Comments ~ 2001: August


Comments from August 2001

Albion gets the thumbs up...
Thanks for the great review of Albion. I will make sure that Jan van der Roost receives a book about English history!

De Haske Music UK Ltd are the latest branch of the De Haske Music group. In November 2000 De Haske bought the British instrumental publishers Fentone Music and in August 2001 the company changed it's name to De Haske Music (UK) Ltd.

We will be exhibiting at both the national finals and the British Open. If any of your readers would like further details of our brass band titles or would like to order a miniature score for Albion please point them in our direction! Again many thanks for the extremely entertaining article.

Mark Coull
Sales and Marketing Manager
De Haske Music (UK) Ltd

4BR reply:
Many thanks for the kind comments Mark. We really do think that Albion is a great piece for the National Finals - plenty of colour, lots of blowing and some neat ideas from start to finish. We weren't too sure about the subject matter though and we hope Mr Van de Roost hasn't been watching too many Hollywood films as his next score may be entitled "Robin Hood Meets the Flintstones".

Contact details:
De Haske Music (UK) Ltd
Fleming Road
Corby NN17 4SN
Tel 01536 260981
Fax 01536 401075

What mailing list?
Thank you for an excellent site with interesting and worthwhile content. Keep up the good work! I registered to join your mailing list some time ago but haven't heard from you. Have you received my details?

Tony Flahive

4BR reply:
Thanks for your email. We have got your details on record and you'll should start recieving a weekly/bi-weekly newsletter from September onwards. We suspended sending out newsletters some months ago on the recommendation of our internet hosting provider as a result of some serious email virus' that were around at that time. This also coincided with the quiet Summer period that we experience within our movement so thought we would concentrate our efforts on other areas of the site instead of pestering everyone with newsletters with very little news!

Bring on the Aussies...
Loved your article on the British Lions All-Star Brass Band. This would truly be a band to contend with! I see that you really mean business by adding to the ranks of the Blokes, the odd Sheila or two. A very wise and tactical move. As you seem to want to do battle with us on our home ground, don't think for one moment we would take on a band of this statue in the likes of the Sydney Opera House. No, we have in mind the famous "Black Stump Shearing Shed Auditorium". This fine venue is acoustically perfect, with corrugated tin on the roof complimented with good old Aussie hard wood weather boards. All this and the odd Funnel Web Spider and King Brown Snake scuttling around the players feet should even out and discrepancies between the two bands.

All jokes aside, we Aussies would love to see a band of this standard in Oz.

Greg Hocking. Perth, Western Australia.

4BR reply:
Thanks Mate! We still think we could give you a bit of a bashing even with the spiders, snakes and other creepy crawlies you may have hiding in the mute cupboard! It also seems our sportsmen have taken a leaf out of our book and started acting like they've a bit of talent (even our cricketers actually won, although this will not last, I promise).

The venue seems to be a bit better than most UK bandsmen are used too as well - seen the state the Albert Hall is in lately, but we at 4BR believe the boys (and Sheilas as you describe them - we call them female bandsmen!) would beat anyone even if we were playing in a public lavatory in Alice Springs. If we can get a bit if money together we might even send our team out there one day, so look out!

Not so Prestige after all...
I share another correspondent's doubt about Roger Webster's impartiality. On the advertising material he endorses the Prestige, and has contributed to your review without declaring in either case what I presume is his commercial interest. Correct me if I am wrong.

The cornet itself is a profound disappointment, and extortionately overpriced for what it is. Word amongst some bandsmen is that it is no better than the Sovereign, and that they feel that they are having a gimmick-laden new model foist upon them in a cynical marketing ploy. To me the sound is similar to the old Imperial, and it is nowhere near the league of Schilke, Smith Watkins, Yamaha, Bach, or even Sovereign cornets. One dealer stocks one as it helps to sell other cornets. I have yet to hear of anyone speaking with enthusiasm about the Prestige cornet - other than Roger Webster!

There also seems to be a significant problem with quality control. The first instrument that I tried had a serious problem where the sliding main slide collided with the first valve slide. Someone else has told me of a trigger that snapped off in his hand. The small mechanical details seem unsatisfactory - scratchy valve bottom threads, uneven plating, unaligned waterkeys and so on.

This is a great shame, as tradition suggests that Britain should lead the cornet world in cornet design and manufacture, but I fear that rushing this product to market, compounded by poor quality control, will allow the likes of Yamaha and Courtois, by default, to gain an increased foothold in this traditionally UK market, particularly if instruments such as the new Yamaha 6310Z flugelhorn and the Courtois soprano indicate what we might have to look forward to.

Colin Bloch

4BR Reply:
Interesting that you point out that you feel that the Prestige cornet may not be up to the mark. We know Boosey have had historic problems over the past few years and were unceremoniously drawn over the coals by Ann Robinson on the BBC programme "Watchdog" last year.

However, we must add that the instrument we had the use of was very good indeed and it was our own roadtest that we gave - not Roger Websters. Roger made it very clear that he is involved in the development of the cornet - but was not involved in any way in our test.

We are open to replies from anyone who feels that the instrument is not up to scratch and we will do our best to highlight any serious design faults. As for other cornets - We are waiting for any other manufacturer to lend us a cornet to roadtest without wanting to charge us a packet - perhaps that may tell us something.

Viva vinyl...
Thought I would chase up a copy of the Grimethorpe vinyl I recommended in the "comments" section a couple of weeks ago. How years fly by. The album is actually titled "Grimethorpe Special", released by Decca in 1977 (Decca Head 14). Both Fireworks and Grimethorpe Aria were augmented with Besses and the narrator for the former was Valerie Solti.

Interesting notes supplied with the album include the fact that both Henze and Takemitsu had no prior knowledge of the brass band setup. In fact Takemitsu was unaware of the orch. brass ens. at that time. Birtwhistle wrote his aria based on childhood memories of his playing days in Accrington, near Grimethorpe where he had relatives living there until the late '40s. Garden Rain (Takemitsu) was originally written for the Philip Jones Ens. and Garry Howarth was allowed to rescore for brass band in the orthodox style.

To further quote (directly):- "Grimethorpe Aria, startled the band public of 1973 into an awareness of a wider musical world; fortunately for audiences of the future its strongly felt and realised emotional content will assure it a place in band history of much more significance than any mere passing succes de scandale---rather as a masterpiece of the repertoire". Funny how Les Preludes. Epic Symphony and their like have returned for the 21st. Century instead of works such as this gathering dust in Grimey's library, eh?

Keep up the good work on the website. Good to see "open" comment somewhere instead of the closeted information given out by the brass press.

Tom Donaldson

4BR Reply:
Thanks Tom for all the information. If we can get our hands on a copy we will certainly review it for the site - it sounds a pretty amazing LP as the content is not the usual fare that was on offer at the time. Hope it sounds as good as it appears. Has anyone out there heard it and got an opinion?

Top troms?
Hi there, who is in the 'top ten trombones in the world' list? Would you be able to email me or put in on your website. Thank you

Iain Maxwell

4BR Reply:
We are getting there Iain - but give us a bit more time! There are so many good ones to chose from over the years that we will most probably have difficulty to agreeing with everyone on the top ten of all time. Still, it won't stop us from doing it. Any thoughts anyone?

David digs it out...
The record mentioned that gave your reader Rob Burnett so much pleasure was called THE WORLD CHAMPIONS PLAY TESTPIECES FOR BRASS/GUS (FOOTWEAR BAND). It was produced by EMI Records as Studio 2 Stereo in 1972. He is quite correct as side one was recorded in 1972 and includes Energy and James Cooke and side two contains Le Carnaval Romain recorded in 1967 and Variations on a Ninth recorded in 1965. Emlyn Bryant was the soprano player on this with John Berryman whilst on side one the Soprano player was David Jones with myself on solo cornet. Incidentally the band only ever had 3 Soprano players in 45 years (David Barnes, Emlyn Bryant and David Jones) The photograph on the back is of the 1972 Band. Hope this is of some interest.

David Read

4BR Reply:
Many thanks for letting us know about the record - it certainly has created interest and must have been a popular choice. We will try to get a copy and give it the once over for the review we'll do. It should be very good as there are so many fine Welshmen on it!

About these comments

We will not print anonymous letters and we will not print your email address 4barsrest has a responsibility to inform our readers of our opinions concerning the many topics of the banding world we cover, and we are proud that we give the opportunity for people to comment with their thoughts about certain topics (including contest results). However, we are very clear that these comments are those of the individual who has written them, and in no way do they indicate that 4br agrees with the sentiments, observations or perceived injustices that are highlighted in them. We will continue to inform and report to our readers, and will give our own opinions and thoughts. We will also continue to give the opportunity to others to do the same, but by allowing people to air their opinions does not, and will not mean that they reflect in any way the responsible and informed opinion that we ourselves hold.

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