Little Suite for Brass Quintet
First performed by Onyx Brass; Freshwater, Isle of Wight; 11 January 2014
This short suite – the total playing time is less than 5 minutes – is dedicated to Brian and Barbara Wilson, the composer’s parents, on their Diamond Wedding, though it is based on material from three decades ago. Instead of the usual line-up with two B flat trumpets, one of the trumpeters is asked to play the higher-pitched E flat instrument and, in the third movement, the even higher piccolo trumpet.
The Aria contains a few harmonic surprises, and in the middle section the E flat trumpet gives a brief foretaste of the opening of the third movement. The Scherzo has various major/minor uncertainties and a middle section which thinks it wants to be a waltz but never manages to settle into triple time. In the third movement a short three-part canon is followed by a more static section with a dozen high notes from the piccolo trumpet; the canon is then reprised with chromatic inflections. The last movement might well be called Dance but the composer recommends that you do not attempt to do so – particularly if you are old enough to be celebrating your Diamond Wedding!
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