Duration: c. 16 minutes
Publisher: STUDIO MUSIC COMPANY
Commissioned with funds provided by the BBC Fame Academy by Katrina Marzella to whom the work is dedicated.
The work falls into three contrasting movements and was written in close collaboration with Katrina Marzella who commissioned the work in 2007. It was agreed from the outset that the piece should be specifically a ‘Baritone’ Concerto and not a ‘Euphonium’ Concerto masquerading as the former. Having written a Euphonium Concerto (for Steven Mead) over a decade ago it soon became apparent that the two instruments were rather like the cello (euphonium) and viola (baritone) of the orchestral string section and so I approached the work with this concept in mind. The scoring is generally light (with some louder interludes) though in no way is the solo baritone compromised and a full and present sound is always required.
An Allegro ritmico of mixed metres, largely percussion driven, provides the opening movement. The obvious confusion between 8/8 and 4/4, 10/8 and 5/4 etc forms the basis of the ‘fusions’ as they eventually become played (in different families) at the same time. The solo part is agile and lyrical by turn and the concluding bars are somewhat ‘throw-away’ and unresolved.
2. Soliloquy – Andante cantabile con rubato
The soloist opens the movement unaccompanied, the band soon entering in ever increasing density and emotional involvement with the various themes being developed and adjusted as the journey progresses. This is a pure celebration of the unique cantabile qualities of the baritone inspired by the equally unique ‘voice’ of the work’s dedicatee.
3. Tangents – Scherzando ominoso e giocoso
The finale’s mood was suggested by the soloist and the composer here takes a different angle from his usual light closes to concertos. As the tempo marking suggests, two contrasting ideas are brought into play and indulge in some competing engagements for centre stage before one of them emerges the victor!
The world premiere was given by Katrina Marzella and the Cincinnati Brass Band conducted by Anita Hunt at the 2008 International Tuba and Euphonium Conference held at the University of Cincinnati, USA on 24 June.
The UK premiere was given by Katrina Marzella and the Leyland Band conducted by Jason Katsikaris at the 2009 RNCM Festival of Brass on 31 January.
Solo Bb Baritone Horn
Pianists should note that the use of # style notation in the third movement refers to an untuned percussion instrument in the band score. These parts are given a pitch here in order to fill what otherwise would be silent passages – the actual pitch of these notes should be treated with this in mind and executed primarily as points of punctuation. Soloists should also be aware of this so as not to be disconcerted when rehearsing and performing the fully scored version.
The accompaniment represents the main contours of the piece in a reasonably pianistic idiom – much has had to be left out to facilitate this, particularly a good deal of the contrapuntal complexities and true voicings of the harmonies. Soloists are advised to refer to the full score for a true and accurate understanding of the accompaniment proper.
It is hoped that this will serve as both a learning aid to prospective performances of the fully scored work and yet be sufficiently interesting to be performed as a recital piece with piano accompaniment. Individual movements may be played separately.
Good luck all!
Click image to view page 1 of the score