2010 4BR Awards - Test Piece of the Year


Lots and lots of test pieces were performed in 2010 - some better than others it must be said. Which one was the best of the bunch though?

4barsrest awardsThere were works old and new on show all year throughout the banding world and we do point out that we only select those pieces that have been chosen as contest set works first – and not just ‘one off’ own choice selections, unless they have been subsequently used in another contest by another band.

Plenty to choose from then – from Butlins and the Areas to the Europeans, Masters, Pontins, Harrogate, London, all over Europe and the rest of the world.

These were the five that made the greatest impression on us though.

 Dobson’…and when the river told…’
Simon Dobson
Scottish Open Championship

What an innovative and inventive piece of writing this was – from swirling bagpipes to an infinity series of changing rhythmic structures, opaque lyricism to stunning red blooded fury.

All based on a Germanic take on Indian inspired spiritual enlightenment; it was a fantastic composition from a fantastic composer for brass.  

The bands loved it, the players enjoyed the challenges it posed, and the audience sta back and lapped it up. You can't ask for anything more than that.

GrahamOn the Shoulders of Giants
Peter Graham
British Open Championship

A mighty work that found its true calling at the British Open, testing the very best UK bands to the limit – with few, if any, overcoming its inspired mix of styles and genres.
From Bruckner and Sousa to Miles Davis and Gil Evans, it was a piece that allowed the best bands to shine, but never quite allowed them fully off the leash if they were to succesfully overcome its many traps..

It asked all the right questions of the bands and their conductors, and only occasionally did they come up with the right answers in return.

SparkeSaint Saens Variations
Philip Sparke
Fourth Section Regional Championships of Great Britain

If only all Fourth Section test pieces were as good as this, then we would have no trouble in enticing players young and old to enjoy the contesting environment.

Bright, breezy, bold and brilliant – and all pitched at a technical level that very nearly every Fourth Section band in the country could play – and play well.  

Sparke deserved the Legion d’Honnuer from the people of France for doing such a damn fine job of testing the Brits.

DossSketches from Nowhere
Thomas Doss
Norwegian National Championships

Made it to our list in 2009 after hearing it at the Dutch and Swiss Nationals, and deservedly made it again after hearing it once more at the Norwegian National Championships.

A work of rich evocativeness that meandered through a heat haze of inventive colours, timbres and Arabian Nights excitement.  

Man – this bloke can write some brilliant stuff.

Thomas Doss
European Championship – Set Work

Mr Doss did it again in 2010 – this time with his magnificent ‘Spiriti’ that mixed Bruckner to brass to stunning effect.

There was something deeply musically satisfying about this work. 

It had the ability to keep you glued to your seat, engrossed by the unveiling multiple layers of its inventive construction from the first note until the last.


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