Instrumentation: Score; Flugelhorn; Solo E flat Horn; 1st E flat Horn; 2nd E flat Horn; 1 st B flat Baritone; 2nd B flat Baritone; 1st B flat Trombone; 2nd B flat Trombone; Bass Trombone; B flat Euphonium; E flat Bass; B flat Bass; Timpani; Percussion 1; Percussion 2; Percussion 3. Cornets are tacet throughout.
When Thunder Calls was commissioned by Dr Nicholas Childs and the Black Dyke Band for their performance at the Gala Concert of the Swiss Open Championships in September 2011. When composing this piece, I decided to focus on both the music and the stage presentation. The way the piece has been composed and designed makes it a very effective way of starting a concert or a second half of a concert.At the start of the piece, the percussion enter the stage and take their positions in their usual place behind the band. They begin playing the piece without a conductor. They keep repeating the opening section while the Basses, Horns, Baritones and Euphoniums march onto the stage.This group of musicians take their seats with the Horns, Baritones and Euphoniums sitting where they usually sit in the band but the Basses sit where the solo cornets usually sit, forming an inner semi-circle of lower brass. When seated and when the music gets to the end of bar 4 the piece continues onto section A. All performers keep repeating this next 4-bar phrase until the trombones march onto stage and stand at the front of the stage with the Bass Trombone standing in between the other two trombones.All performers then play from figure B to C with the trombones taking the lead at the front. When the performers get to rehearsal figure C they repeat this section (the same as section A) while the trombones move from the front of the stage and take their positions where the Basses would normally sit (between the horns and the percussion) and remain standing. Meanwhile, the flugel enters the stage and stands at the front of the stage (standing where the trombones did). When in position the flugel soloist picks up into rehearsal figure D.When the flugel soloist finishes playing, just before rehearsal figure F they then move to their normal seat in the band. At figure F the cornets march onto the stage from either side, they turn and stand side by side each other facing outward towards the audience forming two ‘fanfare’ lines either side of the lower brass. The conductor follows the cornets on stage and on cue they lift their instruments at the same time and perform when the piece gets to figure G.There is no more moving around from this point on other than the solo cornet to move forward with the solo euphonium and perform their duet at letter H. Also the horns are required to stand and play at letter I and then sit just before J.When performed with all the choreography, this piece makes for an exciting addition to any concert repertoire both for the performer and the audience.Estimated delivery 10-12 days
The Torchbearer was commissioned by Kapitol Promotions and the Federation of Australasian Brass Bands as the test piece for the 2009 National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain and the FABB Open Contest respectively. The commission was initiated by the Federation's Music Advisor, Professor David King, whose support and encouragement for the idea of a piece commemorating the 20th anniversary of Eric Ball's death is greatly appreciated.The variations are based upon the first phrase of the trio from Eric Ball's Salvation Army march, Torchbearers. After opening statements of the theme, variation 1 (an energetic allegro brillante utilising fragment A) commences at bar 35. Cadenza passages for Eb Bass and Euphonium lead to variation 2 (an andante appassionato based upon fragment B) at 104. Variation 3 (142 - a vivace featuring C as an ostinato) is followed at 205 by variation 4, the central andante e sciolto molto for solo cornet (utilising D1 as a counterpoint and D2 as a 2nd phrase).The work culminates at bar 291 in a reprise of the cornet solo, now fully metamorphosised and mirroring in music a concept at the centre of Ball's broader philosophy, that of transformation.I have endeavoured to retain the main compositional characteristics and harmonic flavour of Eric Ball's Salvation Army and contest music. His scoring techniques are a model for any student of the medium and whilst I have aimed for similar colours and clarity of line in texture, concessions have been made in the instrumentation of the 21st century brass band. A slightly more developed percussion section is utilised employing timpani and xylophone in dominant roles.Eric Ball will be remembered as a composer whose classic works for brass shine through with integrity and sincerity. I have been no less sincere in my efforts to pay musical tribute to the 20th century's most influential composer of brass band music.Estimated delivery 10-12 days