Indeed a strange title which amused us young banders back in 1974/5 in Liverpool as members of the British Rail Edge Hill Brass Band under the baton of the local peri brass teacher (who we had all grown up with) Bob Dean.
Indeed a strange title which amused us young banders back in 1974/5 in Liverpool as members of the British Rail Edge Hill Brass Band under the baton of the local peri brass teacher (who we had all grown up with) Bob Dean. Bob started the cornet in typical brass band tradition in the Dean family via The Sailors Chappell Band close to the river mersey in Dingle Liverpool 8 (TV series “Bread” Street) then he moved on to the Camel Lairds Band (which was a docks company loading and unloading the ships Birkenhead) and then Fodens in the mid/late 60’s.
Traditions are brought to the stand often by playing MD’s of how they were dragged up through their early years of banding thus having an affinity with certain works that bring back fond memories and learning curves. Out of many pieces Bob brought to the stand, inc. Le Domino Noir, Le Roi d’Ys, Marinarella, Florentiner (a few decades before “Brassed-Off”) Robert The Devil, The Tops, Al Johnson Memories (yak), Hootenanny, 40 Fathoms, March Slav, Night On A Bare Mountain, Les Preludes, Bouquet de Paris, Bandology, High School Cadets, Brilliant March, – AND, strange above strange one night! “Samum” hit the stand.
Weird, wonderful, surprising, awkward slurred arpeggios, hard harmonic gear shifts per bar? Loved it, and so decades later I tried via the same tradition with bands to put it on the stand when I was conducting. The only thing I saw as a drawback was the absence of a full score; all there was available a short piano score sometimes on 4 staves with cues for reeds, strings, perc which meant there was a degree of open choice to players and MD. So, as of late, I decided to go into deep research and try to revive its popularity by providing a full score to bands with or without a copy with some minor choices/optional changes gained from my research.
First hurdle, I could not get my hands on a short score/the score, bands I approached only had a solo cornet single cue copy. Other copies to track were in the British Library and the New Zealand National Library & both not open to any cooperation! So the thinking cap was sought!
Next: Research recordings of both brass bands and A N others original dance band, after all it was conceived as a dance number from 1934 where the Foxtrot and dance “orchestras” were all the rage and played everywhere and anywhere! So, is it that the brass band was following this trend of music like it has done through the ages due to lack of original music, undoubtedly YES!
The Recordings other than brass bands:
Henry Hall and his orchestra: Very up tempo and does not follow the score as in sections we know. Full dance band/reeds/brass/piano, drum set, banjo. 1935. His recordings turn up on YouTube several times.
There are also other versions and live t-boot, which often omits the arpeggiated sections completely! There are versions where the entire tune from the start is harmonised and the drums (kit) (of course for the dance) play throughout the entire piece.
Reginald Dixon Blackpool Tower piano and Wurlitzer 1943. A sedate/slow foxtrot tempo but plays it exactly (or as we know), plus some florid obligato arpeggios from the piano in the major key sections. And, some harmonisation in the soli trombone section tune awards the end.
Given that the foxtrot has been around since early 1914 and the world danced to it, there were established tempo’s accepted by the dancing public, a minim/half note. BPM = 112 to 120/124.
Eventually, I was able to lay my hands on a full/short score (and original from 1934) and set of parts. Piano, harmonium, banjo, drums inc. glock, flute, oboe, 2 x Clarinet, strings x 3 1st types of vln, 2nd vln, cello and bass no viola, brass 3 x tpt and trombone, sax Eb & tenor Bb and soprano sax in Bb. So, I’m now able to see in full, what’s what, who plays what, and via recordings who’s left what out and added in? We now come to the brass band renditions on record!
There are 5 brass band recordings to listen to on YouTube.
Needless to say we vary in tempi, and some bands are even in old (sharp) pitch too! But the band versions seem to have adapted “bits” that either do not appear in the score or appear on any of the original Dance Orchestra recordings of the time or even more recent renditions?
Similarities are in BB versions: No deviation from the form at all, or instrumentation lines, but the occasional choice of a mute in the cornet’s on a repeat section just to change timbre is there. Occasional cornet lines added to what was only in the middle band in some recordings and score. Here’s the strange one, in all the brass band recordings there’s a sop obligato more than half way through (in fact bars (131-138 & repeated 143-150 & in this new score between H & I) which doesn’t appear in the original score or the parts or in any other instrumental recordings of the dance band type. One can only assume that this repeated passage needed added interest, so, someone has added it in early days and this has been handed down through the banding circle’s as verbatim?
It’s hard to call this a true “arrangement” (perhaps a restoration project for survival of the piece) as I have tried to notate in full score what brass bands have chosen to play from the short score in times past which seems to be universal with slight deviations which I have pointed out. Other reasons why I’ve laboured (of love) is because, it’s out of print, many new bands won’t have a copy, most surviving parts are solo cornet photocopies which in turn means it’s not being played any more and will die out.
To help the repetitions of the same sections I have slightly changed the colour and timbre but not taking away from the original I have given new choices/options/added harmonies in the score to add or not, (your choice).
And now, most important, the title?
Translation = Dust or sand-carrying desert winds in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Phil Lawrence August 2022.https://youtu.be/c_tj74zmr_E
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