Out of Brass Band?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Dale Proctor, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Yeah, I've been that for about 10 years now, even served on the board for a couple years. That whole experience went nowhere, other than a concert we did last year of traditional wind band and brass band pieces, mainly due to my (and a few others') complaining. That was the bone thrown my way, and now we're back to pops programming. Oh well, I'm not that desperate for places to play, so my attitude is now "whatever"...
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I am the change that I wanted in the band - I left! I don't want anyone that doesn't have heart and soul in what they do - especially the conductor.
  3. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    I left a good band because of action by the board, I was disgruntled so I left before I infected anyone else. I have been asked to assist a director to pick music for concerts and believe me it was harder than I ever expected. You have to appeal to the audience to keep them coming back, you have to pick pieces challenging enough to keep the better players and you have to pick music that can be played by the weaker sections. Left another decent band because of actions by the director and section leader. Life is too short to be unhappy. A lot of good comments on this thread.
  4. Tarh331_Dad

    Tarh331_Dad Piano User

    Jan 14, 2014
    8va is your friend [16va if you're Maynard or Cat].
  5. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

    Dec 19, 2009
    Hillsborough, NJ
    I feel pretty fortunate after reading all these posts of woe. The Band I play in seems to have a nice balance of music, plays about 30 or more gigs a year, and plays what the audiences like, for the most part. It is a delicate balance, to be sure, and I only have those feelings of hating certain pieces every once in a while, and I see the importance of having a director you like. We seem to have some staying power, having just celebrated our 125th anniversary, and the next gig we're doing has been a yearly event since as early as 1925, not one year have we missed. No credit can go to me, I am just glad to go along for the ride as long as it lasts for me.
  6. Tarh331_Dad

    Tarh331_Dad Piano User

    Jan 14, 2014
    I think the key here is the arrangement.

    I forget the name of the guy who was arranging the charts for Maynard in the 1970s, but he took a fairly standard de-rigeur rock-folk riff by James Taylor, realized that it would make an awesome "Canon", and "Canon-ized" it into something truly spectacular:


    And there's a guy at Occidental College, named Richard Grayson, who does this sort of thing for fun; on this video, he's improvising "The Muppets' Theme in the style a of Bach fugue":


    Anyway, if you could get a really quality arrangement, then even crap music could be turned into something worth playing.
  7. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    An issue I see after having played in orchestras for a number of years is, with few exceptions, no music written for band or any arrangement for band can remotely compete with a great piece written by a master for orchestra.
    The last great piece of music I played with Evanston Symphony was the Pines of Rome. (I was upstairs as one of the three off-stage parts). Listening to the orchestra play that piece was something I will never forget. |
    A few years earlier, I played the first trumpet part part in what could be said was an excellent arrangement for band. Very difficult to play, but not anywhere near as exciting as the orchestra version.
    With many lousy tunes, the old saying of you can gold plate bull poop, but underneath it is still bull poop applies quite often.
    Rich T.
  8. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    With many exceptions, I think.

    Orchestral music tends to be heavy on the soprano voices, whereas band, especially BBB is more bass heavy. Choose your piece poorly (and admittedly, this has happened often) and the arrangement is likely to fall a bit flat. But many, many pieces transfer quite well.

    I still remember every note of a performance of this piece in York minster very nearly fifty years ago as if it were yesterday. I know the orchestral original very well also, and frankly I think the arrangement is in this case more than a match.

  9. Tarh331_Dad

    Tarh331_Dad Piano User

    Jan 14, 2014
    I agree with what you've just said.

    One big problem for the orchestra, though, is that it can't play outdoors - the woodwinds and the strings and the harp absolutely have to be indoors.

    Otherwise you're playing on plastic clarinets and plastic violins and whatnot [although I've read that some of the acrylic oboes are getting very, very good - I seem to recall that Marigaux is making one now which people are raving about].

    Anyway, two quick points.

    1) Have you spent any time at YouTube listening to [copyright-expired] popular recordings from the 1910s and 1920s and the 1930s? The richness of the arrangements is simply flabbergasting, compared to the crap which is out there nowadays.

    For instance, here's a beautiful early "Tiperary", with a countertenor harmonization:


    But here's one which has even more voices in the arrangement [maybe as many as four?]:


    2) On the classical side of things, have you heard the Canadian Brass's recording of The Art of the Fugue?


    It's one of the great recordings of the 20th Century [in any genre].
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Ever watch the BBC Night of the Proms? This is only one example. There are hundreds of others all over the world.

    I have about 30 open air symphony orchestra concerts per year. With woodwinds and harp! There is no issue. No plastic clarinets or oboes, no electronic harp.

    There is plenty of repertory for just about any possible combination of instruments. Good programming is not a problem for those really knowledgable of the genre.

    The point of this thread as I understand it is not to question brass band or wind orchestra, rather to question very one sided programming. There is simply no need for it.

    I don't need to listen to YouTube, I have access to libraries of scores. I do not agree that there is only "crap" out there nowadays. There is simply musical directors that aren't up to the job.

    TarDad, name some of those "rich" arrangements. Good music directors are always turned on to inspiration!


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