My new euphonium concerto, titled Origins, was premièred on May 6th 2012 in The Haidian Theatre, Beijing, by Marco Schneider (euphonium) and Dunshan Symphonic Wind Orchestra, conducted by Adrian Schneider, who commissioned the work.
This is the live recoding of the premiere, and there is further information about the piece below.
Origins is in three movements, with each movement having a different subject matter, all linked by the idea of origins: the first movement refers to musical origins; the second to the origins of life; and the final movement to the space exploration – the research of all origins.
The first movement is based on a short motif, heard in the first three notes the soloist plays. These three notes cover the interval of a minor third (an interval that often plays a crucial role in my music) on which the whole concerto is built. The soloist and accompaniment interplay freely throughout the opening section, before an ostinato accompaniment appears in the woodwinds – over which the soloist sounds a long legato melody. A short cadenza follows and a return to the opening material leads the movement to an end.
The second movement, titled Harry’s Song, is – as tradition dictates – a slow movement. Happy and reflective in nature, the main melody was written on the evening that my closest friend, Mark Bousie (a fine euphoniumist himself), and his wife Jayne, had their first child – Harry Bousie. It seemed only fitting that this song should be written for Harry in celebration.
The final movement brings me back to a lifelong fascination with space, and in this particular movement, the Space Shuttle Discovery. Having completed 39 missions (including flying the Hubble telescope in to orbit), and spent a total of 365 days in space, SS Discovery made its final voyage in 2011 and was taken to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. in April 2012. This final movement, titled Discovery, pays tribute to the great shuttle whose missions inspired millions across the generations.
Origins was commissioned by Marco Schneider, Adrian Schneider and the Dunshan Wind Orchestra, Beijing, China.