• John McCabe
  • Northern Lights (1992)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Britannia Building Society Band and the Royal Northern College of Music

  • brass band
  • 13 min

Programme Note

Allegro - Andantino - Lento - Moderato e Calmo - Andantino - Allegro

Northern Lights is dedicated to the Britannia Building Society Brass Band and the Royal Northern College of Music, by whom it was jointly commissioned, and was written in tribute to the memory of the late Harry Mortimer, for so many years one of the greatest shining lights of the Brass Band movement. Apart form the usual band instruments, it also employs a moderate percussion section, perhaps a shade less extensive than in some of my other pieces.

Lasting about 11 minutes, the piece is basically a Prelude and Fugue in form, with a quick introduction and then a slow movement with two contrasting ideas, a flowing Andantino and a central, slower section in which a descending sequence of simple major/minor chords alternates with cadenza-like solos on Flugelhorn and Euphonium respectively. The Andantino returns, briefly, and leads into the Fugue, dominated by frequent changes of metre and a good deal of virtuosity for all the players. The work ends with a triumphant return of the introductory material and a reaffirmation of the note G as the work's key centre.

© 1992 John McCabe


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