The Japan Ground Self-Defence Force Central Band the 166th Regular Concert of the Central Band was held on 2nd June at Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre.
I transcribed Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 3 Pastoral Symphony for this concert.
The music is quite far from standard band music. Actually, I was said if it’s possible to perform by a wind band. The transcribing itself was the most difficult ever I’ve experienced. Howevey, I was satisfied when I attended the rehearsal in which the super-plays of the band members certainly make it sound like the piece and knew that my score met a certain standard.
The beautiful sound of RVW’s symphony orned with the nice acoustic of the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre. The band members were required to keep extremely delicate control for 35 minutes. Their skilful technique and ensemble ability made the music perfectly nice! COL Higuchi’s tempo setting was very suitable for the band performance.
Some audience and band members gave me high opinions of my score after the performance, which is my delight!
This year is the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The harmonic series of the bugle is used in the piece, and the solo soprano appears in the last movement. Additionally, it is said that this symphony is an elegy for WW I, which overlaps with the Russian-Ukrainian War (in fact, the arrival of the original score was delayed due to the war). The Central Band’s performance of this piece today was meaningful and significant, I think.
Musically, it could be said that it was an opportunity to expand the range of possibilities for musical expression in terms of orchestral transcriptions played by military bands in the 21st century.
Actually, mistakes were found in my score during the rehearsals and earlier. After submitting the score, COL Higuchi carefully checked it, and the band members corrected them without any unpleasantness and even pointed out some discords. I’m truly grateful for their support and kindness!
As it’s quite a long piece. Also, the orchestration is very complex, hence Finale playback is almost useless. From my previous experience, I anticipated that there would be a certain amount of transcription errors. Fortunately, I found a very powerful proofreader who checked the score very speedy and accurately. Thanks to her, the rehearsals went pretty smoothly. She is surely an unsung heroine of this project.
I would like to express my gratitude to all from the bottom of my heart.
As an arranger, I thought I would never have the chance to score any ‘symphony’ in my career, but this time I was given the opportunity to do it for the regular concert of the central military band, which is one of the supreme stages. Furthermore, it was the very first band performance of the symphony in the world to be accredited by the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Society, Great Britain, which is a great honour for me as well.
Again, I am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity. Thank you very much!
I’ll write down my impressions of the entire concert through another medium.