Spring Festival 2024
A Brussels Requiem (Bert Appermont)
The attacks in Brussels on 22 March 2016 created a shockwave throughout Belgium and the rest of the world. Equally, the attacks in Paris and Nice led to great public indignation, fear and disbelief. What has happened to the western world? Have our cultures grown apart to such an extent that we do not understand each other anymore? Bert Appermont's intention was to voice certain emotions that these acts of terror have caused: particularly fear, grief, anger, and helplessness. He uses the French children's song Au Claire de la Lune as a connecting thread throughout the work. This piece is also about hope and faith in another world, and is meant to pay homage to allvictims, resulting in a dignified remembrance. The musical development is presented in four through-composed parts, titled Innocence, In Cold Blood, In Memoriam We Shall Rise Again and A New Day. This work was commissioned by the Brassband Oberosterreich (Brass Band Upper Austria) to be played at the European Brass Band Championships 2017.
The New Jerusalem (Philip Wilby)
Commissioned by the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and first performed in 1990, a revised contest version was subsequently used as the set-work for the 1992 National Championships of Great Britain. It has since become one of Philip Wilby's most revered compositions and has been performed throughout the contesting world. Although initially inspired by a quotation from the Revelation of St John "And I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth; for the first Heaven and the first Earth were passed awayâ¦.", in the composer's mind it subsequently took on an almost allegorical dimension much like Eric Ball's 'Journey into Freedom'. Revised against a backdrop of huge political change following the demise of the Soviet Union and the domino effect of collapse that occurred throughout former Eastern Block communist countries, for Wilby it came to represent "the triumph of the human spirit over oppression". As he himself wrote: "For a moment, the prophecy of St John's Revelation was suddenly highlighted in a new and quite unexpected way. The off-stage fanfares*, the turbulent nature of a large proportion of the band music and above all, the piece's life affirming end may all be seen as an optimistic vision of that social and religious rebirth".
Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Peter Graham)
Peter Graham's work was originally written for the Black Dyke Band to perform at the 2005 European Brass Band Championships. It is inspired by Jules Verne's 1864 adventure novel 'Voyage au centre de la terre' a literary 'Voyage Extraordinaire' in the form of recounted diary entries of Axel, the young nephew of Prof Otto Lidenbrock, who joins his expedition to reach the core of the earth . The incredible tale is recounted in a series of nine interlinked chronological 'symphonic scenes for brass and percussion' from the brooding entry into the extinct Icelandic volcano of Snaefells which leads to the unknown. Their adventure sees them encounter 'Wonders of the Terrestrial Depths' before they can enjoy a dream-like sequence of rest. Exploring further, Axel is separated in a labyrinth. Seemingly lost and without hope, his escape is engineered by an acoustic phenomenon where he follows the sound of the whispering voices of his colleagues although they still must negotiate a terrifying 'Battle of Antediluvian Creatures'. However, reunited in belief and endeavour the expedition drives ever upwards an ascent that results on a climatic release from the Stromboli volcano in southern Italy and a triumphant return home with a tale unlike any other to tell.