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Stanwick Brass Band Contest 1882

Wellingborough News, 9th September 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins

The following correspondence appears in the current issue of Wright & Round's Brass Band News:—Dear Sir,—Will you kindly allow a short space in your valuable journal for the insertion of this letter in reference to the above contest. Perhaps you remember the selection chosen by the contest committee as the test piece, "The Siege of Rochelle," arranged by H. Round and supplied to the competing bands by you. What I more especially want to know is whether the 3rd movement should have been played 126 minims (as marked) or 126 crotchets? My band played it as marked by you; the other three bands, Kettering, Nottingham and Derby, played it 126 crotchets. Certainly one or the other is wrong. Here the question arises, which of the two is the proper time? Will you kindly supply the much needed information for the satisfaction of myself and the public generally. Through the neglect of someone the judge was not supplied with a copy of the music until the contest was about to commence. Then Mr. W. V. Scholes (conductor for the Kettering and Derby bands) handed his copy to the judge, and for some reason he (Mr. Scholes) had altered the metronome mark set to the 3rd movement making it read 126 crotchets instead of 126 minims as originally marked, and no doubt the judge would take his mark as the proper one. If you will publish this, together with your reply, I shall esteem it a great favour.—I remain, yours truly, W. SKINNER, Bandmaster, Temperance Band, Rushden, Northamptonshire. — [The proper time of the movement referred to, according to the best authorities is 126 minims, as marked; and to alter it to 126 crotchets betrays either gross ignorance or presumptuous self-esteem, both of which are equally to be censured. According to the judge's opinion, only one baud played the movement the correct time, but this band, although excellently led, did not contain sufficient merit to warrant more than 3rd prize.— Editor B. B. N.]

Considerable surprise is felt that the judge made no reference in the remarks with which, he accompanied his decision to the very serious error fallen into by three of the bands. The merits and defects of the various bands were pointed out with considerable detail, and it appears unaccountable that the 3rd movement, which was the most difficult, should have been passed without comment.

Wellingborough News, 9th September 1882

A National Temperance jubilee celebration took place on Tuesday at the Crystal Palace. In spite of unfavourable weather, the gathering was very successful, between 50,000 and 60,000 persons visiting the Palace. Several foreign delegates were present. In the course of the day a telegram of loyal greeting was sent to the Queen, who telegraphed her thanks.

Wellingborough News, 23rd September 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins


DEAR SIR, — Referring to the correspondence hereon, published in your issue of the 9th inst., I beg your indulgence to make a few remarks on the subject. To deal first with the 3rd movement in the "Siege of Rochelle," I did not place any marks on any copy whatever. My deputy, Mr. A. R. Seddon, has all arrangements and the details of contesting matters to attend to. My duty is to conduct the band at the contest. The metronome marks were not upon my copy at all. On being applied to I handed my copy over for the use of the judge, which he returned, and asked for one with the metronome marks on. Mr. Seddon thereupon gave me his copy which I handed to the judge. You will therefore see as far as I am personally concerned I was in no way answerable as to the metronome marks in the 3rd movement.

The same selection was sent out a few weeks previous to the Stanwick Contest for a contest at Long Eaton, when the following bands competed:—Sutton-in-Ashfield, Long Eaton Temperance, Biddulph, Belper United, and Ecclesfield Bands. Without exception they played the 3rd movement 126 crotchets. Mr. J. S. Jones, who is as great an authority as anyone connected with the Brass Band News, made no comment on the tempo of the piece, and surely he would have done so had it been necessary. He did comment upon the errors in the selection, which should have been corrected by the Editor before being sent out. The Liverpool publishers give as their authority Mr. Carl Rosa. Of course he may play the movement as best suits his artistes, and the professional orchestra in connection with his very fine Opera Company; but are there any marks on the scores of the opera as to what tempo this movement is to be played? Perhaps Mr. Skinner will get a copy and satisfy himself upon this point. The Rushden Band played the selection in a creditable manner save the 3rd movement, which was simply ridiculous. Has Mr. Skinner clarionets who can play the accompaniments at 126 minims to this movement? I think not; at any rate I will be at the trouble to go over and hear it, with a few musical friends, on any occasion Mr. Skinner may appoint to play this movement by Maelzel's metronome at 126 minims. The accompaniments would be sufficient.

Mr. Skinner should avoid showing the public that he cannot brook defeat in the proper spirit. His band is young, and "Try again" should be his motto. Rushing into print will not improve his position at all, nor the ability of his band either, and as he fancies he is a much aggrieved party, I will play the Kettering Band (which only got 4th prize) against the Rushden Band for £10—time and place as may be hereafter arranged.—Yours faithfully,

Bandmaster, 1st Batt. D.R.V.

Wellingborough News, 30th September 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins


DEAR SIR,—With your kind permission, may I venture a few remarks on a letter in your last week's issue from Mr. W. V. Scholes, of Derby, in reference to the above contest.

In the first place I contend that Mr. Scholes entirely misinterpreted the spirit and bearing of my letter to the Brass Band News, as reprinted by you in your edition of the 9th inst. I had hoped to make it apparent to all that my only object in writing to that journal was simply to have their opinion as to whether we were right in playing the third movement of the contest piece as marked, viz., 126 minims. Their reply, so far, was satisfactory, and I should have been content to let the matter rest. Mr. Scholes, however, has thought fit to attack me, and has in one or two instances struck out wildly and quite wide of the mark. Now, sir, as an instance of this I assure you that that it was with no invidious feeling that I mentioned the circumstance of Mr. Scholes having supplied the judge with his own copy of the music. The fault, if any, in this case entirely rested with the Committee of Management, whom one would have thought would have seen that the judge was supplied with a proper score, and as a copy was asked for at the last moment, it was, perhaps, only natural that Mr. Scholes should volunteer the loan of his own. Again, I think it was altogether unnecessary on Mr. Scholes's part to express a desire to hear the performance of the clarionets in this movement at 126 minims; Mr. S. heard it at Stanwick, and characterised it as ridiculous; why then suggest a journey to Rushden to undergo the same infliction. It certainly was a trying performance for these instruments in that quick time, but let Mr. Scholes remember that they were doing their best to execute this piece as sent out and marked by Mr. H. Round, and with all deference to the authorities quoted by Mr. Scholes, I maintain that they, having selected the contest piece, are the only authority that in this instance can be recognised.

I cannot see from what Mr. Scholes infers that I consider myself as a "much aggrieved party," as I have on no occasion complained of the judge's verdict, and as for his challenge to match the Kettering Band against ours I think it is most uncalled for and discourteous proceeding, on his part at all events not displaying that proper spirit of which he complains I am so deficient. Such bombast as this we may sometimes see in the columns of a sporting paper coming from some pugilist who rankles over a thrashing just received, but, it is altogether unbecoming from a gentleman of Mr. Scholes's position.

Begging pardon for such a lengthy intrusion, I am, yours faithfully,

Band Master, Temperance Band, Rushden.

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