There are several premieres coming in the next few months…
Commissioned by Jacques Mauger, with funds provided by the Buffet Group, Journey is a 20 minute concerto for trombone and wind orchestra. It will receive it’s world premiere at the World Band Festival, held in Lucerne, Switzerland on Sunday 21 September.
Jacques will be accompanied by L’orchester d’harmonie de la Republican Guard (Paris), who will be directed by their Principle Conductor, François Boulanger.
The first movement is an up-tempo tour de force for the soloist; jazz and funk influences keeping it rhythmically intense and full of momentum. The second movement is a slow, lyrical movement – gradually evolving from the opening phrases. The final movement again finds more influences from jazz and funk, alongside rock music. Again testing the soloist to their extremes, the final movement ends with a rousing climax.
I had previously worked with Jacques on a commission 10 years ago – Elegie, for trombone and brass quintet. Am very much looking forward to hearing the new work!
More details about the concert here
Letters for Home
Letters for Home is a three movement work, commissioned by East Lancashire Concert Band with support from Arts Council England, to commemorate the start of the First World War, and the role played in the war by the ‘Accrington Pals’. Before each movement a reading should be made – these may be a letter sent from The Front, WW1 poetry, thoughts and reflections recorded elsewhere, or new words, written by local poets, school children or others.
Whilst specifically concerned with the First World War, each of the work’s movements broadly outlines emotions that would form part of any soldiers lives during any war – and as such, performances of this work can easily be adapted to reflect other wars both modern and historical, and locally sourced words for the readings is highly encouraged.
The first movement, “The Bittersweet Love Song” is the story of a soldier saying goodbye to his loved one before leaving for war. The opening passages are of the soldier, perhaps putting to the back of his mind the danger he is facing, singing a love song to his wife or girlfriend. In the following passages we hear his loved one singing “I love you”, played by the flute section.
We again hear the soldier singing – this time with more of a sense of what lies ahead for him, but now the response is further away as they gradually move more distant from each other. The movement ends without conclusion, but with chords for the soldier’s song played hauntingly over the percussion.
The second movement, “The Trench”, is more self-explanatory. It combines bravado in the percussion opening with the whole band coming together as one – as a unit, before again we hear fear and trepidation in the brass, once more failing to reach a resolution. Perhaps the thoughts of the soldier are interrupted as the percussion once more calls the men to arms. The movement ends with gun shots in the percussion.
The final movement, “In Memory”, opens with a repetition of the love song from the opening movement, before a slow lament, again never resolving, is heard. It keeps finding a new key, a new place, intending to represent the cyclical nature of war, and again without resolution, suggesting that war is also often that way.
Letters for Home is dedicated to Ian McGuinness, who’s support, enthusiasm, and shear hard work led to this work being commissioned and performed, and to the East Lancashire Concert Band, who will give the premiere on 27 September 2014, at the Town Hall, Accrington, home of the Accrington Pals.
Music for an Occasion
Broadly in three a joining movements, Music for an Occasion has been written to celebrate the opening of the new building at Arch Bishop Beck School, Liverpool. The first and last are the same musical material – it opens with workman sounds (metallic percussion), representing building, but leaves is left suspended harmonically at the end of the movement.
The middle movement is a hymn (with optional singing part), and is followed by a return to the “building” sounds, this time resolving with everyone playing together in unison.
Music for an Occasion was commissioned by Bruce Hicks and Arch Bishop Beck School, Liverpool and will receive its premiere on 3 October 2014.
Images of Tewkesbury
Images of Tewkesbury is an 8 movement work for brass band, junior brass band, children’s choir and adult choir, all centred around the British town of Tewkesbury. With words by Brenda Read-Brown (specifically commissioned for this work), the 8 movements chronicle important historical moments in the town, the floods that affect the area still today, the Abbey, the old industries and the celebration, in memoriam, of one of Tewkesbury’s most significant musical figures, Miles Amherst.
The première of Images of Tewkesbury will take place at Tewkesbury Abbey, 25 October 2014