Commissioned by the London Brass Virtuosi with funds from Eastern Arts Association

  • 4hn.4tpt.4tbn.tba/perc
  • 10 min

Programme Note

It is never easy to know quite what to do after completing a long and exhausting project. When the deadline for the present commission began to loom, for instance, I was still in the act of completing TIME'S ARROW, the large orchestral piece for this year's Promenade Concert which had been occupying me for the past twelve months. It is dangerous to take a rest at such times for this can rob you of momentum. But it is also difficult to drag yourself away from the expressive world of a recently completed large work to think of new horizons.

In a way this next commission solved both problems. The nature of it (shortish and for brass ensemble) provided a useful contrast to TIME'S ARROW and the approaching deadline left me no time to contemplate a rest period. At the same time, I did feel relieved that I could take up a few new ideas which had been thrown up by working on TIME'S ARROW but which I not needed to develop fully in that work.

As it stands, the new piece charts pasrt of the course of a long river, but merely as a metaphor for what Shakespeareso memorably called "a tide in the affairs od men". It opens very simply with the slow scalic material and after various envents, which either dam, brea up or precipitate the flow, teaches a full spate.

The work is scored for full symphonic brass ensemble of four horns, four trumpets, four trombones, one tuba and percussion. It lasts about 8 minutes and was commissioned by the London Brass Virtuosi, with funds made available by the Eastern Arts Association. The first performance was given in Norwich on 9th October 1990 by the Ensemble conducted by David Honeyball.