European Countdown: 9 days to go

And where was it played again? Whatever happened to the European test pieces?

  Which test pieces have been the most and least popular since 1978?

Some of the set-works written for the European Championships have quickly become hugely popular after they were first performed ('Fraternity' and 'Audivi Media Nocte' come to mind of recent vintage), whilst others haven't quite enjoyed even a single repeat performance….


The first European set-work was Morley Calvert's 'Introduction, Elegy and Caprice', which following its premiere in 1978 was quickly reused as the test-piece for the 1979 Second Section Area Championships of Great Britain. However, it hasn't been played at any contest since 1993.

On the other hand, the Paul Huber's 1979 work, 'Symphonic Music' is getting an airing at this year's Spring Festival in Blackpool. It was last chosen as a set-work in 2010 and last played as an own-choice in 2000.

So which set-works have been the most popular and which haven't really seen the light of day?

We discounted works such as 'Journey into Freedom', 'Salamander', 'A London Overture' etc which were not written for the event.

Top 6 test-pieces

These pieces were commissioned for the European Championships but have also been selected as a set-work for another contests since their premieres. The top six of the 21 that have been used again are…

1. Essence of Time (Peter Graham — 1990)
Used as a set-work 22 times since

2. Royal Parks (George Lloyd – 1985)
Used as a set-work 14 times since

3. St Magnus (Kenneth Downie — 2004)
Used as a set-work 11 times since

4. Tallis Variations (Philip Sparke — 2000)
Used as a set-work 11 times since

5. Sounds (John Golland — 1993)
Used as a set-work 9 times since

6. Elgar Variations (Martin Ellerby — 2007)
Used as a set-work 6 times since

Most popular own-choice:

The top 10 in terms of being played the most as an own-choice selection at other contests are:

1. Tallis Variations — 233 times
2. Essence of Time — 170 times
3. Royal Parks — 99 times
4. Extreme Makeover — 42 times
5= Sounds — 41 times
5= St Magnus — 41 times
7. From Ancient Times — 33 times
8. Spiriti — 31 times
9. Audivi Media Nocte — 29 times
10. Fraternity — 28 times

Zero rated set-works

These pieces were commissioned for the European Championships but have yet to be selected as a set-work for another contest since their premieres.

Ciacona Seria (Henk Badins — 1983)
Le Chant d'Alpe (Jean Balissat — 1994)
Red Earth (Roland Wiltgen — 1995)
Burlesque for Brass Band (Rob Goorhuis — 1998)
Montreux Wind Dances (Carl Rutti — 2001)
Chain (Piet Swerts — 2002)
Seascapes with High Cliffs (Ian Wilson — 2006)
Audivi Media Nocte (Oliver Waespi — 2011)
Muckle Flugga (Rory Boyle — 2014)
The God Particle (Rolf Rudin — 2015)
Where Angels Fly (Kevin Houben — 2017)
Time for Outrage (Marco Putz — 2018)

No other contest performances:

According to our research, these five European test-pieces have yet to be performed in a contest since their original premieres…

Ciacona Seria (Henk Badins — 1983)
Le Chant d'Alpe (Jean Balissat — 1994)
Muckle Flugga (Rory Boyle — 2014)
The God Particle (Rolf Rudin — 2015)
Time for Outrage (Marco Putz — 2018)

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