The Sword and the Star was written in 2006 for the Middleton Band at the request of their Musical Director, Carl Whiteoak. The inspiration for the work was the band's badge, which features a medieval archer. The town of Middeton's historical link with the symbol of the Archer came from the English victory at the Battle of Flodden in September 1513, where bowmen from Middleton and Heywood under the command of Sir Richard Assheton played a vital part in crushing the invading Scottish army. Sir Richard captured one of the Scottish commanders and presented the prisoner's sword to the St Leonard's church in Middleton in recognition of the town's contribution. As long time Lords of the Manor, the Assheton family crest was for centuries featured in the coat of arms of Middleton council, and when Middleton became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale the black star from the Assheton crest was used to represent Middleton in the new borough's coat of arms. Hence the title The Sword and the Star, for a piece which attempts to give an impression of the town as it was then and as it is now.The music is in three short sections – a fanfare, a lament and a bright scherzo – and simply aims to contrast the medieval hamlet of Middleton with the bustling urban centre it has now become. The central lament features a Scottish song called "The Flowers of the Forest", written to mourn the loss of so many of Scotland's young men on the field of Flodden; the song returns in a much more positive form at the end of the piece.To view a PDF preview of the score please click here, and to hear a preview of the opening played by Middleton Band click here.
Hypercube is a musical narrative partly inspired by the architecture of the Grande Arche de la Defense in Paris whose shape has been compared to a hypercube. With this landmark building as a starting point, the piece explores the poetry and reality of urban landscapes. In the course of the piece, these contrasting elements are being torn into a dramatic and virtuosic development in extended sections named "Le Vertige" (Vertigo). The Clouds theme returns later in a series of lyrical solos. In the final part of the piece, both the Vertigo and the Hypercube themes become the background for an ongoing acceleration, which conveys the impression of some sort of musical Penrose stairs. Hypercube was commissioned by the Paris Brass Band and the association ADIAM 94 in 2015.Estimated delivery 10-12 days
An Urban NocturneEstimated delivery 12-14 days
Darkwood was commissioned in 2012 by Neil Ashcroft, a lifelong member of Blackley Brass Band and was presented to the band in recognition of its 75th Anniversary. The work is in three movements and was conceived as either an extended concert item or as an own choice test-piece.Blackley Village is a northerly district of the city of Manchester and is the home of the last remaining city centre brass band. Blackley appears in the Doomsday book and its name is a derivative of the Anglo-Saxon Bl?cl?"ah which means ‘Darkwood’ or ‘Dark Clearing’.The BoggartThe first movement of the suite is named after Boggart Hole Clough, which is a local urban nature reserve. A clough is a local colloquialism for a steep sided valley or gully and this particular clough is believed to be the home of a Boggart, a mischievous spirit or imp.House on the HillThe second movement of Darkwood is subtitled ‘House on the Hill’ and evokes images of St Andrew’s Church which is located in Higher Blackley and is commonly referred to by this name. Perched high on the hill, it overlooks the village and across the valley towards Manchester city centre.Blackley VillageThe final movement depicts Blackley’s historic evolution from its medieval roots, as a small residential hamlet, through to the present day and its importance as an industrial part of the city.Born in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire, Dan took a keen interest in music from an early age playing tuba and trombone with his local brass band. After leaving school he embarked on a 10 year career as a hotelier integrating it with a developing career as a freelance musician playing double bass, sousaphone and bass saxophone with big bands including the internationally Pasadena Roof Orchestra.In 2003, he enrolled in the Band Musicianship course at Salford University where he studied composition and arranging with Prof. Peter Graham. Dan’s first test-piece An Elgar Portrait was selected as the 4th Section set work at the Swiss National Brass Band Championships in 2007 and again at the Pontins Championships the following year. He then went on to write the test-piece New World Sketches which was set as the 2nd Section test-piece for the British Regional Contests in 2009.In 2009, Dan became Composer in Association with the Cory Band, helping them with their winning programmes at several Brass in Concert Championships. In 2012 he became the Arranger in Association with Black Dyke Band and has been involved with many of the band’s exciting projects including his arrangement of Recycled for the ground breaking multimedia campaign – Danger Global Warming Project and the band’s collaboration with British composer Tolga Kashif in 2012 for his Olympic Anthem Let Your Light Shine.In 2015, Dan had a number of major works performed at International contests which included Realms of Asgard: Yggdrassil – a new test-work commissioned by Jaren Hornmusikkforening to be used as their choice work at the Norwegian Brass Band Championships, Ocean of Storms – an exciting new work for Grimethorpe Colliery Band’s Brass in Concert programme and his test-piece Visions which was used as a 4th Section National Finals test-piece.Dan is currently working full time at the University of Salford, lecturing in Composition and Arranging. He continues to work as a freelance composer working with a number of leading soloists, brass and wind bands around the world.Estimated delivery 12-14 days