Orchestra: Bramshill - Concert Rondo

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Orchestra: Bramshill - Concert Rondo


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Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
8 minutes
Classical music
License details
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Bramshill was written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the police staff college and was premiered by the British Police Symphony Orchestra in 2008. In 2011 it undertook some quite serious revision. Bramshill House was until recently the home of the Police Staff College. In 1953 the Home Office purchased Bramshill from Lord Brocket. There is evidence that the site has been inhabited since the time of Domesday and the Norman Conquest. The present building was constructed principally by Edward Zouche, 11th Baron Zouche of Harringworth, between c. 1605-1625. The music is written in large ternary form as a concert rondo. There are features within which depict and draw together various facets of the early history of Bramshill House as a Jacobean structure with that of its current role as the police staff college. After a declamatory six bar opening in the key of C minor the piece leads towards the principal theme - it is introduced by the horn, quietly accompanied by chords from the clarinets dipping in and out of the chalumeau register - a haunting, ethereal theme that depicts the mystery of the ancient building and its numerous reported wraiths. The theme develops and is pronounced giacoso in the strings with light accompaniment in the higher woodwinds. A restatement of the main theme is followed by a section, fugato; this depicts a police officer on the beat in the early hours of a cold, wet, winter’s night. This theme transmutes into a quasi-stately dance such as may have been performed in Bramshill’s great withdrawing room or the long gallery in the 1600’s. A series of 6/3 chords then develop into what sounds akin to a police siren; the section culminates in a wash of sound with police theme, stately dance and siren sounding simultaneously. In the final section, the principal theme is reiterated in various guises and sub-themes are further explored.

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