brass band
Brass Band
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

Written for Elgar Howarth and the Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band

First Performance
12.5.1979, York University, York, UK: Grimethorpe Colliery Band/Elgar Howarth

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

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.

© George Benjamin

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