A Little Overture: Opus #1 (for the developing brass band)

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page one of A Little Overture: Opus #1 (for the developing brass band)

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an original work for the developing brass band interchangeable instrumentation with the orchestral and concert band versions

This work comprises two themes; Theme #1: The fanfare, and Theme #2: The lively tune. The timpani soli and percussion features are significant to the character of this work. If Timpani are not available, tom toms may substitute. There is a Tom Toms part written in absence of Timpani. The Toms should have a bold variation in depth of pitch e.g. small Tom and floor Tom. For ease of performance, the Tom Toms may be orchestrally set-up. That is, not mounted on a drum kit, but on stands. THE PERFORMANCE Theme #1 opens the overture abruptly and is tutti orchestra with a stately fanfare style motif. It is sustained, fortissimo and with no rhythmic flow. The opening fanfare fades and the timpani and other percussion emerge to play their multi-rhythmic accompaniment that will feature throughout the overture. The percussion feature rises in volume for the opening fanfare to repeat. When the opening fanfare is played for a second time, percussion continue, providing a sense of tempo and energy. The second fanfare fades into a shortened version of the initial percussion feature and the band prepares for Theme #2. A vamp over the percussion feature builds for several bars and Theme #2 starts, dominated by the brassy sound of the high brass. *The timpani plays pedal G with the bass from the opening end until measure 95. Rhythm varies and D is occasionally played. *The pedal G offers dissonence and gives a feeling of being attached or anchored, never quite realising freedom to venture beyong the bass note. *From measure 95, the bass line moves away from the pedal G and there is an understated relief of "whole" or "free" movement. The dissonence has gone. *The bass line does not completely free itself during subsequent Theme #2 playings though. *At this point the bass line rhythm is stilted combining long notes with short notes and on/off beats with continuous runs, giving a feeling of stop/start under the flowing melodies. *The bass end pedal with timpani returns during the vamps and fanfares, for harmonic variation and to give a renewed sense of security by being anchored to the bass. Theme #2 is short and the end of the theme comes quickly. It is basically melody, vamping chords, a pedal G bass line (with timps) and percussion. The music moves straight into another vamp and the first counter melody is introduced: moving in steps and resisting unnecessary rhythmic variation. The first counter melody is predominantly tenor end instruments playing single line chordal notes generally sustained against the moving melody, worked in thirds and sixths to the theme. As soon as the second time through Theme #2 is complete, a variation of the first counter melody is intrioduced over the vamp. Through the third consecutive playing of Theme #2, the counter melody is more exciting, using more rhythm and moving in leaps. The bass line is finally fully freed from the pedal and flowing with the chord changes. The Tom Toms lightly continue the rhythm of the Timpani. During the vamp after the third playing of Theme #2, the opening fanfare is restated: a noticeable hint of things to come. The fourth consecutive playing of Theme #2 is the culmination of all the developments so far. As well as the percussion set-up and a moving melodic bass line, there is the leaping tenor end counter melody plus hints of Theme #1 answering the melody of Theme #2. The Timpani solo at 155 and following percussion feature marks the end of the fourth playing of Theme #2 and then moves quickly into a reprise of the opening fanfare. The fanfare moves straight into Theme #2 for the final reprise instead of leading back to a percussion feature or tutti orchestra vamp as expected. This fifth and final play through of Theme #2 is exactly the same version as the fourth play through - with counter melody leaping and hints of the opening fanfare. The overture ends with a very short version of Theme #1 tutti orchestra … and stop! FEATURES: "A LITTLE OVERTURE: OPUS ONE" IS READY TO USE AS AN OPENER, A FEATURE, OR A FINALE TO YOUR CONCERTS. ALSO, FOR COMPETITIONS AND FESTIVALS: Features include: * Timpani Soli with Tom Toms cued in absence of Timps * Percussion features basic instruments with simple cross rhythms Perc 1 Cymbs, SD & BD: Perc 2 Hi Hat or Tamborine or Cabasa: Timpani x2: Glock * Tutti brass band * Doubling of parts (full sound throughout) * Bold variations in sound (dynamics, texture, timbre, colour, layers) * Tempo is constant (variation in rhythm, pulses, sustain, layers) * 3:00 minutes duration * Full instrumentation (sop cort, solo cort 1 & 2, rep cort, 2nd & 3rd cort, fl hn, solo, 1st & 2nd ten hns, 1st & 2nd bari, 1st & 2nd trbs, bass trb, 1st & 2nd euph, Eb & Bb tubas 2 timps G&D no change, 2 tom toms, tamb or cabasa, HH, SD, BD) * Easy parts for beginning music students * Lead parts are a little more technically demanding and offer leadership opportunities to your lead players. This overture is enjoyable to the performer and audience alike. It offers confidence building rewards for the musicians and it is a spectacle for the audience. As the orchestra masters the various passages, the young musicians will appear animated. The performance area will be awash with movement, as the percussionists and brass gain confidence. The fast two beats per measure will also serve to keep everyone on their toes as they count their place and prepare to play. Everyone is involved and, by the end of your recital, all will be glowing with satisfaction. ENJOY "A LITTLE OVERTURE: OPUS ONE"

Score ID
Year of composition
Easy (Grades 1-3)
3 minutes
Brass band
Modern classical music

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