BALLYGOWAN FLUTE BAND
2014 SCOTTISH SPRING CONTEST ADJUDICATOR’S REMARKS
A vigorous and enthusiastic opening. Percussion – just a tiny bit over enthusiastic, perhaps in opening section. Some virtuoso picc playing, but careful not to blow too hard. Got sharp as the March progresses. There was a very lyrical p trio, with some detailed phrasing and sense of four. You kept the momentum going however, and burst successfully into the D.C. Again a problem with tuning in the under sections.
OWN CHOICE SECTION
A rousing opening, followed by a delicate main theme. Excellent tonguing and dynamic contrasts. There was a real tango-
Poet and Peasant
Good tuning and gentle sustained chords to open this, but ends of phrases could be more shaped off. Tuning was a problem in ff again. Phrasing was well managed in the long melody line, but make sure everyone knows exactly what is happening in the pause bar. Perhaps a little more amount of tone could be given to melody line, but triplet accompaniment was sensitive and well balanced. Complete change of mood at E. It really was strepitoso bass here, make sure you don’t lag. You caught the light hearted atmosphere of the music and the different joins worked well with every transition. Perhaps even more could be made of the dynamic contrasts. Some neat bass playing in quiet quaver sections. Percussion mostly sensitive but a little too loud when higher flutes and picc have fast passages. You play very well together – with some well timed ritardandos and tempo changes. Do watch tuning on f and ff playing, especially in last few bars. Altogether a varied and interesting performance with some excellent playing and thoughtful balance from the sections. A range of emotions were performed in this piece. Well done!
A fiery opening, immediately followed by the p bars. The momentum was maintained and there was always thoughtful balancing. Just make sure that tonguing on lower accompanying remains light and precise. Well managed dynamics in transition into trio and still to have the colour of castanets here. Precise but lovely playing, all pulling together.
87/100 (2nd place)
OWN CHOICE SECTION
A very different atmosphere here. Very relaxed, sensuous playing at the opening, and imaginative use of percussion to give different texture and mood. Really beautiful flowing melody line, passing through the sections with easy, numerically drawn out even triplets. Some excellent high flute playing, but again nice to have a piece without piccs, so next piece will be more effective. Excellent control shown in diminuendo to end. Intonation remained constant. Very enjoyable.
Night on a bare mountain
Precise opening on triplets and immediately the scene was set. B and CB flute could almost be a little louder and more precise. Groups of quavers could throughout be even more detached and crisp. Lots of dynamic and tonal variety throughout this part, and a high level of technique needed to bring it off. Make sure the grace notes are really spat out consistently. Just occasionally a slight tendency to rush. Make sure dots are absolutely precise. B and CB could be even louder in fff and perhaps a little more accented. You play really well together, with excellent tuning. Tempo changes are together. Atmospheric and well sustained last section. Duplets could be a little more stylized for my taste. Breathing was particularly well managed here. Lovely 1st flute and piccolo solos at the end and very sensitively accompanied by other instruments. A tour de force. Extremely musical, enjoyable playing. Well done!
Best piccolo playing. Interpretation award
A confident, cheerful opening with a lovely lift to the crotchet, crotchet rest. And nice clean triplets. Just make sure that the quavers are really crisp and detached. Flowing and shaped solo flute part at F, and some lovely chirping from picc and top flutes to accompany here. The triplets at H need to be more detached. Well balanced percussion throughout, supportive, but never too loud. Very enjoyable altogether, with good tuning.
88/100 (1st place)
OWN CHOICE SECTION
Effectively spooky opening, and secure tuning. Momentum was maintained throughout, and some accurate, musical xylophone playing. The parts merged in and out of each other, and there was positive melody line from lower instruments. Even more could be made of articulation on the crotchet to minim figures. Some lovely picc playing peeping through the texture. Timing was good, but even more could be made of dynamic contrasts in this piece, especially in the first half. You play well together and tuning is very reliable.
Pavane in Blue
Lovely warm tone with well co-
Le Carnaval Romain
Excellent opening. Full transition and be quieter. Lovely solo alto playing in solo at Andante sostennto. Once again the repeated accomp figures can be crisper and lighter. Start crescendo quieter to get more impact. Excellent ppp at O. Very well controlled. The lines got a little blurred towards the end, and last chord sharpened, but some very fine and enjoyable playing here. Well done!
88/100 (3rd place)
A confident f opening with clean articulation. More weight could be given from lower instruments to stop it being top heavy. Extremely wide range of dynamics from percussion – lovely pp. As the piece progressed picc tended to sharpness, especially on longer notes. More could be made of p generally to make the crescendos even more effective, but this was full of character though even more could be made of articulation.
OWN CHOICE SECTION
Hungarian Dance 5
The tempo changes worked well, and the band were obviously listening and watching the conductor and the tempo changes were together. The Allegro could have been a touch faster perhaps, at the beginning, but Vivace really was lovely. The crescendo quavers need more careful pitch management as they alter for louder and quieter.
A peaceful flavour, in a comfortable style through the music. Higher instruments again tended to be sharp on held notes, especially into top register. There was a very numeral line to the melody but the alto also needs to think of the direction of the whole phrase when entering into 2nd beat of bar. All slurs must lead on the next note. Big crescendo to the end, supported by percussion! But be careful of tuning here.
Hungarian Dance 6
The tempo changes were extremely well managed and there was some good dynamic contrast and very secure playing from each part. Sensitive accompanying lines. Even more could have been made of detail, accents, articulation and lifting off the dotted crotchet accented crotchet to give even more characterisation and Eastern European flavour. However some very accurate and enjoyable playing throughout the programme. Well done!
A tight, rhythmical opening, with nice clean articulation. The bass could afford to give more sound on decrescendo at bar 4. There was a nice lift to the phrases and a feeling of forward momentum with lots of crescendos. The band was well balanced with grace notes and trills cutting through the texture. Very nice percussion effects in Trio especially, but always aware of balance. A cheerful feeling for the march. Just a little tendency to sharpness in the upper register.
OWN CHOICE SECTION
An extremely effective opening. Completely nervous making start! There was just one moment where an entry was not quite together. The slow tempo was sustained with even, rich tone and excellent control shown, and a really effective crescendo right through till the biggest main theme. There were some extremely exciting moments as the upper instruments raced around, and a fine technique demonstrated from all the parts. Just be careful of tuning in the long f piccolo held notes, and not to flatten in the p decrescendo at beginning of the note. You maintained the character throughout the whole piece, and the intensity. Some fine, well controlled, alto flute on solo notes, introducing the last section. Lots of colour and variety here. Very impressive playing. Well done!
Very lively, with some delicate playing. Articulation sometimes lacked clarity, but you really captured the dance character of the piece, and it built up to a really exciting finish from nowhere. There was some flamboyant percussion playing with rolls on the glock. A very fine band. A tour de force. Very enjoyable. Well done!
90/100 (2nd place)
Best percussion award
Eastfield & Harthill
A lovely cheerful opening to the programme. Some neat articulation and thoughtful well projected inner parts. More weight could be given to the lower parts. The melody in Trio was sung out, but could have even more sense of direction through the held notes. There were some nice chirrups from the piccolo part and a feeling of momentum through the phrases. A nice, light, joyful feeling work. Mostly secure tuning.
86/100 (3rd place)
OWN CHOICE SECTION
Very immediate playing here with a strong feeling of rhythmic inner. There was a slight tendency to hurry at times. Neat piccolo playing, but make sure here that ends of phrases are not rushed. Even more could be made of the dynamic contrasts, but accompanying from all band was sensitive in piccolo solos.
Suite Gothique Choral
Tuning was a problem in the opening maesteso here, both a mixture of over blowing and lack of support in the held notes. Chords moved together, with full bodied sound, but could have more of a flow through phrases.
There was a nice light feeling to the ¾ rhythm, capturing the dance character of the music. Quavers were not quite evenly weighted occasionally. Some nice flowing playing but much more could be made of colour and dynamic contrasts in middle section. Just one uncertain moment.
Chords moved exactly together and there was a nice solid bass line here. Again, could have made much more of crescendo and decrescendo and general dynamic contrasts. One must keep the audience wondering what is going to happen next. The tuning was not always supported at the ends of phrases. Nice bells at the end.
There was lots going on here and clarity was maintained, but again dynamic levels were not as varied as they could have been, so the sound lacked interest. However, there were many exciting moments, e.g. the dotted rhythm melody and the picc and other instruments that had the semiquavers. A fine sound with lots of promise. Very enjoyable. Well done!