A choice that is always eagerly anticipated are the Test Pieces for the West of England Bandsman’s Festival each year and those for 2014 have now been announced. Once again a judicous choice of old and new, several with local connections, has been made by the Festival Committee.
Since it was commissioned from Simon Dobson by The Cornwall Youth Brass Band in 2008 Penlee has become one of the most played Test Pieces and Concert items of recent years. Telling the dramatic and heart wrenching story of the loss of the Penlee Lifeboat and the freighter the Union Star and their crews in 1981it is a particularly poignant piece to be played in the Second Section.
Also written for a Youth Band is Malcolm Arnolds Little Suite for Brass No.1, set for the Fourth Section. Commissioned by The National Youth Brass Band of Scotland they gave the first performance in 1963. Like Malcolm Arnold, Gilbert Vinter had lived in North Cornwall and his Spectrum, first heard at the British Open in 1969, made an immediate inpact with its uncompromising approach, which will be tackled by the First Section.
Another piece commissioned by a Cornish Band is the three movement St Austell Suite, chosen for the Third Section, which Kenneth Downie wrote for the St Austell Band in 1998 which they first performed in The Hall for Cornwall in Truro that year.
The music of Edward Gregson will be heard in the Championship Section, with the choice of his theme and variations, Connotations, commissioned for the 1977 National Championship Finals at The Royal Albert Hall.
As usual the Youth and Training Sections have the opportunity to chose their own music to demonstrate their abilities to the best effect.
Connotations - E Gregson
March - The Contestor - T.J Powell.
Spectrum - G Vinter
Colne Hymn arrangement - Thomas Rive
Pub. Salvationist Music
Penlee - S Dobson
Alleluya, Sing to Jesus (Hyfrydol) Arr P Wilby
St Austell Suite - K Downie
Little Suite for Brass (No 1) - M Arnold
Youth Section - Own Choice Test Piece (no longer than 10 minutes)
Training Section - Own Choice (10 minutes)
Adjudicator - Ian Porthouse