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... MOV'D WITH CONCORD OF SWEET SOUNDS
This work takes its title from Lorenzo’s speech in The Merchant of Venice (V i): “The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.”
Composed to commission in 2011, this septet was first performed in March 2017 in the church of St James the Great, Cupar, Fife in Scotland by the St Andrew’s Brass Septet, director Bede Williams. It is a tour de force for all the players – a single movement in several contrasting sections, with tightly-knit development of the various motifs. To reinforce the highly rhythmic nature of this piece, the time signature changes constantly. Whilst ostensibly tonal overall, several passages leave the key deliberately unclear, and edges are sometimes ‘blurred’ by phasing doubled notes to produce new timbres. As might be expected with a brass ensemble, there are hints of fanfares but these are sparingly used – quieter, expressive passages are equally dominant. Muted effects add to the range of colour created – sometimes, as at the end, with a mixture of open and muted playing.
The final section substantially reworks a withdrawn part-song, When the Spring Comes, dating from 1973, which serves here as a coda, concluding with a quiet air of resignation and wry humour.
Duration: 7 minutes 30 seconds