How do you like your regional test piece?

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
So, all the shouting's now done, and the dust is settling. Did we all come to enjoy the tasks we were set?
 

Euphonium Lite

Active Member
Yes I did. They werent without their faults - Section 3 had print issues and was perhaps a bit repetitive - Section 2 was fun to play (and I can see it being wheeled out for many an own choice contest) but was perhaps a bit OTT on percussion, and some of the scoring was a bit bizarre (Lower Euph ff pedal E's.... really? Surely better scored on Bass Trombone and Eb Bass (which it was - splitting the Euphs didnt really add anything there)). Of the others Metamorphosis caused several LSC 1st section significant problems (and other regions too if 4BR are to be believed) and World Tour was possibly a little lightweight (although the 3rd movement gave some interesting intonation moments in the few bands I heard). I wasnt involved in Odyssey at all but you'd given a good precis of that piece earlier in this thread
Overall a good selection of choices, the pieces generally sorted the bands (or at least the qualifiers) and were nice to listen to. Good selections by the panel
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
I reckon they all seem to have been good test piece choices too. Certainly Odyssey did the test piece sort-out-the-bands job well everywhere - by basically being a hard old piece to nail. Some results raised eyebrows - but then it's impossible in such a subjective endeavour to eliminate that. Fewer than normal seemed odd.
 

sop@55

Member
Have you heard the one about a band that deliberately left out the bass part of Napoleon, letting the timps cover the opening as a soli, and came first? Did this happen up and down the country?
 

GER

Active Member
Initially thought World Tour was a bit weak for a test piece. Realised that there was a lot more to it than first appeared and enjoyed it. Glad it's over it is quite challenging to maintain interest for weeks on end
 

Euphonium Lite

Active Member
Have you heard the one about a band that deliberately left out the bass part of Napoleon, letting the timps cover the opening as a soli, and came first? Did this happen up and down the country?
Ah now I'd heard that story too, but we were the next band on and backstage, and therefore cant verify it. I've also heard a slightly different version that they did have basses playing. At the end of the day if the adjudicator doesnt notice it, its certainly not breaking any rules (timp also opens) - its no different than cutting 2 euphs down to 1, or cutting out a trom if theyre written in union. However if the adjudicator DOES notice it, then you would expect them to make appropriate comment.
As it happens, the adjudicators stated they felt the band was some distance in front of everyone else, so it wouldnt have affected the result.
 

Queeg2000

Active Member
I don't think it's particularly uncommon for parts to be moved about a bit. At the start of Napoleon, where the muted cornets come in at pp (bar 8?) Rather than have every cornet play, some bands had the top of the front row play the individual cornet
parts as solos, so the back row didn't play those bars at all.
 

GER

Active Member
One band in our section had only 16 players-no idea how many parts they missed out, still managed to come 7th out of 11 though
 

Queeg2000

Active Member
One band in our section had only 16 players-no idea how many parts they missed out, still managed to come 7th out of 11 though
A lot of parts were in unison, so a bit of chopping and changing between parts and you could probably get by with 16 parts if you are prepared to have people skipping from one part to another. One band I saw had a percussionists running around the stage like he had ants in his pants.
 
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David Evans

Active Member
Does it actually matter, perhaps they were short of quality basses, one never knows. Certainly in a few rehearsals we tried substituting a Euph which worked quite well. I also went to a different area and saw one band with only 5 cornets, they weren’t placed but all credit for having a real go at the piece and another band put their flugel by the side of the MD but pointing backwards. There’s a band in this area that is well known for their MD rearranging whole parts and sections to produce very good results.
I suspect that the adjudicator is so intent on following the score and listening that a skilled MD can get away with murder and I am perfectly happy with that. Good luck.
 

Queeg2000

Active Member
Does it actually matter, perhaps they were short of quality basses, one never knows. Certainly in a few rehearsals we tried substituting a Euph which worked quite well. I also went to a different area and saw one band with only 5 cornets, they weren’t placed but all credit for having a real go at the piece and another band put their flugel by the side of the MD but pointing backwards. There’s a band in this area that is well known for their MD rearranging whole parts and sections to produce very good results.
I suspect that the adjudicator is so intent on following the score and listening that a skilled MD can get away with murder and I am perfectly happy with that. Good luck.

Not suggesting it does matter. Most 3rd section bands are short on good bass players. Nothing wrong with using some initiative and playing to your own strengths. If their bass players were not up to scratch (just a supposition, I have no idea who they are) the why accept losing points for a weak bass section when you can take a gamble on leaving it out?

I bought the JBBFO live recording of Napoleon to practice to. Frankly it was shockingly bad, every band I listened to played better.
 

Tom-King

Well-Known Member
Maybe it's just me (???) but this seems to be something that a lot of lower-section bandspeople consider to be cheating (or atleast a little bit cheeky) where in top section it's seen as perfectly natural and normal to modify parts, reduce numbers on certain lines, swap parts around and so on.

At the end of the day, if the end result sounds right and it's musically satisfying, who cares? The goal is to play the piece as convincingly as possible.


It's one of the big differences you notice as you work your way up the sections - there's a lot more "tactics" involved in top section banding....
A bit like football really, if you play a bit for fun (maybe after work with the guys you work with, or a bit of 5-a-side or something like that) then you might have a loose formation and that's about it - by the time you get to serious professional teams everything is much more stuctured and much more tactical - and it's not just a difference in ability between those players (though that's surely part of it) but the tactics be a hugely significant part in whether a team is successful or not.
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
One looks at some of the things that the really top bands rewrite, and thinks: "Why? I could play that without trouble, and surely their player must be better than me."

It's about risk-management - at that level they won't tolerate a contesting risk that wouldn't even make it on to the radar of bands lower down the pyramid, who have more obvious concerns to get right first.
Is that musically healthy? I would argue not really... But it's a successful contesting tactic.
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
Musically healthy or not when done for contesting reasons, there is a musical argument to be made for rewriting in general - if it makes a piece 'sound better', then it's justified.

If a piece is simply poorly scored, are we required to simply respect the poor scoring? Or should we fix it?
 

Queeg2000

Active Member
If music is considered one of "The Arts" then is it not acceptable to apply some artistic licence now and then? A lot of music is open to interpretation, when a score states rallentando it doesn't always state how much to slow, that's often left to the conductor's interpretation.
 

4th Cornet

Well-Known Member
Have you heard the one about a band that deliberately left out the bass part of Napoleon, letting the timps cover the opening as a soli, and came first? Did this happen up and down the country?

Or maybe they were one of the rare bands that play quiet enough? It was a tricky one to keep low - I even saw a band use a muted bass (probably something else some would regard as cheating, but if it works...)
The drum-like rhythm suggests that it should fundamentally be a timp line with subtle bass ghosting. Most bands I heard seemed to get it the other way round.
 
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GJG

Well-Known Member
Musically healthy or not when done for contesting reasons, there is a musical argument to be made for rewriting in general - if it makes a piece 'sound better', then it's justified.

If a piece is simply poorly scored, are we required to simply respect the poor scoring? Or should we fix it?

Except for the fact that all such rewriting technically constitutes copyright infringement ...

[Puts on tin hat, and bunkers down behind parapet ... ]
 

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