::Contestants of the competition::
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(posted on 1st August in Multiply)
Just for those who can't reach the Multiply site, I post it here.
The SBP wind orchestra competition 2006 was held successfully in Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, with its lavish and formal lounge suit theme.
Supposedly to be ‘exposed internationally’, it was included as one of the agendas in the ISME conference, hosted by the country for this year.
In my own humble opinion [since when did I get humble?], the biggest flaw of the competition is the existence of very bad sound system. As usual, they used a few microphones to be put at the sides of the orchestra and the results was horrible. Luckily they did not use ten microphones, one for each section like the UM Symphony Orchestra had to face all the time.
Secondly, the whole SBP wind orchestra scene really have a lot to catch up. Having this competition being exposed to the international professional view was really embarrassing. Two rows of foreigners immediately left the hall after the first two schools performed. Even the winner of this competition can be considered as a normal average band; nothing spectacular there.
However. Like many people would google and anticipate for, here’s my review on the bands which performed during the competition:
Sekolah Dato Abdul Razak
Good, clean playing. They performed Corsair’s Landing up to the requirements expectations. [I kena geli with Mahathir Lokman’s description of the song is about bird. It’s a ship, okay]. However, next year they should go a few steps further by selecting something more impressing than this piece. They have the potential.
As for the supposedly jazz Tanah Pusaka, Raymond Kong’s Malay arrangements are by default horrible. His clarinet playing in the NSO is weak especially his tongueing and he SLUMP on the chair instead of sitting straight, but that is totally out of the point. Anyway, the school’s effort of playing has still not made the arrangement sound nice either.
Sekolah Tun Fatimah
Again the school changed the timing of the James Swearingen piece ala-ikut-suka-hati, and it sounded weird. Balancing, I expected to be good, but the stupid microphones were emphasizing the brass amateur tone, especially the slightly blaring trumpets. It was quite disappointing.
As for the Malay song, another weird arrangement, and the end climax was cut abruptly and I am really, really, really disturbed by that. An attempt of trying to do a classical-theme of Malay piece but it was a failure.
Sekolah Seri Puteri
Here we go again, the Candide Overture. The band should dare themselves to be compared to the same song performed by other good orchestras. They were loud, I almost thought that they are going to march down the stage and do a marching band formation. Bring out your colour guards, girls! Their tempo was still slow, and their imperfect tone made the song sound funny in a ‘bozzo’ way instead of cute in a grandeur way. Choose a different song already if you can’t play.
Malay piece? Raymond Kong, enough said.
Kolej Tunku Kurshiah
Whatever happened? The microphones were really emphasizing their out-of-pitch. The horns were like arguing with each other with their bad tuning. It was a disaster. My goodness, and to expose yourselves internationally. I don’t care about the dynamics, or the song selection, or the interpretation or whatsoever if at the first place you do not do your tuning.
Oh dear, I was told that they so-called tuned themselves outside the tuning room, where all the bands were busy warming up. How can you tune when the place is noisy la. Go inside the room la.
Malay piece: Fantasia Ulek Mayang. Gosh. It’s already 2006! Please, help this school. They have the potential, at least their sound projection is strong, don’t give them a joke like this. What was the instructor thinking?
Sekolah Alam Shah
If seen internationally, this team is still mediocre. Even if you compare them to the Singapore bands.
But they deserved to win because of the perfect cautiously sound balancing been done between each sections. Salute to the ex-students who polished up the trumpet section, now that they have the endurance, and the better tone, instead of blaring and lose their energy after a few minutes of performing.
Relatively compared with other SBP orchestras, they played both songs up to the requirements, even though these pieces were not easy. It was a clever song selection for the band. Both pieces were not low graded and still feasible for the players, provided that they have sufficient practice, and they did.
This school has undergo phases of refining in their playing, to the extent of clashing of ideas among the tutors in giving what’s best for them to deliver their pieces.
So the results was a very different performance being given on the final day, and they got the trophy again.