For solo cornet in B flat and piano. Commissioned by The Brass Band Association of New Zealand for use as a test piece at the National Brass Band Championships of New Zealand ‘Champion Brass’, Wellington April 2017.
As well as displaying technical features of the instrument Cornet Rhapsody also explores its expressive qualities. It is structured like the old-style Hungarian rhapsodies of Bela Bartok: a slow section that features dotted rhythms, contrasted with a dance-like quick section. The opening theme is based on a phrase from a Hungarian folk tune, based on the pentatonic scale D-F-G-A-C (on the cornet). This theme is developed in different keys and embellished by the soloist. The ‘chugging’ rhythm of the piano is also characteristic of folk-style playing. Following a climax, the soloist has a cadenza that is based on both the opening theme and the new theme to come, in the ‘allegro’. This new theme outlines steps of thirds and again contrasts different key areas. At letter F a third theme emerges, also pentatonic in nature, over a rushing piano accompaniment. These themes are varied, building to a climax and another short cadenza. A top D on cornet is followed by a brief and exciting coda.