Derek B Scott

James Yelland

Active Member
Anyone heard of Derek B Scott? Me neither, until I looked him up. He's a Professor of Musicology at Leeds University. A trawl of Presto Classical (the huge classical music CD website) doesn't reveal a single recorded example of his work. So I am intrigued that Dyke are about to release an entire album of his music for brass.

Commercial recordings of brass band music have virtually collapsed over the past couple of years - in 2019 I can think of only two albums which could be described as collections of substantial band music, and one of those was of music by Arthur Bliss and Herbert Howells, good stuff but between 60 and 90 years old. I hope Prof. Scott's stuff is good....
 

KMJ Recordings

Supporting Member
Commercial recordings of brass band music have virtually collapsed over the past couple of years - in 2019 I can think of only two albums which could be described as collections of substantial band music, and one of those was of music by Arthur Bliss and Herbert Howells, good stuff but between 60 and 90 years old.
Do you buy in to the download model only, Jim, or do you still want physical products?
 

James Yelland

Active Member
Proper CDs, of course! I want stuff I can actually own, things that look good on my shelves, tangible evidence of 40+ years of collecting, not invisible stuff on a hard drive somewhere. But even if I was downloading, it doesn't get away from the fact that there has been very little activity in studio-based recording of substantial works in the past couple of years. Dyke's Wilby album, B & R's Howells and Bliss album, Hannaford Street's last album with Paradise Saloon on it (the last one not from the UK, obviously). Struggling to think of any others at the moment.
 

KMJ Recordings

Supporting Member
Totally get that - I prefer tangible personally.

The reason I was asking is that a couple or more of my clients are looking at moving into the download only model both as a cost saving exercise but also because of the diminished market....whether the latter is true or just a perception is yet to be proven....

Depending on the repertoire there may or may not be physical manufactures, but I suspect that the 'chunkier' stuff may end up predominantly electronic.
 

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
I'm with you Jim and have been dragged "yelling and screaming" into the download world.......although I readily admit that is better than nothing. For some time I burned my own CD of downloads to add to my physical collection but more recently I have discontinued that practice. I have expressed some concerns about downloads which all too frequently do not provide the CD Insert and lack details about the composers and soloists etc. Also, some providers only allow one download and I have found examples where my file has been compromised in some way (probably user error in most cases!!) and there is no easy recourse. I have also experienced some problems with a few download files that are compromised at source. In a recent example I was credited for the track in issue but sadly don't have the music!

I appreciate your comments as well Keith; we all know this is a niche market and profit is a necessity, for all concerned. Do you think a model based on downloads while offering a physical product "on demand" could work? From a technical perspective, how different is a CD burned on my computer compared to one produced commercially?

Now I'll get back to the main subject of the thread. Before the notice of the Black Dyke CD, I too had never heard of Derek Scott and join Jim in hoping his music is "good stuff" and not simply another commercial recording promoting his music, which is one way that Dyke make their money as we all know (eg: Obrasso).
 

KMJ Recordings

Supporting Member
I appreciate your comments as well Keith; we all know this is a niche market and profit is a necessity, for all concerned. Do you think a model based on downloads while offering a physical product "on demand" could work? From a technical perspective, how different is a CD burned on my computer compared to one produced commercially?

Now I'll get back to the main subject of the thread. Before the notice of the Black Dyke CD, I too had never heard of Derek Scott and join Jim in hoping his music is "good stuff" and not simply another commercial recording promoting his music, which is one way that Dyke make their money as we all know (eg: Obrasso).
I suspect we may find out, John ;)

TBF the main sales markets are likely still at concerts - certainly I'm spending some time filling 'holes' in band's catalogues where they're asked for certain things by their fee paying audiences. As you and Jim have both identified, however, they tend to be on the lighter side. A mix and match download based approach may well work 'better' so people can download their favourites and add them to playlists etc. Obviously this applies less to 'themed' releases like those referred to in the thread.

In theory, there's no appreciable sonic difference between buying a CD and burning one they even now technically the former is better for longevity and compatibility of product (especially in older CD players) - but even then short run CDs may now be burnt rather than pressed.

One of the real differences is that - currently mainly outside of brass bands - masters for streaming / online radio / CDs may be different, especially in terms of things like loudness. We as a genre tend to lag a bit behind everything else....but what it means in reality is that CDs may get essentially quieter, and potentially contain more dynamic range.
 

Anno Draconis

Well-Known Member
I'm not familiar with his work. It seems odd that there's a full album of work by someone that pretty much no-one in either the brass band goldfish bowl or the wider classical world will be familiar with. Especially when there are more well known composers whose brass band work hasn't really had any attention, like Alun Hoddinott, Peter Maxwell Davies or even Richard Steinitz. I can't see Dyke selling many of these, which makes me wonder about how it's underwritten; maybe the composer himself has paid for it.
 

James Yelland

Active Member
For some time I burned my own CD of downloads to add to my physical collection...
Yes, me too, particularly for things like the European Championships and the RNCM Brass Band Festival - although, in another indication of how things are going, for the first time for many years, the BBC were not present to record any of this year's music from the RNCM.
 

James Yelland

Active Member
Derek is a composer and academic researcher. His music can be sampled at Derek B. Scott, and his academic work at https://leeds.academia.edu/DerekBScott
Thanks for this link to his music -on first listening I admit it does sound interesting (although it's a pity that, as far as I can see, the performers aren't named. Leeds University music students, perhaps?)

But it's still a big and curious step for someone who, with great respect, is virtually unknown as a composer, to be accorded the honour of an entire album of his music by the world's greatest brass band! Perhaps he's just a late developer......
 

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
I read a review of the recent Black Dyke concert in Leeds where the CD was launched. It states in part "....his catalogue of music for brass stretching back over 40 years". I double checked my index (I have been an avid collector for over 50 years and have well over 1700 CD's) and don't have a single piece from this composer. I think that's telling me something but I'm not quite sure what yet!

There was a time when I would purchase any recording from Black Dyke, with very few that I ultimately regretted, but now that I'm retired and have to watch the dollars a little more closely, I'm being more selective. I'll leave this one on my "potential" list until I at least read a review of the CD.
 

James Yelland

Active Member
...there are more well known composers whose brass band work hasn't really had any attention, like Alun Hoddinott, Peter Maxwell Davies or even Richard Steinitz.
The only works for brass band by Max and Richard Steinitz I know of are The Peatcutters and Tableaux of Heraldic Animals respectively. Are there more?
 
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