About the piece:
Aaaahhh! Once in a while there are mornings where every piece of the puzzle falls into place. A ray of light comes through the kitchen window, outside the most beautiful birds sing, the smell of toasted bread…
And as a finishing touch the milk foam is done exactly the same time as the coffee in the percolator.
The pleasures of a percolator are not easy to put into words. The waiting, the slow spread of the pleasing, sweet smell of Portugese coffee and that amazing simmering sound at the end… I decided that I had to write a piece for brass quintet and solo trombone (Ilja Reijngoud!) about these “percolating” pleasures, and I hope that the music brings you along in this state of early morning happiness.
About the composer:
Leonard Evers (Heerlen, 1985) is a composer and conductor. After completing a bachelor in Comparative Literature at Leiden University, he graduated with honours in Composition and Arranging at Codarts Conservatory, Rotterdam.
Leonard’s music represents elements of jazz, world music and contemporary music. His literary background makes that he is specifically passionate about writing for theatre.
For more information please visit - www.leonardevers.nl
About the composer:
Peter Meechan is one of the leading compositional talents of his generation writing for brass and wind. His sound world is infused with influences from many different and varied sources to that of his predecessors, including the music of Miles Davis and Pink Floyd, as well as that of Stravinsky and Messiaen.
Born in Nuneaton, England, Peter began his composition studies at the North Warwickshire College, under Simon Hall and Ben Markland. In 1998, he accepted a place at the Royal Northern College of Music, studying composition with Anthony Gilbert, Elena Firsova, David Horne and Adam Gorb.
Following his undergraduate studies at the RNCM Peter was appointed as the first ever 'Young Composer in Association' with the prestigious Black Dyke Band, and later became 'Composer in Residence’ at the same band for 2006-2007.
His output for brass and wind has received worldwide acclaim, with performances from many leading ensembles, conductors, and soloists. These include: Steve Mead, Bramwell Tovey, Mark Scatterday, David Childs, David Thornton, James Gourlay, Clark Rundell, Andy Scott, Rob Buckland, Jacques Mauger, Tormod Flaten, Bones Apart Trombone Quartet, Spanish Brass Luur Metalls, Black Dyke Band, Birmingham Symphonic Winds, Eastman Wind Ensemble, Coldstream Guards and the RNCM Wind Orchestra. He has had works featured on over 15 CD’s.
In February 2002, Peter's composition 'Revamp', was featured alongside the music of McCabe and Gregson in 'The Gregson Connection' - a mini festival dedicated to the music of RNCM Principal, Edward Gregson. Whilst in November 2003, Peter's music for Euphonium was showcased in 'Brilliant Minds', a concert at the RNCM International Tuba and Euphonium Festival.
His music for brass bands has been used in contests across the globe, including the National Finals of Belgium and Australia. Whilst his music for winds has been featured at festivals throughout Europe and North America, including the Midwest Clinic in Chicago and at the BASBWE International Wind Festival.
Peter's music has received many performances, as well as radio and television broadcasts, across the globe. Whilst still in the early stages of his career, Peter has established himself as one of his generations’ leading composers writing for brass and wind.
For more information please visit - www.petemeechan.com
2. Elegie - for Euphonium and Brass Quintet
About the piece:
The opening unaccompanied passage of this work was originally written as a short memorial piece for saxophone, but was later adapted as the basis of this more developed work for solo euphonium or trombone.
The work uses a variation structure, with both the soloist and the accompaniment changing throughout the piece; the harmony, rhythm and melodic lines leading somewhere new and different each time they are heard - similar to the way our memories of a person often wander in different directions, but are still always focused on that person.
About the composer:
Christer Danielsson was a prominent 20th century Swedish composer that lived a short life, from 1942 to 1989. Known for his brass compositions, in 1977 he dedicated Concertant Svit for tuba and 4 horns to Swedish tuba virtuoso, Michael Lind. He also made the arrangement heard on this album, which is for tuba and the remaining players of a brass quintet (2 trumpets, horn, and trombone).
About the composer:
Misha Sporck studied horn (Oldrich Milek) and composition (Roderik de Man) as a young talent student at the Koninklijk Conservatorium of the Hague. As young composer he won several prizes at competitions, such as a first prize at the Bach-Concours of the Hague (2000) and a second prize at the Prinses Christina Concours (2000). In 2006 he graduated as a bachelor student for horn (Peter Hoekmeijer) and composition (Theo Verbeij and Daan Manneke) at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. As a student of Herman Jeurissen he finished his master degree in 2009. As a hornplayer he participated in several festival orchestras, such as Verbier Festival Orchestra (2009 till 2011). Later on he studied wind band conducting at the Conservatorium vanAmsterdam, with Danny Oosterman. Nowadays he composes many pieces for wind band and is also conductor of several wind bands.
For more information please visit - www.mishasporck.nl
About the piece:
Parabolen (2008). This composition for brass quintet is technically and musically very challenging.
A structured plan of modes and time is the main frame of the composition.
The piece starts with a few fortissimo chords, which will mark the main points of the structure of the composition. Two modes (scales) are used for this composition. These modes are transposed a few times up and down until the original level, this route makes a parabola. When the original mode is reached after the first parabola, the opening chords sound a second time. After this first parabola, the modes are transposed every time higher, in a shorter time. At the highest level of this transposing (at the middle of the composition), the first mode is changed for the second one and the route of transposing in the space of time, is followed backwards. When the starting level of the composition is reached, the opening chords sound a third and last time.
This composition is also rhythmically challenging. By having different subdivisions within the pulse, the performers feel the same pulse but in sound one hears something very different. In this way the rhythmical effect is often very shifting and playful. In this way, a pulse of 9 over 8 is created and at some point 21 over 20. For this rhythm the frame of 7 over 4 is used which isfelt and played by all five players of the quintet to make sure the rhythm is performed in an exact way.
About the composer:
Lucy is a performance (2004) and composition (2007) graduate of the RNCM, where she was also awarded a PhD in 2020 for her work focussing on contemporary applications of the traditional brass band. As a composer, Lucy has received many accolades for her work, most notably in 2011 when she became the first female composer to be presented with a British Composer Award in the Brass/Wind Band category. In Pitch Black was also the first brass band work to win a BCA. Her work has subsequently been shortlisted for the awards on four more occasions. Lucy has also been a member of the judging panel for the British Composer Awards/Novellos and adjudicated the 2019 EBBC Composers Competition alongside Dr John Pickard and Oliver Waespi.
Large-scale composition projects include commissions for the Durham International Brass Festival (Pathways - 2015), a multiple ensemble ACE-funded mixed media project at the Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland and the Sage, Gateshead (Reflection Connection – 2016), a residency at the IWBC in Philadelphia (2017), a PRSF-funded experimental brass band work (Th’owfen Raconteurs – 2013) and a vocal/electroacoustic installation at Salisbury Cathedral to commemorate the Christmas Truce of 1914 at the Ageas International Salisbury Arts Festival (Voices from No Man’s Land – 2014).
In 2018, Lucy was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to create a vocal work celebrating 100 years of suffrage, with text developed with Emmeline Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter, Dr Helen Pankhurst. The Pankhurst Anthem was recorded by the BBC Singers and premiered at the 2018 BBC Free Thinking Festival at the Sage, Gateshead. This was followed by A Fine and Subtle Spirit (based on Anne Brontë’s poem The Bluebell) for two choirs, violin and piano, which was commissioned in 2020 by Pamela Nash to celebrate Anne Brontë 200: A Celebration in Words and Music (supported by the Ida Carroll Trust, Arts Council England and the Hinrichsen Foundation). Unfortunately, the premiere had to be postponed due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Lucy has a particular interest in projects which involve research and collaboration. She has composed a number of site/performer-specific works and also has a growing collection of pieces that respond to specific artistic stimuli. For example; Sekhemti (solo trumpet - Head and Arm from monumental red granite statue of Amenhotep III) andCristallum Calvariam (violin/voice - Rock Crystal Skull) were performed at the British Museum next to their respective artefacts as part of the 2013 RNCM Sound Histories event. Examples for large ensemble are Marilyn (brass band) is a musical reflection on Andy Warhol’s screenprints of Marilyn Monroe (commissioned for the 2014 Brass in Concert Festival at the Sage) and Ticket: 250654 (wind orchestra) based on the ticket number assigned to the musicians aboard the Titanic.
As a music educator and animateur, Lucy has composed many pieces for youth ensembles - from string orchestras, to massed ‘flexible’ ensembles. Over the last 10 years, Lucy has also developed and delivered a whole-class programme of music for KS2 beginner brass, which has led to her current work in producing Puzzle Pieces - an extensive flexible music programme for all instruments (from first access to advanced players), as part of an Erasmus+ international project. In addition to her work in schools, she has also lectured at Huddersfield University and been a guest speaker at the University of Salford, the University of Leicester and Bath Spa University.
For more information please visit - www.lucypankhurst.com
About the piece:
Tiamat is an exploratory programmatic work for solo euphonium and brass quintet.
The title hails the name of a dragon, from the fantasy role-playing adventure game and the 1980s children’s cartoon: Dungeons & Dragons. Tiamat is a five-headed dragon. Each head is a different colour and has its own elemental properties:
LIGHTNING/blue (trumpet 1)
ACID/black (trumpet 2)
The instruments of the quintet each represent one of these heads. Each element has its own specific theme in the piece, introduced by its relative instrument. The thematic ideas for each element are intended to be a musical representation of its properties and effects.
LIGHTNING – disjointed staccato notes
ACID – repeated 3-note pattern, overlapping in texture, abrasive
ICE – repeated staccato (and stopped) notes with a dim. Brittle, yet sharp
FIRE – flutter-tongue/trem. effects
POISON – descending chromatic scale, oozing, seeping
(The ‘rips’ in the ensemble are intended to be the snapping and biting of the jaws of the dragon)
The solo euphonium takes the role of the hero in the tale that has sworn to defeat the dragon and restore peace to the surrounding lands.
Linking to the idea of Dungeons & dragons role-play, the main themes in the piece were created by chance. By numbering the notes of the chromatic scale 1-12, I used a d12 (12-sided die) to divine the pitches I would use, later developing a melody around it.
The Epiphany section utilises a digital delay device for the euphonium soloist. This illustrates the moment when the hero realises how he can defeat the beast. For a moment we are allowed a glimpse into his subconscious, his realisation and rationalising of his thoughts before leaping back out of the shadows to smite the beast.
In order to defeat the dragon, the hero realises that each element must be turned against itself, thus fight fire with fire etc. In the Battlesequence, the euphonium plays each ‘element’ back at the ensemble, but all have been changed in some way, either by being transposed, in retrograde, or opposite in dynamics etc. by disarming each element, the ensemble eventually conforms, following the direction of the euphonium soloist and reaching a climax; the first clearly tonal moment in the piece.
After the dragon is defeated, there is a short interlude where the music suddenly consolidates into F major, as the euphonium rejoices in victory. Here, the Victory theme is derived from the Promise, with the leaps of 7ths and tritones resolved with 8ves and major 3rds.
1 Something waits in the shadows…
Tiamat slowly emerges from her lair. Stealthy, cunning and hungry.
26 (0’59”) A stranger approaches…
The appearance of our hero riles the beast. All five heads become animated and vocal as the bold adventurer advances: armed and alone.
45 (1’49”) Promise of salvation
The hero boasts of his promise to smite the beast and end its reign of terror over his people. The dragon becomes increasingly agitated and begins to attack before he is fully prepared. The adventurer defends as best he can, but is swiftly forced to retreat as the five heads snap, burn and roar after him.
76 (3’35”) Futility
The hero hides in the shadows of the cave, terrified and wounded. The dragon is too mighty for him and he realises he cannot defeat it. He does not have the strength or the speed to achieve his goal and keep his promise. His honour and his hope are lost. He laments woefully.
101 (5’38”) Epiphany
As he hears the dragon stalking him from his hiding place, casting gargantuan shadows across the walls of the cave, he has a sudden epiphany – he must fight fire with fire…the only way to slay the dragon is to turn is very powers against it. With newly-found courage and confidence, the adventurer leaps from his sanctuary towards the dragon.
122 (6’34”) Battle; ACID, ICE, FIRE, LIGHTNING, POISON
A great battle ensues. The dragon is angry and has grown weary of this game – it moves to attack as soon as it catches sight of him. However, the warrior uses his shield to deflect attack after attack, cleaving the beast with his sword as the creature staggers back in shock and pain.
159 (7’46”) Victory
For a fleeting moment, the hero rejoices. The dragon is slain! No more will his people have to endure the terror of living under the constant shadow of the beast. It has fallen by his hand – he has honoured his promise. However, the celebration is brief, as the hero is seriously wounded…
174 (8’33”) Sacrifice
As the echoes of the dragon’s final cries subside, our hero recognises the severity of his wounds. He stumbles. He will not be returning home. There will be no hero’s welcome, no feast and celebrations, no banners and music. He has sacrificed his own life to rid the world of the five-headed dragon.
179 (8’56”) Return to the shadows…
In sombre acceptance, the hero limps slowly into the shadows. Bleeding and broken, he disappears into the inky darkness to die alone.
Lucy Pankhurst - January 2010
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Het schitterende Amsterdam Brass Quintet is een all-round brass-ensemble. Dit ensemble bestaat uit 5 bevlogen muzikanten die garant staan voor muziek van hoge klasse, waar iedereen geboeid naar zal luisteren en van zal genieten.
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