Call for Brass Pieces
Leeds University in association with Black Dyke Band, and the Society for the promotion of new music, and supported by the British Trombone Society held its first seminar on 3rd November 2001.
The call was for writing for trombone, trombone trio with or without brass band accompaniment and trombone ensemble.
The winning score will receive a performance of the work in April / May 2002 and will be recorded by Black Dyke Band in April 2002.
The deadline for entries was 11th January 2002; by mid December there were already over 110 entries for the competition, this far outstripped any of our expectations.
Leading this project is Dr Philip Wilby of Leeds University; in fact the proposed concert with Black Dyke Band is due to take place at the University.
The competition has been split into two categories:
1)�����Piece 7-10 minutes in length for trombone solo or trio
2)�����Pieces for brass band maximum 10 minutes, with or without trombone solo. This would be for a standard brass band size with timpani and 2 percussionist.
The seminar held at Leeds University had the objective of introducing composers to the concepts of scoring for brass band and to illustrate features and possibilities on the trombone.
The timetable was as follows:
a)�����Scoring for brass band by Philip Wilby
b)�����Contemporary Music for trombone by John Hamel
c)�����Trombone ensembles featuring the Black Dyke Band trombone section
d)�����Writing a solo using as an illustration “White Knuckle Ride” a trombone solo with Brass Band accompaniment by Philip Wilby.
e)�����Questions and answers.
Philip Wilby outlined the makeup of a British style brass band and its sociology, and it was explained that most players read in treble clef. Philip went on to explain the possible problems of balance when writing a solo with brass band accompaniment and what to be aware of in terms of textures and sounds.
It was then the turn of John Hamel a past student of Leeds University who was now working as a free lance trombonist. John introduced to the composers some of the unconventional techniques of playing the trombone that are not always well known amongst non-brass musicians. He used as illustrations Folke Rabes work Basta written in 1982 and Luciano Berios Sequenza 5 written in 1968.
Features of both of these works include playing against the grain of the slide and moving quickly up the harmonic range to create a rapid legato effect and the use of lip slurs. Also the effect of singing one note and playing another to create harmonies ie. Multiphonics.
John also pointed out that in contemporary music the register of the trombone is considered to be much wider than that of music previously written. John demonstrated the effect of using different mutes and the colours possible as a result of this.
Then the effect of flutter tonguing used in Jan Sandstroms Motorbike Concerto No1, and finally the use of repositioning the slide and the use of the f attachment, as well as actually taking the tuning slide out of the f attachment to create other interesting effects.
Then I invited the trombone section of Black Dyke Band, Phil Clarke on 2nd Trombone and Adrian Hurst on Bass Trombone to play a trombone trio in two movements by Raymond Premru. I thought this might effectively illustrations the sounds and dynamic range of using trombones as an ensemble.
Next Adrian Hurst was invited to talk about the Bass trombone; he explained the necessity of the dual trigger for contemporary playing of the bass trombone and harmonic limitations.
I was then invited to play excerpts from Philip Wilbys challenging work White Knuckle Ride. Philip accompanied on piano as we demonstrated the more difficult passages in the work and how to make a piece effective without making it impossible to play.
It was encouraging to see so man members of the BTS at the seminar, and I very much look forward to trying some of the pieces in preparation for the recording session on 4th April 2002 of the short-listed pieces.
Due to the overwhelming response of entries to this competition it has been suggested that we put on a series of smaller concerts at the University to give the large number of entries as much exposure as possible.
Please look out for announcements of these concerts in BTS.