Area Opinions

Dave Euph

Member
Was just wondering what everyones opinion was on the area test pieces as a whole? Not as how hard they are, or whether they're appropriate for the various sections, but what you think of them as pieces of music.

I ask mainly because there are examples in the past of test pieces which have been written to be just that, test pieces. Not really musically interesting, but to challenge the player.

I personally think this year the selectors have done a damn good job!

My opinions:

Tristan Encounters: Can't stop listening to this, it's genius! The music is so brilliantly challenging and yet listenable at the same time! It is so programmatic in the style of Wagner yet has a really unique feel to it. It is one piece of music I'd love to play but unfortunately Hudders Uni Band aren't doing it for the workshop next month. :roll:

Martin Ellerby is probably one of my new favourite composers! :D

Coventry Variations: Another excellent piece, and pretty darn challenging I might add! Not a lot else to say, but a good example of how good variations pieces can work.

Kaleidoscope: I've always like Philip Sparke's music and this piece stinks of him! (no offense!) A great piece if a little predictable. A good challenge for 2nd section bands mind but that's not the point in my opinion. It's a good piece.

Vizcaya: A classic, who would have thought it was written by a bassoonist! Feels cheesy, but back then it was more or less establishing it's style rather than copying. It just feels a little like it's dragging along a little occasionally but otherwise great.

Partita: Gregson is a favourite of mine on most occasions and this piece shows it. A good piece even though it feels a little basic occasionally. Imaginitive movements mind, and overall very listenable.
 
I like all of them with the exception of Coventry Variations. No idea why, cos The Coventry Carol is one of my favourite Christmas tunes! I've had a run at Partita, Vizcaya (fantastic bass trom gliss!!!) and Kaleidoscope (my band's piece), and they're all a pretty good blow as well.
 

Accidental

Supporting Member
For the first time I can remember, I'm actually listening to the whole areas cd, not just skipping to "my" piece. I think its a great set of pieces this year, especially Tristan and Vizcaya.

Not 100% sure about Coventry Variations - I suspect its one that grows on you if you play it?
 
Dave Euph said:
My opinions:

Tristan Encounters: Can't stop listening to this, it's genius! The music is so brilliantly challenging and yet listenable at the same time! It is so programmatic in the style of Wagner yet has a really unique feel to it. It is one piece of music I'd love to play but unfortunately Hudders Uni Band aren't doing it for the workshop next month. :roll:

Martin Ellerby is probably one of my new favourite composers! :D
Have played all of them, but being stuck with tristan is a bit of a bore. I feel Martin Ellerby begins to sound the same in too many of his compositions.
My opion though!
 

MattB

Member
Got to admit I'm really looking forward to rehearsing Partita. It sounds a real cracker, and having browsed the score it looks like a piece that all sections of the band can enjoy, and if we're honest the same can't be said for many 4th section Area pieces.
 

bruceg

Active Member
I liked Vizcaya right from the start. We'd played it through once just for fun then it was announced as the 3rd section test piece. It's a great piece of music and will really test the 3rd section.
 

Fridge

Member
Well, I think Coventry Variations is brilliant!! Saw Foedens perform it with bram tovey conducting at the RNCM and it was superb, felt like it went a bit over the set tempo markings, but none the less, a great piece. Think Tristan is Great, not a massive fan of the Philip Sparke, and Partita is always a good blow!
 

Dave Euph

Member
Coventry seems to have split a lot of opinions - almost the 'you either love it or you hate it' idea. I think myself it's very good, although that's only after a few hearings. I'm interested to know why people seem to not like it, not that I disagree with you.
 

geordiecolin

Active Member
Partita - I've contested with this piece twice before, and i have to say it is one of my favourites after Henry V and Rhapsody in Brass. I love its dischords and clashes and is great fun to play. I've played the 2nd Cornet and EEb Bass parts, which are usually monumentally dull in 4th Section test pieces, but much fun can be had with them in Partita.

Vizcaya - Never played it, but my Dad and Sister did at the Nationals in the 4th Section shortly before I joined the band. I know they didn't like it and the band came 2nd last and it was still treated with disdain when I joined the band. Admittedly the only recording I have ever heard is the live nationals recording, so judging a piece from a 2nd last performance isn't always a great idea. I think I am still scarred from sitting at the back of the bandroom reading a book (I had to stay for main band after training band, so as to get home!) while Roy Curran repeatedly blew his top and threatened to throw the Horn Section into the River Tyne!! It scared me and I wasn't even involved! So, no, I'm not a fan!!

Kaleidoscope - I am currently in midst of rehearsing this piece for the area and to be honest I am still undecided. I have always been a fan of Sparke's work, so although it hasn't had me like WOW!!! THIS IS GOOD!!! yet, I am still keeping an open mind and am hoping that it will grow upon me. Early opinions include perhaps it is a little repetitive (and yes I do realise its variations!!) but the 2nd Variation? (slow and quiet one) is a work of genius. I think many bands will fall down in it and the contest could be decided in the 1st 30 bars or so. I'm hoping that as we pick the piece to pieces more will come out of it and it will develop favourably, but I'm not 100% convinced yet. (Sorry Philip!)

Haven't heard Cov or Tristan
 

Lauradoll

Active Member
Tristan is class. Gonna enjoy playing it! Great after rehearsing Prague last year, although I liked that by the time the area came.....
 

Trigger

Member
I love Coventry Variations, which is amazing because I couldn't stand the carol. Variation 7 is so muscial and the solo cornet parts are lovely. Variations 5 and 6 are particularly challenging because of the intonation, but it is very cleverly written.
 

eckyboy

Member
Tristan is a great piece and rehearsals fly in,although they could soon drag if I start getting picked on(or I should say when) :(
Vizcaya is the only other piece i've played and though a sound piece I found it exposed and thinly scored in parts.
 

Rambo Chick

Member
Accidental said:
Not 100% sure about Coventry Variations - I suspect its one that grows on you if you play it?
you'd think so but im soooo bored of playing it now!!! i like mvt VII-for the children its lovely!

i think vizcaya is great-really quirky

like them all me thinks!!

Carolyn
flugel
united co-op yorkshire
 

Toby

Member
I'm no real fan of Tristan Encounters. It's pleasant enough to listen to, but I don't feel a great sense of direction or structure and find it rather bitty.

Viscaya is a superb little piece, though sections of the Fete Basque may be a little corny. Does anybody know who it was composed for?

Partita's also a good piece, perhaps not as good as last years Lydian Pictures, but a very good choice.


Toby Bannan
 

McEuphie

Member
I am very happy to say that I think the selection comittee did well this year - this is the first time for many years where I actually enjoy listening to all the set works.
My fav is probably Kaleidoscope followed closely by Vizcaya (the only piece I have played before - neat Solo Horn part!). I will be playing Partita this year and think it is a good all round piece for the 4th Section.

Best of luck to all competitors.

Cheers
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
I think all the choices are good, and it is largely the prospect of hearing "Coventry Variations" again that has decided me to attend the Areas this year for the first time since the early 1970's. I very much like "Tristan Encounters" as well, but with the Championship Section being on a Sunday I shan't make that one.
 

jambo

Member
Tristan is a great choice and should actually do a good job of sending the right bands to London. Many parts are highly exposed and some bands just arn't going to get near it.

As for the other pieces I haven't played some of them but having listened to the whole regionals cd I might actually venture out and have a listen as for once there's music on the stand.

Well done to those chosing the piece this year.
 

hornblower

Member
I really like Partita, it's great, i'm still enjoying it and am not yet bored with it!!!! It's quite dramatic and exciting.... great choice!
 
Vizcaya is a fantastic piece! I love listening to it and i could practise it all day!!! :lol: :lol:
I think the scoring is really clever and each part seems interesting. I think that it's a great test for the third section- excellent choice!
Haven't played any of the others but have listened to them on the regionals cd and they all have a lot to offer to the listener. A great selection in my opinion! :D
 
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