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Symphonic Tone Poem for Brass/Wind and Percussion

Duration: c. 14 minutes








Programme Notes:


CHIVALRY - Symphonic Tone Poem for Brass, Wind and Percussion (Martin Ellerby) was commissioned by Philip Biggs and Richard Franklin for the 2003 All England Masters Brass Band Championships and was first performed at the Corn Exchange, Cambridge on 25 May 2003. The composer writes: Chivalry, with its various associations, is a title well suited to a band contest piece. I have taken the two principle themes of love and war and allowed them to compete against each other in what can broadly be described as a cinematic structure. The secondary title symphonic tone poem serves to enhance this reasoning. The art of courtly love, the devotion of knights to their ladies, the acts of heroism in the arena of the tournament and on the field of battle are presented here in a musical format in which the individual and collective interest are represented by the deeds of musicians engaged in friendly combat. To assist both performers and audiences I have indicated a series of internal subtitles to illustrate, or suggest, the scene in question at each given moment in the journey. Although the work is presented without any breaks these are: Fanfare and Overture, Combat, 1st Romance, Pageant, 2nd Romance, Tournament, To the Warres, Honour (to Lucasta), 1st Crusade, 3rd Romance, Cortege, 2nd Crusade, 4th Romance and Finale. These sequences and their associated imagery should be broadly recognisable and part of the test is to bind them together in a progressive and convincing whole. To aid this, the romance element returns at various points as a common denominator. Other aspects have their moment, but do not reappear. I have aimed at the dramatic and the lyrical, engaged in a language comparable with the golden age of Hollywood cinema, placing this within a concise framework, designed both to challenge and entertain.


One note of explanation - To Lucasta is a poem by Richard Lovelace written in the midst of the age of Chivalry, the final lines of which encapsulate the whole concept of the term:


I could not love thee (Deare) so much,

Loved I not Honour more.


The work is dedicated to Peter and Norma Wilson, two 'latter-day-chivalrists', in friendship.



Piccolo, Flutes 1.2, Oboes 1.2, Eb Clarinet, Bb Clarinets 1.2.3, Bb Bass Clarinet, Bassoons 1.2,

Eb Alto Saxophones 1.2, Bb Tenor Saxophone, Eb Baritone Saxophone,

Bb Trumpets, F Horns, Trombones 1.2.3, Euphoniums 1.2, Tubas 1.2,

Double Bass, Piano,

Timpani, Percussion 1.2


Available Recordings:

Chivalry - Great British Music for Wind Band - Vol. 11

Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra

Cond.  James Gourlay


Polyphonic Reproductions Ltd.


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