array(0) { } Three Places In Old England – Prima Vista Musikk

Three Places In Old England

This brass quartet was commissioned in 2008 by Stephen Arthur Allen, Assistant Professor of Music at Rider University, New Jersey, USA, for his Princeton Brass Quartet.

Since Dr Allen is both English and a fellow Midlander, I felt it appropriate that the piece should refer to the area of our birth and upbringing.  Thus, adapting the title from a very well-known work by Charles Ives, I have created three sketches of places in the West Midlands familiar to both of us.

The first movement, Warwick Castle, consists of antiphonal fanfare figures contrasting with slow, chorale-like passages harmonised using quartal and quintal harmonisation in contrary motion representing the massive structure of the castle itself.  The fanfares are written in perfect fourths, an echo of medieval organum, with the two cornets answered by the tenor horn and euphonium.  The chorale passages are in block chords to give the impression of a massive edifice.

The second movement, Stratford-upon-Avon, recalls thoughts of William Shakespeare and makes use of two dances popular in Shakespearian England, the stately Pavane and the lively Galliard.

The final movement, Cannock Chase, takes us to an open stretch of Staffordshire countryside.  In medieval times, vast tracts of woodland were cleared to provide the aristocracy with space to hunt deer on horseback.  In this movement, a hunt is underway, with tenor horn and euphonium providing us with the horns of the hunters.

Product information

Composer
Rodney Newton
Instrumentation
Brass Quartet
Duration
6'00"
Difficulty Level
Moderate

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