The WEBF music committee have chosen the Philip Wilby arranged 'Paganini Variations' as the test piece for the Championship Section at the 98th annual Bugle Contest to be held at Molinnis Park on Saturday June 15th 2024.
Mr Wilby writes 'My Paganini Variations were commissioned by the BBC for their 'Band of the Year 1991' , Grimethorpe Colliery Band, and first performed in a recording on 10th May 1991 at the BBC Studios in Manchester.
The intention was to compose a piece that would use more of Paganini than his time honoured melody, but would also attempt to recreate, in modern terms, something of the wild and romantic spirit of his times. Thus the piece exists on two complementary levels. I have taken the celebrated melody from his 24th Caprice and provided it with a set of fourteen variations aimed to exploit the full potential of modern brass band playing. The full flavour of Paganini's romantic heritage finds its expression in a mixture of extravagantly virtuosic display, and serene and passionate melody. In short, I have tried to combine two strands within my piece, one historical and one contemporary. As with all arranged marriages the risks seem great, but my hope is that this may be a marriage of two laudable elements which devalues neither but celebrates both'
Bands in the First Section will tackle 'Prisms' (Peter Graham)
Dating from 1986, Prisms (Symphonic Study NO.2 for Brass Band) was extensively revised in 1988 to form the present work. Though not programmatic as such, the work has its roots in traditional brass band music, being strongly melodic and adopting a broad ternary form. The main themes can all be traced to the fourth based first subject, these offshoots drawing a parallel with light refraction - Prisms. As well as the lyrical sections, much of the music is highly rhythmic, with a busy percussion section, and accessible and enjoyable to all.
The Edward Gregson arranged 'Variations on Laudate Dominium' (revised version) has been chosen to test bands that enter the Second Section.
The theme is a noble hymn tune by Sir Hubert H Parry, associated with the words 'O Praise Ye the Lord'. There are seven variations, the seventh of which is a fugato which introduces half of the tune in long notes. The theme is not presented in full until the end, when it is heard in its full majesty and the music brought to a tremendous and climactic conclusion.
Paganini Variations - Arr P Wilby
March - The Australasian - W Rimmer
Prisms - Arr Peter Graham
Hymn Tune - The Irish Blessing (Joyce Eilers Bacak) Arr Stephen Bradnum
Variations on Laudate Dominium - Arr E Gregson
(Just Music UK catalogue number JM37687)
Hymn Tune - Mid All the Traffic - Arr Leonard Ballantine
Third Section - Own Choice Test Piece
Fourth Section - Own Choice Test Piece
Youth Section - Own Choice Programme
Training Section - Own Choice Programme
Adjudicator - Christopher Bond