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Written as part of the 250 year celebrations of Mozart’s birth (1756), this is a solo guaranteed to please an audience, and be an enjoyable challenge to perform. Originally commissioned by and dedicated to Steven Mead, he described the work as “…Requiem Paraphrases will probably turn out to be regarded as perhaps the most important work for euph and brass ensemble ever composed…simply magnificent and if Mozart were alive today he would have enjoyed the funky middle section, I’m sure.”
Requiem Paraphrases uses the opening bars of Mozart’s Requiem as its musical material for the whole piece. An aggressive opening is followed by a sounding of Mozart’s original theme, in a setting for low brass and solo euphonium. Percussion and woodwind then enter, as the soloist begins to elaborate. A brief return to the opening is followed by a new, percussion driven, section.
The euphonium and various soloists in the ensemble interact, exchanging ideas over an ostinato in the marimba. As this section continues towards the cadenza, the ensemble gradually takes on more of an accompanying role, leaving the soloist to again break free, with flourishes and gestures leading to the cadenza.
Following this, there is a short recapitulation, before the euphonium brings us to a dramatic conclusion!
Requiem Paraphrases was commissioned by, and dedicated to Steven Mead.