• Paul Mealor
  • The Heart of Hidden Flame (2014)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain

  • Soprano Cornet in Eb Solo Cornet in Bb Repiano Cornet in Bb 2nd Cornet in Bb 3rd Cornet in Bb Flugelhorn in Bb Solo Horn in Eb 1st Horn in Eb 2nd Horn in Eb 1st Baritone in Bb 2nd Baritone in Bb 1st Trombone in Bb 2nd Trombone in Bb Bass Trombone Euphonium in Bb Eb Bass Bb Bass Timpani Percussion 1 Percussion 2
  • 15 min

Programme Note

The prolific Scottish writer, William Sharp (1855-1905) was a friend and confidant to the literati of the day; an active member of the occult world of the late Victorian period; and a man who spent his life cloaked in layers of secrets – the most important being that he was the pen behind the writings of the mysterious, the mystic, Fiona Macleod. His work, ‘The Silence of Amor’ has been a favourite of mine for many years and is full of Celtic yearning, romantic mysticism and visions of a world that is connected both physically and spiritually at every level; a world that reflects outwardly the emotions each of us hold within.

In the passage I selected to preface my score, Sharp is at his most mystical. Here, he presents a swirling image - an oxymoron of light and darkness, of shadow and flame. Sharp is afraid of this ‘ever’-being; but is drawn to it, nonetheless.

My work for brass band takes Sharp’s image as an inspiration and a starting point. The structure, at a macro and micro-level is governed by opposites. Differing types of musical material are placed on top, inside and alongside each other, causing coalescence and change.

Also, the image of the swirling flames being devoured or absorbed by dusk and darkness or rather, at times, a darkness hiding its flame - runs throughout the entire composition. The Celtic world that inspired Sharp so much also infuses this work – Celtic dances, manic ceilidh’s and long, melancholic, folksongs colour and flavour the work.

‘The Heart of Hidden Flame’ was commissioned and premiered by the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain conducted by Bramwell Tovey, during their summer course 2015. It is dedicated to my great uncle, James Baird Williams – former President of the Welsh Brass Band Association, and the man who introduced me to the wonder of brass.

Paul Mealor