2015 Area piece rumours??????

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stevetrom

Well-Known Member
As mentioned previously I think the standard of the testpiece is what makes the difference to many NC bands. Good example is the 2014 area testpiece - Spanish Impressions - was seen as "Easy" and therefore a lot of bands entered. On the flip side, the Butlins 2014 testpiece - Goff Richards' 3 Saints - was not and the field there was small (11 bands)

a bit unfair to compare the Areas, where every band has to take part if it wants to move up the grading table, and Butlins where bands only enter if they choose to, it's also not long before the Areas so some bands will feel they cant prepare 2 test pieces so close together.
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
If you're a 4th section band with no particular ambition to get promoted (as the floating voters are pretty much by definition), then it's a pretty similar proposition.

Oddly enough, I was playing in the 4th section in 1998 - the first year we got the Warwick University band registered to contest, and we had to start in the 4th section despite having a number of players around the stand that have since and had previously graced championship banding extensively. Solemn Melody was very much a 'does what it says on the tin' piece. Quite an ask for a 4th section solo euph as I recall - long solo including a phrase start on a piano high B, and a high D later on. Lots of bands that day put the high stuff onto solo horn. As Lynne says (I think she also played with an area winner that year, in Stonesfield?) bands also had to play Michael Hopkinson's Scenes from a Comedy, a forgettable piece of musical fluff (apologies to the eminent Mr. Hopkinson, but it is not great music).

Regarding two pieces at the areas, in 1979 the 4th section had the choice of The Winter's Tale by Reginald Heath or Blenheim (Heroic Overture) by Arthur Butterworth, but I can't think of another occasion when two pieces both had to be played. Lynne, I think you would have played Introduction, Elegy and Caprice​ with Yarnton in the 2nd section that year?
 

Euphonium Lite

Active Member
a bit unfair to compare the Areas, where every band has to take part if it wants to move up the grading table, and Butlins where bands only enter if they choose to, it's also not long before the Areas so some bands will feel they cant prepare 2 test pieces so close together.

I agree to a certain extent. But the year before was the comparatively "less challenging" Saddleworth Festival overture when 18 bands entered and 17 played. In fact this years entry was the lowest since 2006. I also know of one or two bands that didnt enter because the piece was considered too difficult - especially when close to the area, as you say

I know other factors are involved, but by contrast this years area was the largest entry in LSC since 2008. So I think - for many bands - the difficulty of the test piece has a huge bearing on who goes to a contest and who doesnt. And as I also mentioned before, in a large field the cream generally floats - but if youre all cream, theres a lot of uncertainty which makes it harder for the bands looking for promotion
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
Not convinced by this larger field = easier to stand out and then get promoted idea, to be honest... In fact it strikes me as opposite to my experience.

1) Larger field = more bands to get lost in. I could cite many instances of bands putting in relatively good performances ending up with bafflingly low placings when fields exceed about 15 bands in size. Butlins lower sections provide examples every year.
2) At 4th section level, there are always enough technical imperfections to make the subjective ranking of bands reasonably objective. Put every note in the right place in tune, and you'll win every 4th section contest you enter, and go a good bit further too. After all, judges have no more difficulty ranking bands in the inherently creamier 3rd section contests than in 4th section contests...
3) If 20 bands enter the area one year, then the best 10 of that 20 enter the area the next, then it doesn't matter if one is awarded 10th out of 20 or 10th out of 10, it still has the same effect on promotion. It just doesn't feel as nice.
 

Bass Trumpet

Active Member
I have it on good authority the piece for the top section is Spiriti by Thomas Doss, I am just finding out the other section pieces.

I personally would love it to be true, but there will be an uproar about mutes. Looking at the score, horns, baritones and euphs all need cup mutes and euphs need bucket mutes as well. I can see Gerry Birch (who makes the Peter Gane mutes) rubbing his hands!
 
I personally would love it to be true, but there will be an uproar about mutes. Looking at the score, horns, baritones and euphs all need cup mutes and euphs need bucket mutes as well. I can see Gerry Birch (who makes the Peter Gane mutes) rubbing his hands!

Yes, I agree, although as one with a pointy forward bell I don't have much sympathy.
 
I reckon it should be Odin (Arthur Butterworth), a cracking piece which has never seen the light of day as a set piece (in the UK) since the nationals in 1989
 

smaca

Active Member
So in Summary;

Championship....Spiriti( there seems a sense of people knowing this to be a fact, not a rumour)
1st Section.......Chivalry/London Overture( rumours, but nothing concrete)
2nd Section.....(Views,Opinions, but no rumours)
3rd Section......(Views/Opinions, but no rumours)
4th Section.....(Views/Opinions, but no rumours)
 
It really isn't Spiriti for Champ section. Lets remember there has been enough debate in the media circles about the suitability of St Magnus as a 'fit for all' test for our current Championship Section. Spiriti is another level up from St Magnus again.


So in Summary;

Championship....Spiriti( there seems a sense of people knowing this to be a fact, not a rumour)
1st Section.......Chivalry/London Overture( rumours, but nothing concrete)
2nd Section.....(Views,Opinions, but no rumours)
3rd Section......(Views/Opinions, but no rumours)
4th Section.....(Views/Opinions, but no rumours)
 

smaca

Active Member
Is it harder?......Ive played PC on St Magnus and it was difficult. Have not played Spiriti, so will go with your judgement.
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
smaca, judge for yourself - the full score of Spiriti is online here.

Got to say, having had a first detailed peer through it, although there are some occasional poorly scored moments that are difficult for the sake of it (e.g. exposed 2nd trom beat in run in bar 68 - were I an MD, this would go onto baritone without a moment's hesitation), there is nothing in that that stands out to either my eye or internal ear as being markedly harder than anything found in St. Magnus. The overall difficulty - maybe putting the whole thing together in one go end to end could be a bit more tricky. Or maybe a bit less tricky. More or less about the same, I would have said. Some sections are certainly very hard - e.g. fast exposed counterpoint in 2/4s and 9/16s 37-52 and 213-238 slow solos - but a lot of the material that could be extremely testing is obscured from the ear by fuller band textures. But then, I haven't played the piece either, and mikey.smithy has.
One area in which it is clearly more of an ask than St. M. lies in the musical challenge - for St. M. simply (!) putting every note in the correct place gets you there - it is not a deep piece of music for a listener. This requires more thinking to understand the textures. But that is all to the good for a potential area piece, no? We don't want to encourage players to be technical automatons of limited musical understanding.

mikey.smithy, are you saying it isn't Spiriti because you know that it's something else, or because you think it an overwhelmingly unlikely choice?
 

smaca

Active Member
smaca, judge for yourself - the full score of Spiriti is online here.

Got to say, having had a first detailed peer through it, although there are some occasional poorly scored moments that are difficult for the sake of it (e.g. exposed 2nd trom beat in run in bar 68 - were I an MD, this would go onto baritone without a moment's hesitation), there is nothing in that that stands out to either my eye or internal ear as being markedly harder than anything found in St. Magnus. The overall difficulty - maybe putting the whole thing together in one go end to end could be a bit more tricky. Or maybe a bit less tricky. More or less about the same, I would have said. Some sections are certainly very hard - e.g. fast exposed counterpoint in 2/4s and 9/16s 37-52 and 213-238 slow solos - but a lot of the material that could be extremely testing is obscured from the ear by fuller band textures. But then, I haven't played the piece either, and mikey.smithy has.
One area in which it is clearly more of an ask than St. M. lies in the musical challenge - for St. M. simply (!) putting every note in the correct place gets you there - it is not a deep piece of music for a listener. This requires more thinking to understand the textures. But that is all to the good for a potential area piece, no? We don't want to encourage players to be technical automatons of limited musical understanding.

mikey.smithy, are you saying it isn't Spiriti because you know that it's something else, or because you think it an overwhelmingly unlikely choice?

Thanks for the score Dave.....thats me had a run through, tidied a few corners,....its in the bag. Ready now for contest.:clap:
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
It's been a while since I listened to it - don't remember it sounding impossible - I'll give it another whirl later. My score perusal suggests that some of the hardest stuff is within the first 6 mins...
 
It's been a while since I listened to it - don't remember it sounding impossible - I'll give it another whirl later. My score perusal suggests that some of the hardest stuff is within the first 6 mins...

Its not impossible, St Magnus wasn't impossible, but the ability to create meaningful performances is surely paramount, and nationwide there really weren't many of those in my opinion. As you say the opening few minutes are very tough, both musically and with some of the skills required for the effects. Anyway I am sure it will be welcomed if and when it gets an airing, I'm just betting quite a few quid its not that!
 

stevetrom

Well-Known Member
Its not impossible, St Magnus wasn't impossible, but the ability to create meaningful performances is surely paramount, and nationwide there really weren't many of those in my opinion. ....!

congrats, you got to hear every performance at every area contest.

Are you Dr Who? I don't know any other time travelers :)
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
Don't think it's a secret that St. Magnus wasn't universally mastered, and enough performances have been posted online to garner a decent enough feeling for the general level attained around the country. For what it's worth, I'm with Phil on the level a piece ought to be set at - hard pieces sort the bands out more reliably. More explicitly, if something like a third of a section give convincing performances, another third give passable performances, and the final third struggle, then for my money that is about perfect in terms of making it easy for the adjudicators to not make controversial decisions. If the whole section can basically play the set piece, then there are bound to be some eyebrow-raising announcements come results time. Were there about four bands in each area that presented good performances of St. Magnus, about four that were acceptable, and about four that had difficulty? I would say so.

As mikey.smithy hints, even if it isn't Spiriti this time around (and fwiw, I still trust Lee not to be yanking our collective chain, given his past form. Maybe I shouldn't!), it's a good piece and about time it was set on this side of the channel for something. Even if not one of the big two, the Grand Shield for example would provide a good setting.

And on a different tangent, I'd love to see Odin set too. It's unfathomable how completely it has dropped off the radar - it is for my money a piece of notably higher musical quality than anything that we are currently discussing.
 
On this occasion both reasons.

smaca, judge for yourself - the full score of Spiriti is online here.

Got to say, having had a first detailed peer through it, although there are some occasional poorly scored moments that are difficult for the sake of it (e.g. exposed 2nd trom beat in run in bar 68 - were I an MD, this would go onto baritone without a moment's hesitation), there is nothing in that that stands out to either my eye or internal ear as being markedly harder than anything found in St. Magnus. The overall difficulty - maybe putting the whole thing together in one go end to end could be a bit more tricky. Or maybe a bit less tricky. More or less about the same, I would have said. Some sections are certainly very hard - e.g. fast exposed counterpoint in 2/4s and 9/16s 37-52 and 213-238 slow solos - but a lot of the material that could be extremely testing is obscured from the ear by fuller band textures. But then, I haven't played the piece either, and mikey.smithy has.
One area in which it is clearly more of an ask than St. M. lies in the musical challenge - for St. M. simply (!) putting every note in the correct place gets you there - it is not a deep piece of music for a listener. This requires more thinking to understand the textures. But that is all to the good for a potential area piece, no? We don't want to encourage players to be technical automatons of limited musical understanding.

mikey.smithy, are you saying it isn't Spiriti because you know that it's something else, or because you think it an overwhelmingly unlikely choice?
 

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