Recorded repertoire

What do you look for on a cd?

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Staff member
Straightmute wrote, in another topic: wrote:
this disc is sure to be a big seller

Not round here. What a waste of good plastic. YBS give us new music from Derek Bourgeois and Brighouse give us Ugly Duckling.

No thanks.


It seems that there are some bands which are content simply to record very "popular" (ie middle of the road) pieces, whereas others are looking to broaden the repertoire by putting established and new original works and arrangements onto disc. I thought it would be interesting to take a straw poll on other people's views on this.

As someone with a fairly large (my wife would say too large collection of cds, I tend to be looking for recordings of new repertoire that will not duplicate too many items I already have. I find single composer discs can be quite enlightening, and I am particularly interested in contemporary works, and significant early pieces written for band. I have bought and enjoyed a number of mixed programme recordings (such as Leyland's East Coast Pictures or Sellers' Celtic Connections), but I am unlikely to buy a new recording of lighter repertoire unless it has a particular interest.

I am sure there are lots of factors involved in these decisions, not least being the likely market - is a recording aimed at the brass band cognescenti or at the general public who might buy a cd as a souvenir following a concert?

I shall await your comments with interest.


Staff member
This is an interesting one.

When I buy a CD it's usually while wearing one of 2 hats.
1. Something for myself, generally a recording of a new or classic major work which I haven't been exposed to before
2. Something which I think my own band could possibly play, and I need to scope it out a bit. Usually, these aren't major works or test pieces, but rather film themes, light music, hymns etc. I generally find the recordings invaluable when trying to come up with ideas to push our band in the right direction.

Having said that, I've got some single composer CDs - Having played one piece, you can then judge the impact of another. I've found some of the Gregson CDs very useful from this point of view.

However, I tend to make mixes from the CDs - and in the majority of cases, I put the test pieces in the mix, and leave most of the lighter stuff in archive mode!

Thirteen Ball

Active Member
When buying a CD I tend to look for more Listenable pieces, although a whole CD of 'favourites' is bound to be pretty dull for a bandsman, simply because we'll have played most of it. Like a concert programme, it's all about balance.

I think it really depends who the CD's aimed at. Obviously harmony music, fantastic piece though it is, ain't gonna get much airplay on Radio 2! So pitching a CD at a Radio 2 audience, playing the sort of Bread and butter stuff does shift CD's. (Much as it may occasionally leave the rest of us a little disappointed on the content side.)

Having tried to listen to a whole CD of (Brilliantly played) test pieces by cory's, I found this just as uninspiring after a while. Speaking as one who has bought a number of CD's (Brass and otherwise) for one track, I think you need a couple of chestnuts, to make the CD attractive to a certain audience, but that should by no means prevent the inclusion of some Avant garde pieces as well.

Dave Payn

Active Member
The good thing about 'Middle of the Road' is that if you leave if there long enough, it'll get run over! ;-)

Personally, I would like to see brass bands change their direction with regard to recorded repertoire a bit. Over the last 20 years, is something's come along that's been regarded as 'a good arrangement' then you can bet your life that the vast majority of top and 1st section bands have recorded it to death. They seem to eventually serve as stuff to fill up space on a CD rather than used 'imaginitively' (Procession to the Minster and Riverdance fall into this category admirably! Great arrangements, sure, but how many more recordings of them do we need?)

There are a lot of decent original works out there rarely recorded (from new to old, I cite 'Behind the Dark' by Idar Torskangerpoll to Denis Wright's Tintagel) and I would also like to see (pure bias, obviously) bands occasionally embracing decent arrangements of baroque/early repertoire (not always necessarily using full band), swing etc. just to show how versatile they can be. We're certainly getting more decent swing arrangements these days, thanks to the likes of Mark Freeh but not much happening on the early front to my eyes.

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
When I was young I tended to buy most LP's and built up an extensive collection. When CD's were introduced I became more selective, but have still acquired a massive selection (something my wife definitely does not understand but does tollerate).

I have bought, to my knowledge, all CD's by Black Dyke and most of YBS but must admit to prefering either all substantial works or mixed recording which include one or two substantial pieces. I didn't get "Kings of Europe" because I have all the original CD's and I recently decided not to get the "Proms" CD because it featured tracks from other CD's with only one or two new tracks by the band and I'm frankly not a fan of the choir on this recording.

I basically have three lists: Must Have; Want; and Possible.

Of the new releases: Brass Band Classics Vol.3; Music of the Spheres; The Trumpet of the Angels; and The Kerwin Sound are all "must haves" for me. Pastoral Brass is of interest with the inclusion of the Fantasia; however with all but two of the other tracks already in my collection it will need an excellent review to move it from "Possible" to "Want". The two trombone CD's will go on my "Possible" list as will Somewhere in Time which will also be swayed by a review.

Trouble is I can't afford all the current "Must Haves" and will have to space those out. I also have a pretty full "want" list; Canada Customs also add to the expense! Thank goodness World of Brass deduct the VAT on export orders; every little helps :)

It's a tough life :)

ian perks

Active Member

Buy as You View Cory CD'S
Vols 1,2&3:-D
Keep them coming

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