National Finals 2017 Test Piece Intro - Section One

Section One - TOURNAMENT FOR BRASS (Eric Ball)

Published by R Smith & Co


Eric Ball's work is not descriptive in terms of its title - the "tournament" being within the band itself. The work is split into three movements: 

  • Trios and duets
  • Solos (Theme and Variations)
  • Scherzo 

This music will set no problems for the listener, nor is it intended to explore any particular depths of emotion. Rather does it exploit some of the technical possibilities of brass instrumentalists, and all the soloists in the band are given an opportunity to display their prowess; whilst ensemble work in varying degrees is equally important. 

In the first movement, small groups of instrumentalists are head alone, or more generally in "competition" one with another, raising certain problems of balance and ensemble which make considerable demands upon all concerned. Contrast is afforded by some brilliant full-band climaxes. 

The second movement commences with a simple theme, the basis of a series of contrasted variations. The first of these is a cornet solo with only a few accompanying instruments. The second is a horn solo, testing the player's powers of sostenuto and expressiveness - it is to be played in a very free style. Variation three is for euphonium and not unreminiscent of a certain popular style of solo-variation, with wide leaps and other demands upon a player's facility. The final variation again features the Solo Cornet, and is reminiscent of the free style of the Hungarian Czardas. Throughout these variations the accompaniments play a very important part. 

The final movement is generally light, except for a short misterioso passage, which features some pedal notes for trombones. Solo work is again much in evidence although contrasts in ensemble are the general rule.



British Open 1954

Grand Shield 1975, 1981

National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain - Regionals 1976 (Section 2)

Senior Trophy 2003