Commissioned by the Bolton Youth Concert Band for their 10th anniversary with funds from the Trustees Savings Bank

  • Symphonic Wind band
  • 6 min

Programme Note

This work was commissioned by the Bolton Youth Concert Band in 1985 for their 10th anniversary, with funds provided by the Trustee Savings Bank. It was first performed by the Bolton Youth Concert Band, conducted by Nigel Taylor, in Kortrijk, Belgium, at the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles Conference in July 1985.

Festivo is cast in one continuous movement, about 6 minutes long, and is celebratory and joyful in mood. There are two main ideas, the first of which is announced by unison horns at the very outset. This opening short section leads into a slightly faster tempo where the main theme (or second idea) is anticipated in rapidly changing metres and is tossed around various instruments (with the snare drum quietly underpinning it with repeated patterns). The main theme is finally announced by clarinets.

The form becomes a simple rondo, with this main theme coming back twice more. The first episode unfolds a lyrical melody based on the first (or Introduction) theme and passed round various solo instruments. The second episode takes its hat off to minimalism, but only briefly, before finally both themes combine to end the work in a blaze of colour.

Edward Gregson