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Malcolm Arnold Quintet

This message was contributed by Simon Lenton on 26/2/06.
It was in reply to this message: Malcolm Arnold Quintet
posted by Jim Bulger on 20/2/06.

Hiya Jim. Thanks for your post although it's going to be hard to answer it. I don't know the Canadian Brass arrangement you mention as we never play any of their stuff but I guess from the tone of your post that it's a hard switch. As regards the Arnold 1 slow mvt, well that does have it's pit falls. As is often the case, it's the 'easy' stuff that's the most difficult to pull off. The nasty 8ves at the opening & close between the tuba and horn. Your two guys really have got to lock into each other. It might be worth suggesting to one of them that whatever happens, one stays put and the other tunes to them? You don't what them both pulling around the pitch or it will be all over the place. Equally, I'd aim for a four bar phrase rather than two at the top, followed by a three. I think the tempo has to keep moving whatever. I don't think that playing it as slow as you can will score you extra points - it'll just make your listeners fidget. Pick a speed that enables you to be expressive but intense when the music requires and yet still grabs the audience. You are all 'entertaining' your audience when all said and done and if you lose that, what's the point? Contrasts are important too in that movement. Quite often in gigs, we deliberately push each other with the dynamics making sure the pianos are seriously quiet and the fortissimo at letter L moving to pianissimo eight bars later (letter M) is as extreme as possible. In any event, don't get too bogged down with it - the outer movements are just as important to get right like the Bossa feel at letter E in the last movement or the semi tango style at letter J in the first. You're not packing parachutes - it's not life or death - just enjoy yourselves and you'll win your audience over.

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