When David Thornton commissioned me to write an euphonium concerto for him to be performed with brass band (Black Dyke Band), I immediately new that I was going to write a three movement concerto, following the classical fast-slow-fast scheme.
It starts with a quite playful rhythmic structure: the new world record in 100 metres (sprint race) world record 9.58. I was watching TV when Usian Bolt won the title and, and like everybody else I was just amazed!
The first movement is called ”air”.
The second movement is called ”blue”. Blue is not only a colour, it can also be a kind of feeling that has something to do with melancholy. It can also be interpreted as blue notes, as in blues, or quarter-tones as I use them in the trombone-parts in places.
While planning this part of the concerto, I was reading Michael Endes "The Never Ending Story". I suddenly realized that I had to ask for ”voices of children” (boys choire/children´s choire). I also knew that this would be a kind of strange request in a piece for euphonium and brass band. But I just had to. The part is optional, I guess it has to be..
The soloist starts with a melody in big leaps, interpreting the numbers from the first movement as intervals. After the opening sections, you should be able to hear something that might reminds you of blues, before the band pick up the opening theme in a quite massive section that leads first to a short cadenza, and then a new cadenza, a bit longer than the first one.
The third movement is called ”ice”.
I had a cold landscape in mind, surrounded by rocks. There are people in it, trying to sing. The soloist has to sing and play at the same time, creating multiphonics. He is joined by other players doing the same effects. Finally the soloist start to ”slide on the ice” so to speak. Fast semiquavers (16-notes) all the way to the end.