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    Alchymist's Journal. - Kenneth Hesketh

    'The Alchymist's Journal' gets its title from the book of the same name by American author Evan S. Connell. The book fictionalises a number of famous Alchemist's writings, each one developing another's thoughts thuscontinuing one idea but changing it subtly to provide a new view point or way of thinking. This process is, in fact, alchemical as one idea transmutes into another. This idea is parallel to the processes at work within thesevariants. The whole work is constructed from 6 notes (C, A, B flat, E flat, F sharp, E) and is presented in nine different sections, each individual in mood but still based upon the original pitches. This is not a thematic setofvariations, as the themes are developed one at a time from small segments of the six notes. For example, the opening theme is the complete number of pitches, the second theme uses three notes transposed then repeated at theoriginal level, and so on. Harmonically, the six notes can be divided into two triads, A minor and E flat minor - each key beginning and ending the piece respectively. Whilst this is essentially abstract music with noprogramme there is an introduction, menacing scherzo, slow reflective section followed by a recap of the scherzo and final coda. 'The Alchymist's Journal' was commissioned by the Brass Band Heritage Trust at the suggestionof Paul Hindmarsh, to whom the work is dedicated.

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