scrt.rcrt.4 solo crt.4 crt.3 hn.2 bar.2 trbn.btrbn 2 euph.2 tuba(Eb).2 tuba(BBb) - perc (3): 2 timp/tam-t/2 susp.cym/cyms/xyl/(mar)/t.bells/glsp/SD/BD/tgl
Score and parts for hire
Altitude was written in the summer of 1977, at the request of Elgar Howarth. The music portrays an imaginary fight at an extreme height – cold, solitary, tranquil, and yet swift and mobile. The form is roughly as follows:- (i) A fast, but harmonically static opening section, with a long melody in the tubas; (ii) A slower, more flowing section, beginning with a descending theme played by a solo cornet; (iii) Tense development of previous material, culminating in a full fortissimo statement of the cornet’s theme. (iv) A long, gradual crescendo superimposing several layers of texture, and building up to a climax in which the opening theme appears augmented in the trombones and tubas; (v) Final appearance of the cornet’s theme; (vi) Repeat of the beginning (with alterations in orchestration) converging on a single note (D) and disappearing in a flash.