All England Masters 2004


Staff member
I thought that as well, Andy. It'll be interestig to see whether any of those bands who have not chosen to compete previously will accept the invitation.

Presumably the ballot for choice of test piece will be between those bands that confirm their intention to take part?


Active Member
Hmm, probably a stupid question i'm going to ask. But why do some bands decide not to compete? Surely it'd be a good experience to pit yourself up against fellow top flight bands?


Staff member
I think it is probably fair to say that since competitive banding began there have always been some bands who, when it comes to contesting, have limited their appearances to two or three events in a year. If they have a full concert programme, and have already established their reputation, they may well feel that a concert engagement will be more productive - quite apart from the commercial benefits involved.


Active Member
Just out of interest, which piece out of the six does everyone fancy, as a player taking part or listener?

A Downland Suite - Ireland
Between the Moon and Mexico - Sparke
Connotations - Gregson
Harrison's Dream - Graham
Salamander - McCabe
The New Jerusalem - Wilby

As a player, I would love a crack at Harrisons Dream but as someone who wants to get as good a result as possible, I would choose 'A Downland Suite' - a piece that will not seperate the big name/star soloist bands from the rest.

Listening wise, I would want to hear 'Harrisons Dream' again because it was a great day at the RAH when they used it 2000. Cory, Fodens were awesome that day and YBS were shafted into 17th place :shock:

What do we think?

Rothwell Temps


I dont know Harrison's Dream, but I'm not too sure about Salamander- wont please the audience member who like a good ol' tune to whistle on the way home.

I like Connotations but would opt for a crack at Between the Moon and Mehico! I wouldn't go for New Jerusalem just because Atlantic (Wilby) used an off stage cornet solo only 2 years ago. Perhaps in a few more years time though.

I like Downland Suite but dont think the more fancied bands will go for that though. Time will tell.


PS I had no inklings or hot gossip about these pieces. Shall have to have a word to my source!!


Staff member
I like Salamander! It's a wonderfully descriptive and evocative piece of music, like much of McCabe's work. Maybe it's a bit lacking in a "tune", but it's got colours and images in plenty. I have a recording of Grimethorpe playing it at the '97 Europeans and it's worth listening to a couple of times to get the feel of it!

Harrisson's Dream is just class in a tin, and Downland Suite is underrated I feel - not as techical as some of the others, but some real subtlety required.

Must get recordings of the rest of them!


Test choice....

Had a look at the options a few days ago and have thought about what piece I'd like to play. I remember Harrison's Dream and its tricky beginning for back row, but a nice piece all the less. Having played all the pieces before (not necessarily in contest) I would really, really like to play Salamander. There are a few reasons why I would like this piece :-

(1) On the "go away and whistle a melody" I think there are a few tunes in there to remember.

(2) Having played at the last two contests and played the more "conservative", "tune based" pieces I would like to percieve that the movement is at least crawling forward musically by playing more contemporary-ish music.

(3) There are tonal colours and technical excersise in a piece which has been neglected for a long time.

(4) I feel that a good reception to a piece by John McCabe would probably be due, especially after the lack of "understanding" when he wrote Maunsel Forts for the Open.

Just my thoughts anyway!

jamie the euph

New Member
I have to vote for the Downland suite hands down cause i think that it is a great piece of music and i prefer it more than the other five!but i love the secound movement. my vote has to go to the Downland Suite!


Supporting Member
I'd vote for Salamander purely because I think John McCabe's music deserves more attention - no other composer paints such good pictures in my head, and I think its ok not to "get it" on the first (or even 5th!) listen.
As a player, I'd love a crack at Harrison's Dream or the Moon and Mexico, because Sparke and Graham both write such fab parts for horns/baris.


Tricky choice this one Harrisons Dream stands out however if only to provoke memories of RAH 2000.

No one going for New Jerusalem ? Excellent peice but I understand the difficulties with the off stage cornet, I guess thats why On Alderley Edge never gets selected.



I think that 'A Downland Suite' would be such a good test for bands. It would certainly sort the bands out!


If I was playing at the Masters I would be voting for 'Salamander'... Awesome piece!

Neil Samuel

uncle eric

hello friends

me and our ada always make the trip to cambridge, armed with a handsomely packed sandwich box!, because a friend of her brothers lives in the area. my very favourite out of all the list is 'a new jerusalem' beautiful.
i do hope that the two really big names grimethorpe and black dyke attend. i'm sure that would make everyones day.

best wishes, and lets look forward to an exciting days contesting!

uncle eric

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