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This is the expanded version of my quartet, which now has 3 movements. The original single movement is titled Fugato and it is followed by Barcarolle and La Danza. The individual movement titles should give a clue as to what was in my mind when I wrote each section.
1. Fugato This movement is a study in writing contrapuntal music for brass and is inspired, in part, by the church music of Byrd and his contemporaries and by the instrumental music of the Gabrielis. The opening theme is passed around and treated as a 4-part fugue with some limited development and with contrasting sections to give some textural variety, though all the material is based on the opening motif.
2. Barcarolle This movement is designed as a rest from the frenetic activity at the end of the fugato. It is entirely dependant on the rocking motion of the opening, which should sustain the rhythmic pulse, gently, all the way through. The individual parts require very good breath control and a good ear for intonation. The final section of this movement is a kind of codetta, lightening the overall sadness of the music, and in preparation for the much jollier 3rd movement.
3. La Danza This final movement is full of life and should be rhythmically driven throughout. The tuba needs to keep the music driving forward, so needs to use the lightest of tongue, even in the louder sections. Although the 8/8 rhythm patterns stay constant, the players will have to avoid any feeling of ’back foot’. Each instance of the main theme needs to brought out of the texture clearly. The distant key sections will test most people’s reading, I think. I hope ensembles will enjoy this music.
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Reviews of Brass Quartet - Quartet No 1.
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