For solo baritone 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.
Parts: T.C. and B.C.
Brass bands have always been aware of their history and heritage – and the music written for them over the last one hundred and fifty years reflects this. The unique contesting nature of so much of this repertoire means that composers have had to balance technical display with lyrical and interpretive aspects. Much of the repertoire looks back at what has gone before, paying homage if you like, while building on it and adding something current. Works like Edward Gregson’s Of Distant Memories (Music in an olden style) have done this very successfully to great acclaim. My own Nostalgic Aria’s, subtitled Glances Back, also pays homage to the past – and to elements of the traditional ‘Air and Variation’ (or ‘Air Varie’ as bands people call it). The piece moves through several different sections unified by the dotted rhythmic idea of the very opening bars. After a melodic introduction and a short cadenza, the piece moves into a richly romantic arioso cantilena-like section that is flanked on either side by shorter passages of technical display. A pseudo-Baroque fugato (in 3 / 4 waltz time) ensues that shows the Baritone’s dancing lightness and facility, before the piece culminates into a head-long rush to the finish - like an arrow to its target.