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Backcloth (brass quartet) [1999]



Year of composition





Difficult (Grades 7+)


10 minutes


Modern classical music


Brass quartet

Instrumental parts

Related scores

MP3 file

The players should be positioned spaced far apart from each other, ideally like this: trumpet on balcony above left of stage, trombone on left of stage, horn on right of stage, and tuba behind the audience to the right. Backcloth was conceived in reaction to the painting of the same name by Sean Scully (see Its very simple grid-like design of horizontal and vertical stripes is made striking through a vibrant choice of colours and eye-catching irregularities. Its most striking feature is that the overlapping lines make it look 3-dimensional. Once the eyes have come to terms with this aspect, they move around the grid, concentrating on its peculiarities, on certain bold groupings of colours. My intention was to create an aural effect equivalent to the visual effect of the painting, by immediately drawing in the listener with a strong spatial effect, then exploring some of the spatial possibilities inherent in the spread-out positioning of the four players, before concentrating more on the peculiarities of the various mutations of the initial four-note harmony (on which the whole piece is based).

The mp3 link above is an excerpt (nearly 3-minutes).

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This score was submitted by John Pitts INTENSELY PLEASANT MUSIC. If you wish to perform, record, or broadcast this music then you should contact them first.

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