Having played 'Prague' and ended up enjoying it (well...sort of!), then Aubade (The Birds) at the Europeans which I really thought was 'way out' then we move on to the Masters and this piece 'Chivalry' which is soooo saturated with tunes that you'll have to go on a tunes diet after next sunday. Whats going on this year ? Two movements of the Planets ??? What is that all about ? If you want to play transcriptions, at least we should play the whole of it or nothing.
The question that crosses my mind is 'We had Maunsell Forts last year and people didn't like it, so why don't we play something traditional that everyone will know. What a joke! I am not impressed. This was the direction that the Open, musically, has adopted for decades. Anyone with knowledge of history will find that a new piece that hasn't truely pulled the punters has resulted in the test piece for the next year being hyper conservative. Examples....Fireworks (Howarth 1975) was controversial so the next year An Epic Symphony (Fletcher 1976) was chosen. Spectrum 1969 Open test piece, 1970 Pageantry. In the case of Fireworks in '75 the controversy must have stung quite a bit because, not only was Epic Symphony chosen in 1976, but orchestral transcriptions in 1977 and 1978. ARE WE GOING DOWN THE SAME PATH AGAIN? *SNORE*
And as far as Enigma Variations ???? Enuf said. I have played the orchestral versions of both Planets and Enigma Variations and I can't believe that it has been carved up like this. Of all the pieces that Eric Ball composed why Enigma ? and most of all why only certain movements ? It shud be the case that if an orchestral transcription be used, it should be used in its entirety. This time limit issue is an absolute joke. Test pieces in the late 19th century often lasted half an hour long!! We are stuck in a rut which is test pieces must be a maximum of 16is minutes long, the instrumentation is the same as its been for donkeys years. Result...an endless Romantic period which cannot expand and evolve because the composer is limited to 15 minutes.
Enuf of a rant, really, really, really cheesed off with the choice of test pieces. I would have loved to have seen Concerto Grosso or a large scale work in an up and coming contest. At least the Masters seems to have a music policy or plan !