Faber Music is delighted that composer Simon Dobson’s colourful and dramatic work Journey of the Lone Wolf has been selected as the set test-piece for the 2016 Championship Section finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, to be held at the Royal Albert Hall, London on Saturday 8 October.
This is the first time that a work by Dobson has been chosen for the elite division of this famous brass band contest. The work depicts the story of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók and was commissioned by Nicholas Childs for Black Dyke Band in 2014.
Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. His work bristles with colour and energy, with its roots deep in the earth of his beloved Hungary. However, Bartók was born into a landscape of perpetual social and political change. Bartók was a quiet and lonely child, prevented from playing with other children by illness. He found solace in the folk music his devoted mother taught him to play at the piano. Many of Bartók's middle period of compositions, especially his slower paced movements have been coined Night Music, evocative of the landscape or emotional reaction to night time or darkness.
"Bartók was the Lone Wolf.
A man who musically fought tyranny and fascism.
His journey took him from the hills of the Balkans to the heart of the New World.
His singular vision may have meant a life out in the cold,
a life without warmth and love, a life without true happiness,
a death mourned by few in a strange land,
but Bartók was the Lone Wolf."
Journey of the Lone Wolf is portrayed in three linked movements:
1. Capturing the Peasants’ Song: After the upheaval of moving to Budapest the young Béla Bartók meets Zoltán Kodály and the pair embark on summertime adventures throughout the Hungarian countryside to collect and catalogue the astonishing variety (both harmonically and rhythmically) of gypsy and folk music heard in the Balkans. The arrival of WW1 plunges Bartók's beloved Hungary into chaos.
2. Night Music: Bartók was at times a cold man, aloof and lonely. The odd moments of tenderness he showed are portrayed here in a series of evocative solos. His brief but intense affairs speak of a love he could only long for. Jazz is my night music and here there are hints of what Bartók may have heard in the USA later in his life.
3. Flight and Fight: Having been forced by the world's evils to leave his homeland of Hungary for America, Bartók, the anti-fascist, felt isolated and angry. In this movement we hear his longing for a simpler time of gypsy folk dances as well as his maturity and depth as a composer finally exploring deeper colours and darker themes.
The National Brass Band Championships, which have existed since 1945 in their current format, are split into five sections – Championship Section, and 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th sections – and eight qualifying regions in the UK. The Championship Section Final is held in London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall, in October.
For more information about Journey of the Lone Wolf for brass band and percussion, please visit www.fabermusicstore.com.
Performance notes on the revised edition can be viewed here.