...all the flowers of the mountain...

MajorMorgan

Member
Apologies if this information already accompanies the test-piece announcement in the Bandsman. I haven't read it!

Being a geeky English teacher, I was intrigued by the title of Michael Ball's national finals commission - the strange punctuation and lack of capitals suggest it's a quote.

So I type it into Google and lo and behold:

I will build my love a tower,
By yon clear crystal fountain,
And on it I will pile,
All the flowers of the mountain.
Will you go, lassie, go?


Now I may be completely wrong here, but it's the old Scottish tune 'The Wild Mountain Thyme' no less. Am I right? Does the Bandsman article elucidate at all? If so, do you think the piece will be thematically based around this lovely old tune?

And surely this gives the Scottish bands an unfair advatage! :wink: Mind you, I suppose its only fair after the most English of all the English compsers was used last year!
 

MartinT

Member
The Scots won't have a monopoly on this one, it was a favourite in English folk clubs back in the 1970s - guaranteed to get the crowd singing in 2- or 3-part harmony!

I hope I'll like whatever the composer has done to it.... :dunno
 

iggmeister

Member
Just got the music through this week.

Seems it has been written about an Irish mountain just outside Dublin near where Michael Ball lives. I think it is a mountain which he can see out of his window, (might be wrong).

It has been commissioned by the BBC as part of a series of works by Michael Ball. The score says it lasts circa 13 minutes.

Lots of high tricky solos for solo cornet with others for sop and horn. Solo cornet parts are high and stay high largely throughout the whole piece. Doesn't look to be a huge amount of work for euphs.

There is an opening section where there are little mini cadenzas started of by the bass trombone of all instruments!

Starts and ends quietly with the penultimate bar being solo cornet player on his tod at p before a very quiet last chord with most of the band.

Lots of percussion with cymbals on Timps, sizzle cymbals and very specific marking for what stick/ beaters to use.

Haven't been through it with the band and the above is based on a quick scan through the score.

Igg
 

Keppler

Moderator
Staff member
iggmeister said:
Seems it has been written about an Irish mountain just outside Dublin near where Michael Ball lives. I think it is a mountain which he can see out of his window, (might be wrong).

In that case, it'd probably be "flowers of the hill"..

am looking hard, honest - can't see any mountains!
 

nickjones

Active Member
MoominDave said:
iggmeister said:
There is an opening section where there are little mini cadenzas started of by the bass trombone of all instruments!

An apology for 'Whitsun Wakes'?
What was wrong with the bass trombone part for Whitsun Wakes? :roll:
 

MajorMorgan

Member
iggmeister said:
Just got the music through this week.

There is an opening section where there are little mini cadenzas started of by the bass trombone of all instruments!

Igg

You mean bass trombone starts the entire piece by themselves?!? Or is there something else first?
 

Darth_Tuba

Active Member
Ste69 said:
Sounds good...I like the fact there's no massive mention of basses :!:

I don't... there's plenty of test pieces around already where we have no effect on the performance due to lack of anything to do! :roll:
 

iggmeister

Member
Bass trombone doesn't start the whole piece with a cadenza - unfortunately. Thtat really would be entertainment. It would be the bass trom equivalent of Kensington Concerto for cornets otherwise! The cadenza section is a bout 20 bars in. Bass trom followed by Solo cornet then rep then horn, flugel and solo trom I think.

Yes it is a Hill, not a mountain. Can't remember the name exactly but it is just outside Dublin.

Bass parts didn't look too taxing but some tasting scoring nonetheless.

Igg
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
nickjbeaumarisband said:
MoominDave said:
iggmeister said:
There is an opening section where there are little mini cadenzas started of by the bass trombone of all instruments!

An apology for 'Whitsun Wakes'?
What was wrong with the bass trombone part for Whitsun Wakes? :roll:

'Twas deeply unsatisfying to play - no notes, you see!

I think I should try to stop giving WW a bashing every time the subject of Michael Ball is raised...
 
iggmeister said:
Lots of percussion with cymbals on Timps, sizzle cymbals and very specific marking for what stick/ beaters to use.

Igg

He's been specific with the beaters but in his burst of actually possibly knowing something about percussion (finally a composer who does!!!) he's kinda let himself down by saying at one point he wants the vibes to be played with the pedal depressed throughout. But depending on what sort of vibraphone you have, the sound is totally different with the pedal depressed. Like, on my own vibraphone, when the pedal is depressed, the dampers are off but on the one at the band it is the opposite way around. Fair comment, most are when you press the pedal you take off the dampers but some people still have them the other way around. It may have been better to say he wanted the dampers down.

Other than that, i think its great we don't have to guess as much about what effect the composer wants.
 

Morghoven

Member
drum_chick_sj said:
He's been specific with the beaters but in his burst of actually possibly knowing something about percussion (finally a composer who does!!!) he's kinda let himself down by saying at one point he wants the vibes to be played with the pedal depressed throughout. But depending on what sort of vibraphone you have, the sound is totally different with the pedal depressed. Like, on my own vibraphone, when the pedal is depressed, the dampers are off but on the one at the band it is the opposite way around. Fair comment, most are when you press the pedal you take off the dampers but some people still have them the other way around. It may have been better to say he wanted the dampers down.

Maybe so (I haven't seen copies, so I can't comment on this particular case!)...but as a composer and a percussionist I would always assume that pressing the pedal down meant that the sound was meant to ring. If I want to indicate more specific, perhaps more complex use of sustain then I use 'Ped.' symbols with lines, like on a piano. Filling up the page with phrases like 'dampers down' is all well and good, but it doesn't make for easy reading. I agree that it's good that composers generally are learning ever more about good percussion writing - but it is possible to over-clutter a copy with information, and in the end you may only be able to deal with generalisations.

Dave
 

Naomi McFadyen

New Member
drum_chick_sj said:
i think its great we don't have to guess as much about what effect the composer wants.

Yes, but although I agree to a certain extent about that, it means that we can't experiment with what sticks to use; which I enjoy doing.
 

Aidan

Active Member
do it anyway, its only guidlines. :) I'd be suprised if most people could hear the difference between a triangle beater and a rusty nail on the contest stage.
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
Nadia said:
do it anyway, its only guidlines. :) I'd be suprised if most people could hear the difference between a triangle beater and a rusty nail on the contest stage.
Or between a flugel and a tenor horn :?: :wink: :lol:
 
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