The Certamen International of Valencia

The Certamen International de Bandas de Música "Ciudad de Valencia" is an annual competition for concert bands held in July.

It is sponsored by the provincial government and includes prizes up to about $12,000 for the first prize in the top category.

The competition has been going on for over one-hundred years. The first Certamen was held in 1886 to help celebrate the July Fair of Valencia. During the first years the bands were in two categories: one category for Military bands where these were "exhibition bands" and considered professional bands so there were no prizes awarded in this category. The second category was for "civil bands" where there were prizes. The prize that year went to the Sociedad Musical La Primativa de Carlet when Joaquin Guillomina directed the band in a transcription of William Tell by Rossini.

It used to be that many of the competing bands would only play pasodobles and Zarzuelas, but as the competition became more pronounced between the bands, the literature became more and more profound and technically challenging. It is now not uncommon to hear transcriptions of Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" in these competition. In 1997 the three competing bands in the top category played Bela Bartok's "Concerto for Orchestra", Bartok's "Miraculous Manderin" and Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 1".

There are five sections of competition, selected by size of band. The highest section "Sección de Honor" includes bands up to one-hundred sixty performers. In each of the five sections there is an obligatory composition that is sometimes commissioned especially for the Certamen. Many of these pieces are included in this research. Each band also has a "Obre libre" a piece of their own choice. Is is a tradition that during the last two nights of the competition, that the bands also play a pasodoble. The last two nights are held out of doors in the "Plaza de Toros" (the bullring of Valencia) where the earlier competitions are held in the Palau de la Musica, which is the formal concert hall in Valencia.

In past years the band societies of Valencia would encourage the band to compete almost every year. It is now common for the most active bands to compete about every three years. This is because the repertoire for competition has become so difficult and the preparation as become much more time consuming.

It is common for a band to start preparation for the July Certamen in February. A common rehearsal schedule would be for the band to rehearse four nights a weeks from February until the middle May. From about the middle of May until July there would be a rehearsal every night. Extra rehearsals for sectionals are very common. It is not common to have an assistant conductor to help with rehearsals, so the conductor from February until the Certamen in the middle of July is very busy.

In 2000 there were twenty-eight one bands competing. To give an example of the caliber of this competition, the bands of 2000 with the competing works are listed below.

Friday June 30, 2000 Sección Tercera (up to sixty performers)
Obligatory composition Corregudes de Joles

by Salvador Giner

Unión Musical Santa Cecilia de Landete (Cuenca, Spain) 
         Obra libre: Armenian Dances - Alfred Reed
Complesso Bandistico "G. Verdi" de Aci S. Antonio (Ct). Italy
Obra libre: "La Forza del Destino" Verdi (arr. Cesaromo)
Sociedad Musical "Santa Mº Magdalena" de Novelda (Alicante, Spain)
Obra Libre: "El Camino-Real" Alfred Reed
Sociedad Unión Musical "Virgen de Gracia" de Chella (Valencia, Spain)
Obra Libre: "Reminiscencia Gitano" André Waignein
Ateneo Instructivo Musical Giner de Llaurí (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: "Orpheus Overture" Offenbach
Sociedad Artistica y Cultural Unión Musical de Benetusser (Valencia, Spain)
Obra Libre: The Planets - Holst (arr. Smith)
             Mvt. 1 - Mars
             Mvt. 4 - Jupiter
Sociedad Musical "Giuseppe Verdi" de Ciudad de Biella (Italy)
Obra libre: "The Year of the Dragon" Sparke
Sociedad Unión Musical de Massarrojos (Valencia, Spain)
Obra Libre: "Praise Jerrusalem" Alfred Reed
Saturday July 1, 2000
Sección Segunda (up to sixty performers) "Legendes" Francisco Bort Ramón
         Banda de la Academis de Música "Euterpe" Canicattini Bagni (Italy)
Obra libre: "Gullimaufry"  Guy Woolfenden
Körösparti Fúvósegyüttes, Bekescsaba (Hungary)
Obra libre: "Suite" Hidas Frygies
Ateneo Musical "La Lira" de Corbera (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: "La Sombra del Cruzado" de Ferrer Ferran
Unión Musical de Petrer (Alicante, Spain)
Obra libre: "Jerico" Morton Gould
Sunday July 2, 2000 Sección Primera (up to ninety performers) Obligatory composition Tormenta del Desierto by Ferrer Ferran
         Banda de Música de Almaty (Republic of Kazakstan)
Obra libre: "Idee Fixe" on the monogram A.C.H.M.E.D.  - Adil Bestybaev
Banda Sinfónica de la Unión Artistisca Musical de Montroy (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: "Belkis, Regina de Saba" 1 Suite - Respighi
Agrupación Musical do Rosal (Pontevedra)
Obra libre: Symphony #2 - John Barnes Chance
Centro Musical Paternense, de Paterna (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: "Lochinvar" James Curnow
Agrupació Filharmonica Borrianenca, de Borriana (Castellón, Spain)
Obra libre: "Symphonie" de Ida Gotkovsky
         1. Lento
         2. Finale
Centro Instructive de Arte y Cultura de Vall D'Uixó (Castellón, Spain)
Obra libre: "Homenaje a J. Sorolla" Bernardo Adam Ferrero
Friday July 7, 2000 Sección Especial (up to one-hundred twenty performers) Obligatory composition Entornos by Amando Blanquer Ponsoda commissioned especially for the 2000 Certamen
         Banda Sinfónica de la Universidad de Kanagawa (Japan)
Obra libre: "The Pines of Rome" Respighi (trans. Duker)
Sociedad Musical "La Primativa Setabense" Xátiva (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: "Symphonic Metamorphosis" - Hindemith
Banda de Música Miraflores-Gibraljaire de la Sociedad Cultural Musical 
"Nuestra Señora de los Angeles" Malaga, Spain)
Obra libre: "The Firebird Suite" - Stravinsky
Sociedad Musical "Santa Cecilia" de Requena (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Symphony #4 - G. Mahler
          Mvt. 4
Sociedad Musical "Santa Cecilia" de Alcacer (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: "Belkis, Regina de Saba" Suite 1 - Respighi (trans. Sanjajaime)
Saturday July 8, 2000 Sección de Honor (up to one-hundred sixty performers) Obligatory composition "Tierra Mitica" by Bernardo Adam Ferrero commissioned especially for the 2000 Certamen
Societat Instructiva Unió Musical de Tavernes de la Valldigna (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Symphony #11 - D. Shostakovich (trans. Moreno)
       Allegro Final
Banda Sinfónica de la Societat Musical D'Alzira (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: "Raices" Musica para un aniversario - Juan J. Colomer
      1. Sin Compás - Moderato-Vivo
      2. Adagio
      3. Presto
Unió Musical de Lliria (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: "The Maraculous Mandarin" B. Bartok

In 1997 there were forty one bands competing. The bands of 1997 with the competing works are listed below.

Friday July 4, 1997 Sección Tercera (up to sixty performers)
Obligatory composition Una noche in Calatayud by P. Luna
Sociedad Musical "Eslava" de Albuixech (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Suite Alicantina by Ricardo Dorado
Complesso Bandistico "Giusepe Verdi" di Galati Mamertino (Italy)
Obra libre: Scena al Castello by Francesco Marsili
Unión Musical de Egea do los Caballeros (Zaragoza, Spain)
Obra libre: Othello by Alfred Reed
Sociedad Atlántida de Matamá, Mantamá-Vigo (Pontevedra)
Obra libre: Poet and Peasant by Franz Von Suppé
Sociedad Artístico Musical de Castellnovo (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Theatre Music by Phillip Spark
Sociedad Ateneo Musical de Cocentaina (Alicante, Spain)
Obra libre: Spartacus by Jan Van der Roost
Unión Musical Alcublana de Alcublas (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Weber
Sociedad Musica "La Familiar" de Benisanó (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Alternances by André Waigneim
Associazione "Vicenzo Bellini" de Buccheri-Siracusa (Italy)
Obra libre: March Slav by Peter I. Tchaikowsky
Makói Magan Zeneiskola Koncerts Fuvoszenekara (Hungary)
Obra libre: The Undanced Ballet by Hidas Frigyes
Special Guest Band (not in competition):
Banda de Música "Giuseppe Verdi" de S. Andrea Frius. Calgari (Italy)
Mambo Sambo by Pérez Prado
Indiana Jones by John Williams
Boogie Blues by Camparelli
Utopia by Jacob de Jan
Saturday July 5, 1997
Sección Segunda (up to sixty performers) Obligatory composition 1935 by Miguel Assins Arbo
Unión Musical de Valladares, Valladares (Vigo)
Obra libre: Caprichio Español by Rimsky-Korsakov
Lungegaarden Musikkorps de Bergen (Norway)
Obra libre: Overture to a New Age by Jan de Haan
Associació Musical "El Verger" de Verger (Alicante, Spain)
Obra libre: Boris Godunof by Modest Moussorgsky
Ateneu Musical Sdad. Cultural de Albalat de la Ribera (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Fourth Symphony by Alfred Reed
Centre Artistic Cultural "Verge de la Pau" de Agost (Alicante, Spain)
Obra libre: The Year of the Dragon by Phillip Spark
Sociedad Musical "La Esperanza" de San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante, Spain)
Obra libre: Pushing the Limits by Hardy Mertens
Sociedad Musical "La Paz" de Siete Aguas (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Robin Hood by Michael Kamen
Societe Musical Harmoni de Digoin (France)
Obra libre: Les Papillons by Coby Lankester
Asociación Musical Moteña - Mota del Cuervo (Cuenca, Spain)
Obra libre: Sinfonía Sevillana by Joaquín Turina
Special Guest Band (not in competition)
Brass Band Uri (Switzerland)
Confections for Brass by Goff Richards
Trumpet Blues and Cantable by James & J. Mathias
The Scarecrow and Mrs. King by Rubinstein
Teddy Bears Picnic by W. Bratton
La Haute Sur la Montagne Swiss traditional
Alphorn-Solo by Alan Fernie
Sheperdess of the Alps by Rossini
Kraken by Chis Hazel
River Dance by Bill Wihelan
Granada by Agustín

Sunday July 6, 1997 Sección Primera (up to ninety performers) Obligatory composition Tres Piezas by I. Albeniz
Pecsi Vasutas Koncert Fuvoszenekara (Hungary)
Obra libre: A Last Message from Maestro Tschaikowsky by Kamilló Lendvay
Sociedad Unión Artística Musical de Onteniente (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: The Year of the Dragon by Philip Sparke
Ateno Musical "Schola Cantorum" de Vall d'Uxo (Castellón, Spain)
Obra libre: Belkis, La Reina de Saba by Ottorino Respighi
Sociedad Unión Musical Artística de Sax (Alicante, Spain)
Obra libre: Prise Jerusalem by Alfred Reed
Special Guest Band (not competing)
Unidad de Música del Cuartel General de la Fuerza de Maniobra, Valencia
Marcha Lorenesa by Louis Ganne
El Petit Adolfin by Amando Blanquer
3 Zapfenstreiche by Ludwig Van Beethoven
Introducción y Marcha by Miguel Asins Arbó
Valencia, canta! by Jose Serrano
Vals para Trombón by E. Löffler
Libre Salvador González
Friday July 11, 1997 Sección Especial (up to one-hundred twenty performers) Obligatory composition Obertura para un Certenario by Raphael Talens commissioned especially for the 1997 Certamen
Agrupación Musical "La Amistad" de Quart de Poblet (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: El Pavo Real by Zoltan Kodaly
Unión Musical Utielana de Utiel (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Suite Hebraica transcribed by Miguel Gonzales
Banda Municipal "Manuel de Falla" de Alcorcón (Madrid, Spain)
Obra libre: Sinfonía Brevis by Zdenek Lukás
Unión Musical de Carlet (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Roman Festival by Ottorino Respighi
Banda Primativa de Paiporta (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Homenaje a Joaquín Sorolla by Bernardo Adam Ferrero
Special Guest Band (not competing)
Banda de la Real Fuerza Aérea (Holland)
Oktagon by J. Pommer
Prelude Fugue and Riffs by L. Bernstein
Royal Garden Blues arranged by R. Pronk
Flight of the Bumble Bee arranged by Waarsenburg
Fiesta arranged by J. Pommer

Saturday July 12, 1997 Sección de Honor (up to one-hundred sixty performers) Obligatory composition Fantasía para Banda Sinfónica by Francisco Grau Vegara
Banda Sinfónica Unión Musical de Lliria (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Concerto for Orchestra Mvt 3, 4, & 5 by Bela Bartok
Unión Musical de Torrente (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: The Miraculous Manderin by Bela Bartok
Sociedad Musical Instructiva "Santa Cecilia" de Cullera (Valencia, Spain)
Obra libre: Symphony Nº 1 Mvt 4 by Gustav Mahler


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