© 2017 James (Ka Wai) Chan

at the gates

for solo cello and brass band

First performance by Malcolm Goodare (cello) and the University of Manchester Brass Band

Conducted by James Heathcoate

        

Instrumentation

solo vlc.soprano cornet.solo cornets.repiano cornet.flugel horn.

2nd cornets.3rd cornets-solo horn.1st horn.2nd horn-1st baritone.

2nd baritone-1st trombones.2nd trombones.bass trombone-euphoniums.Eb bass.Bb bass-perc(4):I-crot/SD; II-glsp/whip; III-vib/

susp.cym; IV-BD/tam-t/timp

Programme Note

This piece was a commission from the University of Manchester for a

joint concert between the Brass Band and String Orchestra, hence the

unorthodox combination of solo cello and brass band.

 

In order to solve the challenges presented by the instrumentation,

mostly regarding balance and blend, I turned to the 2nd movement of

Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto, which has been likened to Orpheus

taming the Furies, and this is where I took the inspiration for the piece.

 

Taking the Beethoven as model, I envisioned the soloist and the band

as two diametrically opposed forces. The cello is relentlessly lyrical

while the brass band is at first ferocious and aggressive, but towards

the end of the piece this transforms into much gentler material with

lush harmony and texture, tracing a trajectory from opposition to

harmony.

 

JC