Whitsun Wakes


What does everybody think of Whitsun Wakes by Michael Ball?

We went through it for the first time last night (as one of our potential own choice pieces)

Personally, I think the piece is very nice to listen to and very straight forward, perhaps too nice and too straight forward. I like my music with a bit of a mean streak... (did someone say Blitz?)

There were a few funny moments as the flugel and horn players (sop also?) made their first attempt (sight read) at those crazy triplet cadenza things.

The Cornet King

Active Member
I think Whitsun Wakes is a great piece...wouldn't call it straight forward though!!!

There are some nasty cadenzas in, however, if you get hold of some recordings they are only slow.

Good piece, plenty of emotion in there, plenty to challenge every player.


Active Member
I think it's a fantastic piece of music. One of the few "modern" test pieces I'd love to play again. Nice tunes, nice quiet bits and a big razz as well. Loved it!!!!


Well-Known Member
Dissenting opinion alert!

I think it's dreadful pap. On a large scale, the structure does not engage - all that shifting about, done in the name of musical parody, does nothing but bore the listener as they try to pick out musical threads worth following; on the small scale, the details fail to charm - the composer hasn't realised that you can only satirise things that you can do better than - those cod marches and hymn tunes are truly cringeworthy. Add to this the fact that there is very little continuity of melodic material throughout the piece other than by basic repetition, and, for me anyway, any chance of redemption is long gone.

On a more personal note, the Bass Trom rests from figures 17 to 26, that is, there are no notes at all in about 5 minutes of music - surely an unparalleled crime among test piece writers!

The month or so we spent rehearsing this for the Area last year was probably the most frustratingly dull and unfulfilling time in my whole banding career.



Never played it, but I absolutely love listening to it! Just what a test piece should be - a challenge to the players but also listenable to by an audience.
The piece grew on me, though only to listen to, i hated playing the piece and rehersing it (same as the bass trom. very little for us percussionists to do unfortunatly!) It was certaily better than Prague tho!!!

Product tMP members are discussing