Comments from Tim Paton, the arranger of Janacek’s ‘Taras Bulba’: “I will never forget the day in 1967 when I was introduced to the music of Leos Janacek, a Czech composer born in 1854, who died in 1928. Janacek was little known in Britain until the 1960’s, when the conductor Charles Macherras introduced his unique music. I heard a recording of Macherras conducting the Pro Arte Orchestra in a performance of Janacek’s “Sinfonietta”.It was in 1969 that I first heard Janacek’s Symphonic Rhapsody, “Taras Bulba”.Janacek’s music is exciting, powerful, emotive, impassioned and unpredictable.I have taken the first and third movements of this piece, and adapted them for Brass Band, which was at times extremely difficult, but rewarding. It sometimes took up to an hour to be satisfied that a mere several bars had been reproduced to convey the composer’s intentions.The Death of AndriThe Cossaks, under the leadership of Taras Bulba, are fighting against the Poles in the 17th century. Taras’s son Andri seeks to rescue his love, a Polish princess, from a city which is being besieged by the Cossaks. Having found her, he throws in his lot with the Poles, but is finally captured by his father, who executes him as a traitor before riding off again to battle.Prophesy and Death of Taras BulbaTaras himself is finally captured and condemned to be nailed to a tree and burned alive. As the flames creep around him, Taras has the satisfaction of seeing histroops escape, and as he dies, sees a vision of his country freed at last.This is incredibly descriptive music. The mood is constantly changing, creating feelings of love and anger, celebration and melancholy, despair and triumph.This Brass Band EditionThe duration of the original symphonic rhapsody, three movements, is approximately 23 minutes. I chose the first and third movements, so the Brass Band edition is approximately 14 minutes. The main reason is twofold: Being realistic about the demands this music would place on the stamina of the brass player; Keeping the piece less than 15 minutes, so that, if desired, it could be used on the contest platform.Two unique qualities of Janacek’s music had to be taken into account when preparing this brass band version. His compositional technique was individual, at times not sticking to traditional expectations, in both form and orchestration. I imagined what the genius himself would have said looking at my work, and how to tackle a particular section to emulate his original intentions. This was particularly the case when dealing with high woodwind and violin parts, the use of tremolo in string parts, and the orchestral harp.Percussion: Janacek included timpani, side drum, cymbals, triangle and tubular bells. For reasons stated previously, I have also included xylophone and glockenspiel. I have also added the gong in a couple of places to enhance the dramatic effect of the music.