Three Piece Suite

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1.Tristan’s March: A Village Jubilee 2. Abigail’s Jig 3. Meriman Rondo

This three movement work was first performed complete in 1986, but the first movement, Tristan’s March: A Village Jubilee, dates from 1977 when the composer collaborated with Rodney Parker, then bandmaster of the Queen’s Division, on musical events in Bassingbourn to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. The band was stationed at the barracks in Bassingbourn, then also the composer's home village.

The march is composed with a traditional rondo march structure: a short introduction; a 16-bar main theme in E flat major (A); a 32-bar bass theme (B); a return of the main theme, this time with a euphonium counter-melody (A1); a Trio © with 32 bars in A flat major, also with a euphonium counter-melody; a final statement of the A1 theme (16 bars).

Abigail’s Jig dates from 1980 and started life as a flute and piano piece, written for the composer’s daughter.

It attempts to capture the atmosphere of an Irish jig, with a mixture of lively pseudo-folk tunes and 'vamping' harmony.

The introduction is intended to be humorous and rather musically misleading. It starts in F minor but is immediately contradicted by remote chords, openly parodying the 'cowboy' music of Aaron Copland. Modal harmony helps to create the folk-like mood.

The main themes are presented in D minor and are shared throughout the band; sequential modulation builds up to a key change to E minor, which presents the first theme unexpectedly softly in keeping with the humour of the piece.

The recap is contracted before the climax where the upper wind instruments play busy decorative triplets against a strong statement of the main theme in augmentation, in the bass.

After a third and final reference to the introductory material, the movement finishes with an upward flourish.

Meriman Rondo, composed in 1980, is a mix of big band, rock and jazz with two solo sections, for trombone and trumpet, which eventually combine their themes against a Latin-American rhythm.

The episodes of the rondo are interspersed with four statements of an 8-bar syncopated brass chorus, twice varied with a superimposed counter-melody.

The individual movements of Three Piece Suite are sometimes performed separately.

Score ID
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
9 minutes
Concert band / wind band
Classical music

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