Sections 1-4 Finals 2022 Test Pieces Revealed



Kapitol Promotions is delighted to announce the set test-pieces for the “Sections 1-4 Finals” of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, to be held at Cheltenham Racecourse over the weekend of Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 September. Please see below:

Section 1 – Trittico (James Curnow)

Section 2 – Ghosts, Goblins, Witches & Wizards (Darrol Barry)

Section 3 – Sinfonietta (Joseph Horovitz)

Section 4 – New Beginnings (Frederik Schjelderup)

Commenting on these works, Philip Morris (Managing Director, Kapitol Promotions Ltd) said: “The Kapitol Promotions Music Panel works incredibly hard in choosing the Regional & Finals set works each year, and listens to a wide variety of music to settle upon its final choices. The Panel has, once again, decided on a strong and eclectic selection of works, with each one designed to test bands musically as well as technically – but we also felt it necessary to pay homage to Darrol Barry & Joseph Horovitz, two important figures in the banding movement who have unfortunately passed away in recent times. We hope that bands & audiences enjoy these four excellent works”.



Trittico (James Curnow)

Published by Winwood Music

Commissioned in 1988 by the Swiss Brass Band Association, James Curnow’s Trittico for Brass Band was first performed at the Swiss National Championships of the same year. This Championship-level test piece has been used around the world for various contests including the Grand Shield (1990), North American Championships (1996) and most recently at the SEWBBA Contest in 2018.

The title of the work ‘Trittico’ or indeed ‘Triptych’, are usually a collection of three works of arts based on a common theme. The commonality between the three variations in Trittico is the American hymn ‘Consolation’. Although played through, there are three distinct variations in this work, which all present the hymn in a very different light.



Ghosts, Goblins, Witches & Wizards (Darrol Barry)

Published by Obrasso Verlag

> Movement I - Ghosts

Ghosts opens with a Solo Horn introducing the first theme. The tempo is quite slow and the music mysterious. A second theme is heard on Solo Cornets marked 'doloroso' which is in turn taken up by the Euphoniums & Baritones. Horns, Basses & Timpani usher in a more agitated central section which in turn gives way to music from the opening, but only for a short while as the faster agitated music returns. The movement ends as it started but the first theme is heard quietly in 4 octaves, however the Cornets and Trombones shatter the mood with a loud shot chord.

> Movement II - Goblins

The ghost of Grieg pervades the movement with its quirky harmony and mood. Although mostly quiet the music does have its imposing moments especially in the central section.

> Movement III – Witches

A swirling satanic scherzo in which the Basses try to avoid playing a typical bass line by avoiding the first beat for most of the time. After a short, loud introduction the main theme is heard first on Horns, supported by chattering Cornets and then taken up by the full Band.  A central section features the Cornet back row with interjections from Trombones & Basses.

> Movement IV – Wizards

These are not the lovable, bumbling wizards of Disney cartoons but rather the power behind the throne, with their mysterious incantations and dramatic explosive spells. The Trombones feature quite heavily on the main driving theme and its counter melody. A short fugato section attempts to portray the wizard with his fantastic spells and potions.



Sinfonietta (Horovitz)

Published by Studio Music

Sinfonietta was written in 1970, published the following year, and used as test piece for the Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in 1972. It was his first work for Brass Band, and he later rescored it for orchestra: 'legitimate orchestra' as he called it.

The first movement, Allegro, is in sonata form, though the second subject is an emerging variant form of the first. The second movement, Lento moderato, is based on a hymn-tune, which Horovitz says he heard in a dream. The morning after, he looked in various hymn-books to see what it might be, couldn't find it, and came to the conclusion that he must have composed it himself! Its principal interest is harmonic, and it exploits the sustaining quality of the lower instruments of the band. The finale, A Con brio, is a rondo on a rather cheeky theme, which is always treated in its basic triads.

The work has become a popular classic with bands and audiences alike.



New Beginnings (Frederik Schjelderup)

Published by Prima Vista Musikk

New Beginnings was commissioned by the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain

and was first performed by The National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain in August 2021. It describes in sonic terms the effect that energy can create, both musically and emotionally. Here, in a burst of vibrant rhythmic patterning, and dedicated to the young players of this famous brass band, New Beginnings is born.

There are three sections. From the start, it is driven by the percussion section, who push the energy through a sequence of mysterious and joyous moments. After a sonorous climax, the music subsides to a slower, romantic middle section where the earlier rhythmic energy is transformed into melodic playing from the brass. As the Finale begins, earlier themes are combined, first with a fugato which passes the melodies around the band and then unites in a recapitulation that brings the whole composition to a rousing finish as the romantic hymn makes a final appearance.