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2012: October

This month we give our opinions on the future of a brass band registry, musical problems in Norway and praise the great Howard Snell.

The future of a British Brass Band Registry

The decision of Kapitol Promotions to back the creation of a new Brass Band Players Registry from 2013 has destroyed the last vestiges of credibility the British Federation of Brass Bands/Brass Bands England had in trying to maintain their increasingly tenuous hold on running a fully functional British Brass Band Registry.

The spasmodic reactionary death throes of an organisation that has allowed itself to be sunk by its own management deficiencies has been pitiful.

The BFBB/BBE has only itself to blame: The British Brass Band Registry has been crying out for radical change ever since the decision was made to open up contesting to professional as well as amateur players back in the early 1990s.

A combination of a lack of vision, investment and increasingly antagonistic internal management eventually led to its collapse; the hollow sounding call to arms behind a banner proclaiming ‘business as usual’ allied to the promise of £10,000 of upgraded restructuring reeking of desperation.

The time when money could solve this particular problem passed a long time ago. 

The basic premise to secure the future of banding in the UK is for someone to address the twin reasons why we need a player based registry in the first place, and in having one, what benefits it can bring to all levels of the banding movement?

If Kapitol can offer the constructive answers, with a system that is modern, robust, flexible and proactive, based on the fundamental assertion of giving the individual player a stake in the banding movement they are being asked to be a part of, then they deserve to succeed.

The BFBB/BBE has had its chance and has failed: Now has come the time to support a new body. If it is run correctly it could well prove to be the saving of the banding movement in the UK.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com


Norwegian turmoil

Spare a thought for what has been going on in Norwegian banding of late.

Hailed by its admirers (4BR included) as a beacon of modern, democratic management and organisation, the Norwegian Band Federation has found itself mired in a bit of bother over the selection of an alternative test piece (or test pieces as the case may be) for the Elite Division of its National Championship next February.

The competing bands say they are not happy with the choices made by the Head of the Music Department – yet it’s Geir Ulseth who is charged with taking the responsibility to find or commission works for the Championship each year – something which until now hasn’t been too much of a problem.

They also say they were not consulted over his alternative triple choice of ‘Resurgam’, ‘Introduction’ and ‘In Perfect Peace’, and that they should have been asked for their opinions.

Perhaps so, but then again, Norwegian bands are no different to any others when it comes to a form of musical self preservation – and there may be a little bit of that involved here.

This may seem a rather mix and match musical answer, but then again it is only for one year, will certainly test the bands and means that there will be two readymade contemporary works in the pipeline for 2014 and 2015.

There is also a feeling that deep down, the bands also realise that they don’t play Eric Ball’s music very well either – and these choices may well show the rest of the world that too.

Whatever the case, the Elite bands should abide by the decision, ensure that alternative arrangements are put in place if the situation arises again, make the most of what they have been given and thank their lucky stars they are not faced with the problems that are tearing banding apart over in the UK.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com


In praise of Howard Snell 

In a couple of week’s time, some of the very best bands in the UK will battle it out to try and claim the title of Champion Band of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall.

They will do so on the greatest ever arrangement of an orchestral work written for brass band, with Howard Snell’s masterful treatment of Ravel’s ‘Daphnis and Chloe’.

Those lucky enough to have first heard it at the European Championships in Cardiff in 1986 were stunned by it. 26 years later an even larger audience will have the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the crowning glory of the art of brass band arranging.

There is little doubt it will stun the listeners once more.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com



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Steve Pritchard-Jones

FTCL LTCL LDBBA DipMusEd GMus QTS NPQH
Conductor, Adjudicator, Teacher