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Topic: Music for Brass Band

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  1. #1
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Music for Brass Band

    With the Brass Band post in the listening room currently, I took a little foray on youtube for some more music for brass band:

    Black Dyke Band plays "Neath the Dublin Skies" w/ Euphonium solo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSDrVSlW468

    Black Dyke Band plays "Miss Blue Bonnet" w/ Cornet solo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1ezp...eature=related

    David Childs - Euphonium plays Carnival of Venice:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqw8v...eature=related

    A Euphoniun duet:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTW7w...581&feature=iv

    The Black Dyke Band, formerly the Black Dyke Mills Band, is one of the oldest and best known brass bands in the world. It was formerly the band of the Black Dyke Mills in Queensbury, West Yorkshire, England, a company owned by John Foster. Foster, a French horn player, joined with others in a small band in Queensbury in 1816. This band faltered but finally, in 1855, Foster and other musicians established the new mill band and outfitted it with uniforms made from the mill's own cloth. The band has remained active since that time, and still rehearses in its original rooms.
    The band has won many prizes and competitions over the years. In September 1968, it released a single on the The BeatlesApple Records label. The a-side was an instrumental composed by Lennon/McCartney called "Thingumybob" (the theme to a Yorkshire Television sitcom of the same name starring Stanley Holloway). The flipside was a brass band instrumental version of another Lennon/McCartney song, "Yellow Submarine". The single was released under the name John Foster & Sons Ltd Black Dyke Mills Band, produced by McCartney, and was one of the first four singles issued on the Apple label.
    The Black Dyke Band has made many recordings including classical music. It has recorded with classical bass trombonist Douglas Yeo, and pop acts Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel and The Beautiful South. The band also worked with Gabriel on the highly acclaimed Millennium Show, featured in the Millennium Dome, as well as recording the music for the BBC programme Ground Force.
    Black Dyke was the first band to achieve the "Grand Slam" in 1985 by winning the Yorkshire regional, European, British Open and National Championship contests. They were also voted BBC Band of the Year.
    In 2008, the band won the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain for a record 21st time.
    The "corner-men" of the band's current line up include:

    • Principal Cornet: Richard Marshall
    • Principal Euphonium: David Thornton
    • Principal Trombone: Brett Baker
    • Soprano Cornet: Paul Duffy
    • Principal Horn: Sandy Smith
    • Flugel Horn: Alexandra Kerwin
    • Principal Tuba: Joseph Cook

    The band's current Musical Director and Professional Conductor is Welsh Euphonium virtuoso, Dr Nicholas Childs. His predecessor was trumpet player James Watson.
    Black Dyke Band are the brass band in residence at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and Nick Childs conducts the RNCM Brass Band.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Re: Music for Brass Band

    One of the more renowned bands of yesteryear:


  3. #3

    Re: Music for Brass Band

    That's great, Big Ears -! - Thanks for digging up the info on The Black Dyke Band, and the video clips. All new to me, and I especially enjoyed the info that McCartney wrote and produced a record with them back in the Apple days. Great stuff!

    Randy B.

  4. #4

    Re: Music for Brass Band

    The band you want to hear is Fodens Richardsons. I have a slight bias, because they rehearse in the school where I teach, and my head of department is their principle trombone, but I think they're a lot more exciting than Black Dyke.
    Brass Banding, on the whole, is a very odd culture. They're almost exclusively amateur (some players get a modest retainer, to stop them walking to another band, but not a wage) and yet they typically devote more of their lives to it than anything else. My boss is currently chairman of Fodens, and spends a massive proportion of his teaching day ignoring his classes, because he's on the phone sorting out the internal politics of the band; or finding emergency conductors, because the regular one has had a tantrum and won't do the CD recording that night; or organising comissions, etc, etc. The band has permanent rehearsal slots every Tuesday and Thursday night, but more rehearsals are added when a competition, or recording is approaching, which is nearly always. Approaching a contest such as the national open they'll probably rehearse every weeknight for several weeks, whilst trying to keep their dayjobs and families going.

    I say it's an odd culture because noone seems to quite be able to explain what they get out of devoting so much of their lives to it. The whole competition culture is a joke, because the judging seems to have nothing to do with music. It's all about who holds the highest notes for longest, and plays the fast passages fastest and other ridiculous measures. So while the banders all leap to the 4barsrest site to find out if they're no.1 after a weekend, none of them would really claim to have done anything terribly musical. And the concert schedule is largely the same from year to year. There are higlights, and one-offs, but the regular gigs have the same audience, who expect the same repertoire every year. Speaking to a few who broke out of banding (I live in just about the densest banding area in the UK, so ex-banders are everywhere) they say it's soul-destroying to pedal the same old crap year after year, and they really can't understand those who devote their whole life to it. Yet the fact remains that there are many who do. It's practically a religion.
    David

  5. #5
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Re: Music for Brass Band

    Thanks Pingu for your view from the UK.
    I found a couple of youtube videos of Fodens Richardsons.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv4O7FKQU_8

    and this one called Fodens (w/ a 14 year old soloist):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glVtK...eature=related

  6. #6

    Re: Music for Brass Band

    About 20 years ago, I lived in Grantham (Lincolnshire) for a few months...not far from Black Dyke and Brighouse in Yorkshire...I got to attend rehearsals of both bands. The band in Nottingham, also not far from Grantham, was also quite excellent; I got to sit in with them on 2nd baritone because a regular was absent when I visited. No way I was going to sit in with either Dyke or Brighouse (pronounced Briggus, BTW).
    I also played a few times with the band in Aberystwyth when I was there for a couple weeks after Grantham.
    The band in Grantham was 4th section and really not so good, but they rehearsed in the upstairs of the Tudor Rose pub. I usually volunteered to play 2nd baritone, a real background part, since the bartender came upstairs and refilled glasses during rests, of which the 2nd baritone has plenty.
    Dyke and Brighouse in those days were frighteningly good, and the music they played was the equivalent of any orchestra. The band in Aberystwyth was 1st section, and also EXCELLENT. Hearing these bands really opened my ears to what the euphonium and tuba could be and do. The level of low brass playing was phenominal, without the stuck-up "I play in an ORCHESTRA" mindset I find in a lot of American conservatory-trained low brass players. I was inspired by the level of excellence in those bands and by the friendliness of the players...they treated me as a peer, bought the occasional pint, allowed me access to the library, gave me free lessons, worked with me on key brass band euphonium excerpts, etc. I can't begin to describe how much I appreciated that!

    A couple of comments: the vibrato thing, from what the players told me and from what I heard, was more prevalent in the 50s-60s, and pretty much dried up when "high pitch" died off at the same time (brass band "A" was higher in pitch than it is now, and very old instruments have "low pitch" adapters that extend the main tubing) having said that, brass bands still use a bit more vibrato than american "brass choirs" do.
    If you want to hear the older sound, google "Lyndon Baglin" or "Trevor Groom"--those were the euphonium kings of the 50s and 60s--they and their bands play in the older style.

    Writing for brass band is difficult because of the homogeneity of the instruments...all of them EXCEPT the trombones are conical...that's why the sound is so mellow. It is amazing, though, how much tonal variety composers and players can achieve...that's one of the things I liked about MISTERSYNTH'S piece.

    I said this in another context, and I'll repeat it here: To **some** extent, the "organ effect" is unavoidable--why? A brass band is a set of ORGAN PIPES.
    I will post a bit of a tutorial on how to minimise the phasing, etc...things such as slight detuning, varying the vibrato rates, and staggering the attacks...MISTERSYNTH gets it largely right and deserves all the accolades he received.
    Snor
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  7. #7

    Re: Music for Brass Band

    Quote Originally Posted by bigears View Post
    One of the more renowned bands of yesteryear:

    Ears...
    This is INCREDIBLE!! The gentleman with the baritone, two to the left of Gary, is none other than Xavier Ignatius Aloysious Gerontius ("X") Lax, my great-great-great grandfather.



    Above is a more recent shot of the Lax family...from the early 1950s. A youthful Snorlax is on his uncle's lap in the background, and my mother is holding the tuba, seated at the right. This was taken in the alley between our row house and the neighbors' one warm Sunday in Brooklyn, NY.

    Snor
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

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