Music for the Light Grinder (for brass dectet)

For: Brass choir
page one of Music for the Light Grinder (for brass dectet)

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Music for the Light Grinder (for brass dectet)


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Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
5 minutes
Modern classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

Music for the Light Grinder was written for the London-based, Brass On Draught!, to perform at a reunion concert in July 1991.

The title stems from the first line of a poem by Ted Hughes, ’Where the millstones of sky’, part of the collection "Remains of Elmet". This introduces the fascinating concept of the grinding of light by gigantic cloud formations and is vividly accompanied by some Fay Godwin photographs. Around the same time I was reading an anthology of Scandanavian folk-tales and these, combined with the Hughes/Godwin image, sparked off a new idea in my head of a Norse god, seated above the clouds, physically grinding light, which then falls through the chinks in the clouds upon a murky valley bottom.

The work is an attempt to convey the sheer power of the imaginary god and takes as its starting point a simple fanfare idea based on the interval of a perfect fifth. This is then treated canonically to result in some rather complex rhythmic ideas.

I’d love to hear of any performances!

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