suite for Brass Band by Peter Yorke, published by Chappell, distributed by Studio Music London.
Seventy two bands will compete across the four Nationally graded sections for the nation’s top brass band titles and, announcing them on behalf of the Music Panel (comprising Richard Evans, John Maines and C. Brian Buckley), its Secretary, Alan Hope, commented: “Once again, the Music Panel has chosen test-pieces that challenge bands in many ways, most particularly in their ability to play lyrical music. We hope that the choices will be enjoyable and popular with bands and audiences alike.”
He continued: “The Saga of Haakon the Good, by Philip Sparke, is a very tuneful and descriptive work. As always from Philip, it is well constructed and scored. The piece is not a massive technical challenge for Section 1 bands in that it does not, perhaps, present the ‘flying fingers’ problems that they might expect. However, the challenges could well appear in the way that conductors deal with the rhythmical problems and styles of the four interlinked movements. The Panel felt that, although very playable at this level, the work provides a stern test of the musicality of the ‘Finals’ bands and their conductors.”
Moving on to Rhapsodic Variations – My Strength, My Tower, by Dean Goffin, which has been adapted by Brian Bowen, Alan Hope described the work as: “A lyrical and challenging work for Section 2 bands.” He added: “Whilst demands are made on the ability of the conductors to develop the four movements built around the hymn tune, there are also some technical challenges for brass players and percussionists alike. In particular, the fifth and final variation provides an excellent test in both the execution of the detail contained therein and the ability to sustain the work right to the scintillating close.”
Introducing the Music Panel’s choice of John Rutter’s Suite for Brass, arranged by Sandy Smith, Alan Hope revealed: “Sandy has faithfully reproduced this work from the original orchestral score of Suite for Strings by John Rutter. The four movements (A-Roving, I Have a Bonnet Trimmed With Blue, O Waly, Waly and Dashing Away) will be familiar melodies to many. The transcription provides a test throughout the band and the demands of accompanying parts from the ‘middles’ are particularly demanding.”
Concluding with The Music Panel’s choice of Peter Yorke’s The Shipbuilders, Alan Hope highlighted the contrasting styles, rhythmic and technical challenge’s of each of the work’s four movements as well as the tuneful melodies contained within each, commenting: “The work is unusual in that the final movement, Maiden Voyage, is the slowest, not common in test-pieces, but provides its own challenge of being able to sustain the work to the very dramatic end.”
For a more in-depth synopsis of the four test-pieces for sections 1 – 4 of the 2008 National Finals, including by the composer and arrangers themselves, plus the contact details of the publishers/distributors, click the ‘Finals’ and then ‘test-pieces’.
Posted on 03 Jun 2008