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Duration: c. 3.30 minutes








Programme Notes:

ELEGY FOR 'CHECKPOINT CHARLIE' was originally composed for Solo Alto Saxophone and Junior Wind Band, the object being to make a more advanced solo part (in this case, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Grade Five) play alongside a typical school wind ensemble of approximately grade 2+.


'Checkpoint Charlie' was the former sector crossing point for foreigners, diplomats and military personnel between East and West Berlin during the Cold War and as such remains an iconic memorial to the days prior to the former Soviet Union and the 'Nato'-West abandoning their political differences. The world saw the coming down of the Berlin Wall (first begun in 1961) in 1989 ending 28 years of division in Berlin.


My Elegy is written to preserve the memory of those days and also to remember the 70 people who lost their lives trying to escape the East for the West - over 100 were wounded attempting flight and more than 3000 arrests took place preventing further 'moonlight-dashes'. The music recalls the shady world of spies and counter-spies as evidenced in the novels of Len Deighton and John le Carre.


'Checkpoint Charlie' was demolished in 1990 but handed over to the German Historical Museum. As such the site can be visited and the story relived. I myself visited the location in the New Year of 1995  - the whole eastern part was in a state of architectural redevelopment - Berlin was being made one city again.



Solo Eb Alto Saxophone

Flutes 1.2, Oboe (opt.), Bb Clarinets 1.2, Bb Bass Clarinet, Bassoon,

Eb Alto Saxophone (opt.), Bb Tenor Saxophone, Eb Baritone Saxophone (opt.),

Bb Trumpets 1.2, F Horn (opt.), Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba,

Double Bass (opt.),

Glockenspiel, Percussion 1.2


Percussion Requirements:

Glockenspiel, Suspended Cymbal, Tam tam (or low Cymbal)


Performance Notes:

Re. Piano Reduction - The piano part is not a reduction of the original wind band parts per se but rather a recomposed accompaniment allowing at appropriate moments a little more fluidity in the keyboard writing than present in the more sustained lines of the orchestral version. Conversely, at times, some of the band counterpoints have not been possible to incorporate into this piano part. Nevertheless the main contours are all present and the piano accompaniment will work both as an instrumental solo and as a familiarisation tool when preparing for a performance of the work in its wind band guise.


Available Recordings:

Elegy for 'Checkpoint Charlie'

For Solo Eb Alto Saxophone and Concert Band

Click image to view page 1 of the score

Legacy of Dreams - Great British Music for Wind Band - Vol. 18

Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra

Cond.  Mark Heron


Polyphonic Reproductions Ltd.


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