Lower Section 'National' test-pieces released
June 01 2009
Announcing the choices, Panel Secretary, Alan Hope, commented: “The Panel hopes that bands and audiences will enjoy
this eclectic and exciting mix of test-pieces, each of which provides its own and varied tests for the players concerned.”
The test-pieces are:
Triumphant Rhapsody by Gilbert Vinter, published by Studio Music
This, the fourth of Vinter’s works for brass, was used as the test-piece for the Championship Section National Final in 1965.
The work contains some of Vinter’s most complex writing and is an exploration of the interval of a 2nd, examples of which occur many times throughout the work.
It is often thought to be the first work that Vinter wrote for brass band, as opposed to writing orchestral music for brass band.
Said Alan Hope: “The Music Panel felt that choosing this work is a fitting end in 2009 to the contest tributes in this, the 100th anniversary of Vinter’s birth and the 40th anniversary of his death.”
About Gilbert Vinter
Gilbert Vinter was born on 4 May 1909 in Lincoln. He played bassoon in the BBC Wireless Band and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and taught at the Royal Academy of Music. During World War II, he was a member of the Royal Air Force Central Band and later served with several RAF bands. After the War, he was Staff Conductor with the British Broadcasting Corporation and many of his works were written for brass band. Among his finest works was The Trumpets, which is scored for a large brass band, chorus and bass soloist.
Vinter died in Tintagel, in Cornwall, on 10 October, 1969.
A Scot's Miscellany by Alan Fernie, published by Obrasso-Verlag
Commissioned for the forthcoming Bernese Kantonal in Switzerland – a local competition – it was first played by Newtongrange Silver Band at last year’s West Lothian Challenge.
The work comprises three linked movements, each of which reflects facets of Scottish life.
The first, The Smiling School for Calvanists, is what’s known, north of the Border, as a pessimistic Dreich march and refers to some of John Knox’s teachings, as well as his devotion to the Calvanist religion. As would be expected, the mood of this movement is serious, severe and dour.
‘Regards to G. Robin Henderson Esquire of Caithness’ is a slow movement, based on the lovely hymn tune, St. Anne, and dedicated to this true gentleman of the McTaggart-Scot-Loanhead Band.
The finale is a typical Scots reel, John Whyte’s Reel, dedicated to a multi-talented musician friend of the composer.
Said Alan Fernie: “You could say that the last movement is a tribute to two of my favourite composers, John Adams and Malcolm Arnold.”
Also commenting, Alan Hope enthused: “The Panel is delighted to select this new work. We feel that there is much in it to both interest and tax the bands in this Section.”
About Alan Fernie
Alan Fernie was born in the Scottish mining village of Newtongrange. At the age of 13, he learned to play trombone, both at school and with his local brass band.
After studying music in Glasgow and London, Alan Fernie spent a short period as an orchestral musician before transferring instrumental education. He taught in schools all over the East of Scotland for 20 years, during which time he has also conducted bands at all levels, winning many awards.
Alan Fernie started writing for brass whilst still a student, and his music is now published, performed and recorded throughout the world.
Currently living in the Scottish Borders, he is principally a composer but also finds time to conduct, teach, perform, adjudicate, lecture and compere, throughout the UK and beyond.
Oceans by Goff Richards, published by Studio Music
Oceans was commissioned in 1984 with valuable support from South-West Arts for the 60th Anniversary of the West of England Bandsmen’s Festival. It has been used as a test-piece in the ‘National’ Series before, as the test for the 2nd Section Regional Championships of 1994.
Announcing the piece, Alan Hope, enthused: “We are pleased to select this wonderful music and wish it to be regarded as a tribute to the work that Goff Richards has produced for the brass band movement over many years.”
About Goff Richards
Born in Cornwall, Goff Richards studied at the Royal College of Music and Reading University before embarking upon a career as a composer, arranger and conductor.
His works have been performed by the King’s Singers, the Swingle Singers, various BBC orchestras, Huddersfield Choral Society, London Brass, Evelyn Glennie, Benjamin Luxon, and leading brass and military bands, as well as extensively broadcast on BBC Radio and television.
He has been commissioned by the BBC’s Festival of Cornish Bands, television's Songs of Praise (which included special orchestral arrangements for the 40th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Albert Hall), the 2002 Manchester-based Commonwealth Games, the Trevithick Day celebrations in Cornwall (Mythic Trevithick), Huddersfield Choral Society (Counting the Days to Christmas), Reading Phoenix Choir (Sweet Thames Suite), Tokyo (Vivid Colours for Vivid Brass), the opening concert at the new Hall for Cornwall (Intrada, performed by Bournemouth Sinfonietta), Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Tori Amos and the Albion Band.
In 1982, the St. Austell Band released an LP of Goff Richards’ music, since when BNFL, Brighouse and Rastrick and Foden’s bands have each produced CDs featuring his music. A recording by his own ensemble, The Arcadians, together with singers Margaret Richardson and Paul Whelan, was also released.
This prolific composer also worked within music education between 1976 and 1989, his remits including lecturing in arranging, as well as directing the Jazz Orchestra at Salford College of Technology. In 1990, Salford College awarded him an Honorary GDBM and the title, Director Big Band Laureate, in recognition of his contribution to band music throughout the world. After 1992, he directed the Jazz Orchestra at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, and also composed large-scale works for Barnsley Schools (The River of Time) and the East Ayrshire Schools Brass Band and Choir (A String O’Blethers), both produced in the year 2000.
Goff Richards has adjudicated various the Regional and ‘National’ Finals, the European, Australian, New Zealand and Dutch Brass Band championships; Norway’s SIDDIS Brass, the National Male Voice Choir Championships of Great Britain and numerous other brass band contests for BBC Radio and television.
The Cornish Gorsedd made Goff Richards a bard in 1976.
Alta Vista by Bruce Fraser, published by Studio Music
Alta Vista is a new work from the pen of another Scot, Bruce Fraser. Literally meaning ‘a view from above’, it is a modern descriptive work in three movements, each depicting one of the three tallest buildings in the North American continent, as follows:
The CN Tower - the composer’s view of this enormous building in Toronto is a pulsating, driving movement, which shows the power of such a mighty structure.
The Empire State Building, New York - this is more complex, rhythmically, offering more of a technical challenge to players and conductors. Some very delicate and open scoring brings this to a quiet close.
Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois - this was the tallest building in the world, when it was constructed in 1973. The movement is largely an allegro vivace in ¾ and has busy passages for some cornets, horn and euphonium, all creating the impression of the business and hurried life taking place in this amazing building.
About Bruce Fraser
Bruce Fraser has established a reputation as a multi-faceted composer. His music publishing Company, Lomond Music, offers a range of titles for young brass and wind bands, test-pieces at most levels and a range of arrangements for the Swiss publishers – Obrasso, Difem and Musikverlag Frank.
A vast number of other his titles for wind band are published mainly by G&M Brand, Studio Music, Edition Wicky, TRN and Gobelin Music. Bruce Fraser has also composed many commissions for a variety of groups including a Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, written for John Wallace and the Fife Youth Orchestra, Sun for BBC Young Brass player, Katrina Marzella, Tuba Concerto for James Gourlay and a recent work for Adam Frey in USA. The Concerto exists in various accompaniments – brass band, concert band, ten-piece brass ensemble, orchestra and piano, also available from Studio Music, London. His work, Hellas, for trombone and piano, was the set piece for the British Trombone Society competition for young players, won by Hayley McConnell of Durham and he was commissioned to write Twin Slides for Brett Baker, Principal Trombone for Black Dyke Band. Both are available from Studio Music.
As a conductor, Bruce Fraser has been conducting brass bands, choirs and wind bands for over 30 years. He has also adjudicated many music festivals, brass band competitions and wind band festivals throughout the UK and Europe. His career as a composer, conductor and adjudicated really developed following his early retirement as Head of Music at Buckhaven High School, in 2007. The same year saw his composition, Imperium, selected as the 3rd Section National test-piece.
Bruce is delighted that Alta Vista has been selected as the 4th Section test-piece at the 2009 Lower Section Finals and hopes that bands enjoy working on it.