The composer has said " I'd like to think this would be the sort of music Derek Burgeious would have written if he worked in a factory". This work was a finalist in the 2015 European Brass Band Championships composer competition. Because of the time constraint imposed by the competition, it's a little shorter than modern test pieces, but will still be an ideal centrepiece for any concert, in addition to being a great choice for contests that require a 20-30 minute program including a major work.
This major work, appropriate to be a First Section test piece, is a tribute to one of New Zealand's iconic bandsmen, Riki McDonnell. For decades, Riki has been the epitome of shining through any and all circumstances. The euphonium duets are a nod to his recording partnership with Mike Kilroy, the flugel solos are a recognition that, before he was New Zealand's finest euphonium player, he was the country's best flugelhorn player. The gradual progression of the thematic material from minor to major reminds us that Riki can always make some positive out out of any situation.
The Carnival Of Venice is arguably everyone's favourite solo, especially the version by Arban (1820 - 1869), author of the famous brass-playing method book still in regular use today. Young soloists aspire to master the necessary techniques, accomplished soloists know that it is a "sure fire" winner with audiences and listeners love to be dazzled by a virtuoso display of variations on a theme they easily recognise.
In 1723 Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) composed four concerti for violin and small orchestra entitled The Four Seasons. Winter is the fourth of these and the Largo is its central slow movement depicting a cosy scene by the fireside watching the falling rain.
This arrangement was prepared at the request of Brett Baker and has been recorded by him accompanied by Brass Band Of The Western Reserve, music director Dr Keith M Wilkinson, on the CD Slides Rule!
March Slav was composed in 1876 for a charity concert to support the war in the Balkans. It was completed in the remarkably short time of 5 days and was encored twice at its first performance! The themes are based loosely on Serbian folk songs and there is also a reference to the Russian national anthem. The mood is funereal in style at the opening but this gives way to a very triumphant style by the end.
This march was written in 1888 and dedicated to the US Marine Corps, later being adopted as its official march. At the time of its composition Sousa was director of the US Marine Band.
This brass band version contains a small amount of optional movement around the stage and a percussion feature. These will enhance the presentation.