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Thread: Salvation Army Music and Secular Bandis

  1. #31
    tMP Prime Friend WorldofBrass.com's Avatar
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    Following on from my post at #22, one of our most popular sheet music purchases (if not THE most popular) has been the cornet solo Share My Yoke which has also been recorded no end of times! I think James Watson was one of the first soloists not connected to The Salvation Army to feature this solo and it has been popular ever since.

    I wouldn't like to say that the sentiments of Joy Webb's song are necessarily always understood as I have seen, on more than one occasion, the mis-spelling of Yoke as Yolk!

  2. #32
    tMP Prime Friend WorldofBrass.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P_S_Price View Post
    But the primary objection seems to be its ethos.....
    Perhaps so but, conversely, two of the most played and recorded pieces by bands over the last 20 years or so, according to our track list, are I'll Walk With God (Nicholas Brodsky arr. Goff Richards) and The Irish Blessing (Joyce Eilers Bacak arr. Stephen Bradnum), both of which have overt titles but are not published by The Salvation Army.

  3. #33
    tMP Senior Friend TORBAY BRASS BAND's Avatar
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    As someone who has played on both sides, I agree that in certain cases it can be musicians looking at the title, who printed it i.e SA, then immediately pulling a face at playing it. If however, they approached the music in the same way they would any other piece they would find some really reach music writing with the page. Another complaint I have heard is about the music that is being read i.e repeats too long in some pieces where do we go back to. Admittedly that is just poor reading but nevertheless an 'excuse'. Perhaps asking advice from the local SA bandmaster would help bands plan their programmes when using SA music?

    We have and do use SA music now that is available. Certainly, hymn tune arrangements take some beating as does many of the marches and Festival series pieces. Really it is down to an individual choice by any band but the SA has a wealth of music that can be used by everyone. They also have many talented composers who should be encouraged to write for both SA and 'other' bands.

  4. #34
    tMP Senior Friend TORBAY BRASS BAND's Avatar
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    Joy Webb's A new Dimension for cornet was that published by SA?

  5. #35
    tMP Master Friend Bungle's Avatar
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    Although it has been previously said, basing a piece of music around a hymn or choral tune could been seen as a constraint, it does mean the audience does have a tune they might recognise which helps to engage them. I would say our band plays at least one SA piece per concert. We played Glorifico Aeternum at our last contest and our last concert and a couple of years ago were rehearsing Blazon for a contest.

  6. #36
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    As a self confessed Bando and Salvation Army Officer I have been following this thread with great interest, and whilst I do not pretend to have all the answers, I would like to share a few personal thoughts for consideration - In no particular order!

    Firstly, I really enjoy quality non Salvation Army brass band music. In the past, before becoming an officer, I used to play in contesting bands (I only stopped because of pressure of work, no other reason) and particularly admire the works of Gilbert Vinter.

    Perhaps one of the reasons that non Salvation Army bands play very little Salvation Army music is partly a question of availability. True it is now available to everyone, but only in recent years, and so many bands just don't have very much in their cupboards. I'm not sure (and I'm quite happy to be corrected!) that apart from the 'classics' in our various compilation books, that all the previous publications are readily available to buy, and if they are, they still have to compete for a band's hard earned money in a world that has many times more publications than it did 20 years ago.

    Regarding the playing of non Salvation Army publication by Salvation Army bands (and please, this is only my personal opinion) for me as an officer (minister), I need to remember what the purpose of a Salvation Army band or other musical group is for. It is primarily as an act of worship or a method of evangelism, and the vast majority of music is chosen carefully for the words that it is based upon and not just for entertainment value.

    Also, this is why this music was written in the first place, and you should expect to find many refrences to hymns etc within it!


    Finally, it gives me great pleasure to hear non Salvation Army bands playing Salvation Army music - keep it up - we've got some great music that seldom gets played, just waiting to be discovered!

  7. #37
    Super Moderator PeterBale's Avatar
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    Julian makes a good point about availability of SA publications, and I think in the past potential purchasers may have been put off by the prospect of buying a sheet with three or four pieces on it, only one of which they really wanted. The move towards issuing single pieces - together with the move towards an A4 page size for the Triumph and General Series - will undoubtedly have improved that situation.

    One SA piece that has definitely caught bands' imagination is "Shine as the light", very widely performed and recorded by both adult and youth groups.

    As to the question of SA bands playing non-SA published music, I take the point that music should be carefully chosen to match the occasion, but there is definitely a place for entertainment for entertainment's sake. From the early days the SA has included transcriptions and arrangements of non-religious works, and the present broadening out is to my mind a natural extension of this.
    Peter Bale
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    Alto sax, Salvation Army Symphonic Wind Ensemble
    tMP band, Whit Friday 2004; tMP band, Hadleigh, April 2005

  8. #38
    tMP Master Friend P_S_Price's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by julian View Post
    ...I need to remember what the purpose of a Salvation Army band or other musical group is for. It is primarily as an act of worship or a method of evangelism, and the vast majority of music is chosen carefully for the words that it is based upon and not just for entertainment value...
    Thats a gimmie and the reason SA Bands exist from an SA perspective. But our festivals arent always about evanaglism. Even Jesus liked a party!

    Quote Originally Posted by julian View Post
    ...we've got some great music that seldom gets played, just waiting to be discovered!
    Agreed; hence this thread.
    Pete:
    Rochdale Salvation Army Band - Solo Horn,
    SA CN Divisional Band - 1st Horn
    Available for Depping (I'm Cheap me - I play for free) .

  9. #39
    tMP Friend in Training Toni2's Avatar
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    I've already heard a few of my personal favourites mentioned here - Credo and Glorifico Aeternum...I for one am glad that this repertoire was opened up to us non-SA banders.

    On a shameless advertising point; on the 8th Sept Carlton Main are playing the afternoon spot at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and we are due to feature a large amount of Salvation Army music - Goldcrest is in there but some lovely new stuff and fantastic solo's too. The whole concert has been devised around the theme of Praise.

    It would be great to see as many non-SA and SA banders there as possible!
    Solo Euphonium, Carlton Main Frickley.
    www.carltonmain.co.uk

  10. #40
    tMP Master Friend P_S_Price's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toni2 View Post
    I've already heard a few of my personal favourites mentioned here - Credo and Glorifico Aeternum...I for one am glad that this repertoire was opened up to us non-SA banders.

    On a shameless advertising point; on the 8th Sept Carlton Main are playing the afternoon spot at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and we are due to feature a large amount of Salvation Army music - Goldcrest is in there but some lovely new stuff and fantastic solo's too. The whole concert has been devised around the theme of Praise.

    It would be great to see as many non-SA and SA banders there as possible!
    CN Divisional Band are there too in the 1st floor of the entrance hall during the morning.
    Pete:
    Rochdale Salvation Army Band - Solo Horn,
    SA CN Divisional Band - 1st Horn
    Available for Depping (I'm Cheap me - I play for free) .

  11. #41
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    It seems to be about programming. If a band has a yearly repertoire of say, twenty concert pieces how much SA rep is suitable for this?

    There are some good SA pieces which would be great for lower section own choice contests...mostly lyrical, well written (specifically for bands of mixed abilities) and not 'technically' demanding. Some of this repertoire though enjoyable is quite dated (cowers in preparation for abuse...) but all how many "secular" pieces from the same era make it onto your average band programme?

    Some of the lighter rep has made it into concerts and entertainment contests, 'Goldcrest' & 'Praise', and the like are nice little pieces and a change to your average rep. There must be more like this available. Many hymn arrangements are cracking and in my view the best available to bands, but again are they suitable concert repertoire now?

    As a distant observer, I find lots of recent SA repertoire is lacking in quality, sounding like bad film music (or worse, stuck in a cycle where SA composers are inspired to write a piece just like the last SA piece, which is in the style of the last and so on...) so why would bands play this music when they could just play a John Williams arrangement? I know SA rep is written for a captive audience and has to appeal and this is obviously a style which is popular now, but these are the future versions of those dreadful dated 'Selections' (this isn't a comment on the classic ones by RSA etc, but how many of those get played now, even by SA bands?). Paul Lovett Cooper has cornered the market with original pieces in this style now (the SA even commissioned a piece from him for a ISB event) and film music is widely available so SA composers may find there music even less appealing to non-SA bands.

  12. #42
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    Hi Waderloo, I read your comments with interest. Of course, there is a lot of older Salvation Army brass band music that rarely gets played now. Just like with secular music, some of it appears dated as it is not immune from the changing fashions of style and form that all music is subject to, and yes, I can't imagine a lot of the 'secular' pieces that I used to play 30 years ago still being in regular use either!

    I stand to be corrected, but can't imagine that most Salvation Army composers consider that their music is written for a captive audience. However, I'm sure that they would believe their music first and formost to be written for a purpose, and that's the difference. Yes, of course, some will be more skilled than others, and some of it will need to be written for smaller bands (The Salvation Army publishes works under its 'Triumph Series' for slightly less instrumentation - no sop or bass trom etc).

    You are right in saying that there must be more pieces available! For music within the ability of most bands it's contained within the 'general series' but for far more advanced music you need to investigate the 'Festival series'.

    Take a look - it's well worth it.

  13. #43
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    "Written with a purpose" is a much better way of putting it! By a captive audience I just meant that the music is published in house by the SA, for SA bands for SA audiences.

    My comment about lack of quality wasn't meant for at the music for smaller bands. Of course the harmonic language and rhythm will have to be simpler to suit a beginner or intermediate group and there is a real skill in that to make this music interesting. I'm all for practical music making and the SA model of the various 'Series' is a very good one, not to mention the quality of print. The success of the Christmas music in some way points to that. (On an another issue, perhaps this is the only time of the year the majority of the general public are comfortable the 'religion'?!). The SA in the USA seems to doing well, with some excellent practical music for various standard of group.
    It was with the larger music I made the comment, music which could suitable for good "outside" bands (shudder....it's like that famous headline 'Fog in the Channel....Europe Cut Off'!) and music which is the public face of the SA's input. From what I have heard recently, a large majority of it written for big occasions (and not for a practical, everyday use) is pretty rubbish. As I said, bad John Williams (but not really, because it's actually a copy of another film music copy....the 'American' sound was done brilliantly back in the 1980s anyway by Broughton, Bulla, Curnow & Himes etc...), the latin names and 'worship' song with a bit of 'samba' style (again, not really samba, SA version of samba and didn't Peter Graham do that in the 80s with a Latin piece?) decorated with semiquavers to make it more 'difficult'. I suppose you have to write lots to get a handful of gems.

    I heard a great little arrangement of 'We Three Kings' (not 'Three Kings Swing') a slightly 'cossack/galop' arrangement which I'll try to use at some point. I've conducted 'Manhatten' (a top quality ditty!) recently and blimey, just remembered using William Himes' little Unity Series march 'Effervescence' with a (non SA) kids band years ago! There is stuff around, but it's tricky to know about. For me I can see using SA Classical arrangements (of which there are many excellent ones, well scored and very practical!) and short but slightly different 'miniatures' to add to a standard programme.

  14. #44
    tMP Friend in Training kiwiinoz's Avatar
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    As an ex salvationist who has recently re started his banding "career" I can say that when we do play an SA piece, i do find myself shuddering with some of the interpretations of the music. There is a ton of good stuff in the SA portfolio, but alot of it is not really useful for contesting bands. That is no to say it is no good because it is, but in the sphere of contest banding, it just doesnt fit. Some of it sure does, Quintessence for example is great and can be played anywhere ( i wish i could be in a band that could play it) and there are others, but i guess alot of it really isnt suited nor written for contesting. I would love to form an ex SA band and hit a contest with all SA music, but fear that will never happen!! Imagine it, great stuff!!!

  15. #45
    tMP Master Friend P_S_Price's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwiinoz View Post
    ... I would love to form an ex SA band and hit a contest with all SA music, but fear that will never happen...

    Salvos here in the UK - Not Ex-SA, all current SA (as far as I know), but regularly "hit" the whit friday contests; regularly making a respectable showing.
    Pete:
    Rochdale Salvation Army Band - Solo Horn,
    SA CN Divisional Band - 1st Horn
    Available for Depping (I'm Cheap me - I play for free) .

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