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Mr Ray Thompson

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United Kingdom

I was born in 1947 in Gateshead,Tyne & Wear,U.K. As a child I learnt to play both the Piano and French Horn.

I taught piano and brass instruments for many years.

I have been the Band Leader of the Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band since it's inception in 1994.It is based in Alnwick,Northumberland.

I have also been musical director for a lot of amateur stage musicals.

My music is a mixture of all sorts:

Orchestral arrangements/transcriptions of Debussy/Brahms piano pieces.

Some music by Handel arranged for concert/wind band.

I have some original concert band music.

Brass arrangements of the music of William Byrd/Scarlatti/Muffat both for brass quintet and brass choir (dectet).

Wind quintet: I have been arranging music for wind quintet for some years.

My quintet arrangements do not simply transcribe the music giving the top voicing/melody to the flute etc, which many people seem to do. I attempt to move the melody amongst all the players dovetailing it where needed.

I have arranged a mixture of classical, romantic and modern composers

My classical arrangements:

These arrangements of Mozart,Beethoven etc. may differ from other people's wind quintet arrangements.

Neither Mozart nor Beethoven wrote a quintet with the instrumentation that we have today. Their music was written in general for sextet or octet.

It was Anton Reicha's twenty-four quintets, begun in 1811, and the nine quintets of Franz Danzi that established the genre, and their pieces are still standards of the repertoire.

I am a horn player and made the decision to write the horn parts,as far as possible, as Mozart or Beethoven would have written them.(in their sextets/octets etc)

So, the horn parts are written in the key of the piece Eb,G,D,C or whatever, and as far as possible I limit the notes to that of the natural horn (i.e. no valves).

In my opinion this gives a more authentic sound to the music.

Of course, sometimes, if the music needs a particular tenor part/melody or harmony, I will write it for horn. BUT AS FAR AS POSSIBLE, I write for natural horn.

I also provide F horn parts for those players who can't/won't transpose.

I have also noticed that arrangements by other people have the horn player playing fast moving passages in the lower octave.This is difficult to play,doesn't sound very good and doesn't carry!! Far better to give that melody to a low clarinet or the bassoon, or move the melody up an octave.

My arrangements include Schumann's Kinderscenen (scenes from childhood),Mozart's divertimento 8 K 213 (originally written for wind sextet) and all the movts from Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite.

I also play keyboard and was the founder member of the Ray Thompson Big Band playing big band jazz. I am also a member of a Northumberland wind quintet called "Quintessential" I have also number of duets, trios,quartets and quintets.

Finally I intend to upload all the scales and arpeggios for Grades 1 to 5 in respect of the ABRSM exams in the UK (for brass and the more popular wind instruments!!I have uploaded some already.Grades 1/2 are currently free (as at July 2007). There is a small fee for grade 3 upwards.

Score catalogue
Web Links
My You Tube ChannelWeb Page
My personal music blogStill gigging after 60...
Personal web siteRay Thompson Music
Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band Web Page
AlnwicK Playhouse Concert Band Blog
My twitter pageMy tweets:mostly new music
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