Benvenuto Cellini for the Open?????


Active Member
I have to agree as well. Orchestral transcriptions, no matter how skillfully arranged, never quite capture the colours, moods and timbres in the originals. This is not to say they shouldn't be played, but only used as test pieces sparingly. There are some down the years that have turned into regular band concert items with great success (Carnival Romain, The Corsair, etc.). I think they have been picked for the majors in recent years in the mistaken believe that they will bring audiences flocking back to the Open and the Nationals in their droves, filling the hall for every band. This simply isn't the case. Those who wish to hear top bands playing the same piece 20 times will go. Those who just want to hear decent bands, will just go to concerts in there area and listen to a variety of music, where there aren't any people in the audience there to hear split notes and hiss, there is no controversy, no men in the box to get it "wrong" and no huge expense of travelling to the contest. I know my parents enjoy bands, and came to all my first outings in all the majors. This was purely because I was playing, and they have not been since, but they are quite happy to go to a concert. I don't think the survival of the banding movement lies in contests to be honest!


Mark Bousie said:
Regarding the duration of the Wright arrangement of Benvenuto Cellini, I think a new arranger would have a job making it any longer as the original IS only 10 minutes long!

A great piece of music for sure, but I agree with everyone else who is dubious about another transcription being used for a major contest. We should be using our best original works for our big events, whether they are commissions or existing works.

Good point that lad!!

Brian Kelly

Active Member
I agree entirely. For the Open to choose orchestral arrangements for 2 years in a row, especially after the Nationals chose an orchestral arrangement for the Championship section last year, does nothing to encourage composers to write new, original music for brass bands.

As a fan of Bruce Broughton's music, I was disappointed not to hear "Masters of Time and Space" at the Open. If it is "easy", won't that just level out the technical playing field between the top bands and the rest, making it more a test of quality music-making rather than a technical test of which band can play fastest, highest, loudest, quietest, etc. Admittedly it would make the adjudicators' job more difficult, but who said being an adjudicator was easy?

In addition, dropping Bruce Broughton's test piece was a slap in the face for a talented composer who has written very little for brass bands and who certainly has no need to write brass band music to earn a living (he is a successful writer of film and TV music in the USA). Then again, the brass band movement seems to have done the same thing to Edward Gregson (dropping "Of Men and Mountains"), Elgar Howarth (the reaction to "Songs for BL") Judith Bingham (the "Prague" controversy), and others. And we wonder why we can't get composers like James MacMillan to write for brass bands!