A cairn is a pile of rocks erected as a memorial, often added to over the years by those wishing to pay their respects. It may also mark the summit of a hill, or the route of a path. In Two Cairns, which Onyx Brass commissioned in memory of their friend John Price, the two parts mark different ways of remembering: the first is contemplative and plangent, revolving around the same set of minor chords; the second is celebratory and vital, fracturing into layers of trills before turning to a more wistful chorale at the end. For most of the piece the ensemble is divided into two groups - high and low - but the closing chorale unites the ensemble in a gesture of reconciliation.
Two Cairns: Lento - Vivace