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Re: Contest Music by Wilfrid Heaton
Yes, but in the case of the trombone parts to Contest Music, it does
actually mean "not much to play". And with Cloudcatcher Fells. Oh yes,
and also Variations on Shining River by Edmund Rubbra which is to be
used at this year's Grand Shield. I am not a professional musician.
This is my hobby, not my job. In fact, I pay out of my own pocket to
play in my band. We played Cloudcatcher twice last year in contests -
and got a 4th place and a 1st place on it. But even so, a two hour
rehearsal on the 40-50 bars of Grisedale Tarn was more than I could bear
- I played for just 4 bars. Yes, when I'm listening, I love
Cloudcatcher, Contest Music and the rest of them - but I prefer to play
something a bit more challenging, even it is of less musical worth.
Imagine you're an amateur snooker player, and you pay a tenner a month
to play snooker twice a week, and for most of the time you have to stand
there and watch your mates playing and eventually you get a couple of
shots and then you go home. I understand that brass band fans like to
listen to nice music, but without happy players, there won't be any more
of it around.
And if anyone can convince me that the cornet cadenza in Contest Music
is there purely for its musical value, I will buy them a pint. And for
those who believe is transcends the boundaries of brass band test-
pieces, I urge them to take a quick look at the title...
Incidentally, Contest Music is the inspiration for Variations on an
Enigma, the area test piece. It's nowhere near as good as Heaton's work
(the structure of it is so sterile it verges on the unbelievable - it's
the closest a brass band gets to A Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra
- all we need is a narrator: 'Variation 3 - These are the trombones!')
but I'd much rather be playing it than Contest Music.
Basically, I prefer playing music than counting bars rest, and that's
all there is to it.