Movements 2 and 3 first performed by Bedford School Brass Ensemble, dir. Guy Bennett, 25 November 2000, Great Hall, Bedford School
Complete work first performed by Bedford School Brass Ensemble, cond. the composer, 29 February 2001, St Martin-in-the-Fields, London
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This work started life in 1996, being based on two incomplete birthday odes I had sketched for two friends in Bristol. Originally intended for voices, I had always intended to rearrange them for brass instruments, and the opportunity arose in the summer of 2000, when I had the chance of writing for Bedford School's Brass Ensemble.
The first movement, 'Prelude', mainly exploits the tensions produced by syncopated melodic ideas over ostinati textures. The second movement, 'Passacaglia', opens as a sinister waltz, gradually building up into a climax and giving way to a peaceful resolution. The last movement, 'Burlesque' is dominated by a lilting tune in 6/8, with occasional crude outbursts.