Saturday, April 11, 2009

Conductor's Notes

Kenneth Downie ....... Purcell Variations
Composed to commemorate the tercentenary of Purcell's death, this piece is based on the hymn tune 'Westminster Abbey' and offers variety, vitality and technical movements. This piece is a bona fide Tour de Force! It's a major work for brass band, in that it is organized into fivemovements and has a duration of almost 14 minutes.

Although it was not commissioned as a "contest piece" it has already been used for that purpose in the Brass Band world, including England. There, and elsewhere in the UK, bands aspire to win a national championship, beginning in regions and leading to the nationals each fall at Royal Albert Hall in London.

Purcell Variations, a contemporary work -- not baroque music like the namesake, is a roller-coaster of a composition, traversing melodies and harmonies, and glued together by contemporary rhythms in a way which challenges any brass band, and treats any audience.

Kenneth Downie is a composer of brass band music. He was born in Glasgow and educated at Greenock High School, the Royal Manchester College of Music .... His published compositions, now numbering over 50, span a period of 30 years and are mainly for brass band or choir.

Giovanni Gabrieli ..... Sonata Octavi Toni
Beautiful double choir, divided left and right, music of San Marco Cathedral, Venice, 1597.

Kenneth Alford ........... The Hunt
Begins with a posthorn, a hunting horn, solo and is a real horse race through the woods. By the noted British composer of many other works for band.

Karl King ....... Kentucky Sunrise
Very American ... 1919 ... Written for the Barnum and Bailey Circus Band.Dedicated to Rhoda Royal, horse trainer ... named for show horse Kentucky Sunrise in B&B Circus. As a former euphonium player, King made sure that the low brass players shared the best melodies.

Dusty Springfield ..... You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
Yeah, the 1960s hit! Here with trombone solo by George Epperson.

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