seven bells

Composed in 1987, this was first performed by Buccinate Brass Ensemble, in the Walton Room, Highbury House (North Hertfordshire Music Centre), Hitchin on 19 June of that year.

Written especially for the unusual combination of seven trumpets and piano.

Constructed as an extended ternary structure, the outer sections are in a D modal minor key, and the contrasting middle section is in B flat major.

The piece borrows from a mixture of styles: part pseudo Irish-folk in the dorian mode, part jazz, with syncopated rhythms and ‘blue’ notes, and part popular music with simple tonic-bass harmony, albeit with an individual style of juxtaposing remote chords within a key.

The brass instruments explore a variety of textures and tone colours; mutes are extensively used to provide contrasting timbres.

The piano part gives a strong harmonic support, with occasional melodic interjections.

7 Up was arranged by the composer to form the first movement of Three Dialogues for flute, solo guitar and guitar ensemble. In 1995, it was also turned into Duetto Capriccioso for two pianos.