St. Magnus Variations

johnflugel

Active Member
I went to a rehearsal last week on the piece and am very much looking forward to hearing the work in it's entirety with the bands on Friday. The conductor in this particular rehearsal believes the contest will won or lost on the piece and on first listen, I would agree.

On learning that Ken Downie was commissioned to write the set test I wondered how good the piece would be, having been a little disappointed by one of the last major works he wrote (Rejoice, the Lord is King for the ISB). On first listen, it would appear Kenneth has really pulled out the stops. It sounds a really great piece - although it is immensly difficult in places and there are lots of testing solos, it doesn't compromise the integrity of his writing, nor the dignity of the great hymn tune.

My hunch is, even the very best bands will have some headaches on this.
 

drummerboy

Member
shedophone said:
I doubt anyone will be attempting it with three players. A lot would be missed out, unless of course you've got three independent arms each...

But there's a percussion plan in the score to show you how it is playable by three players. Having got the score, I'd say if you stick to the plan, it's playable by three. Sure it's a test, but isn't that what test pieces should do?
 

MRSH

Supporting Member
drummerboy said:
But there's a percussion plan in the score to show you how it is playable by three players. Having got the score, I'd say if you stick to the plan, it's playable by three. Sure it's a test, but isn't that what test pieces should do?
It's all very well providing a plan of where the instruments should be placed but if you take a look at the score itself there are some horrendous quick changes and doubling.

I'm not saying it can't be played by three but it looks very much like four would be better.
 

Morghoven

Member
MRSH said:
I'm not saying it can't be played by three but it looks very much like four would be better.

Maybe four would make life easier, but doing it with three will be a proper test. Any percussionists out there who've had the joy (!) of playing some shows will be able to get round those quick changes. I feel more sorry for those poor unfortunates who have to play the xylophone part - rather you than me, that's all I can say!
 
I havnt seen the score at all, i'm lucky enough to be sat on timps with not a lot of running around. It looks like even with 4 players there's a lot of running around to be done, so with three you'll certainly be knackered by the end! if its going well with 3 then great stuff, and good luck for it!
 
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