(Written in 2007)
Four movement suite for wind band
Dedication: To Captain Bruce Miller
Commissioned: by the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers
Pic (fl2) / fl / ob / 3clt / bassclt / bsn / AATsax / 3hrn / 3trpt / 3trb / eup / tuba / 3timp / perc(2).
[Perc – glock / xylo / t dr / w.blk / s dr / t bells / tamb / tam-tam / c, cym / s.cym]
First movement: Fanfare Prelude
Second movement: March
Third movement: Largo
Fourth movement: Presto
The Royal Engineers Suite was written in about five weeks in the summer of 2007. It was commissioned by the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers and the score is dedicated to their conductor, Captain Bruce Miller.
The Suite was written with the intention of providing a tuneful and exciting work that the band could play either as a whole suite or in parts, with each movement standing alone.
The first movement is entitled Fanfare Prelude. It contrasts two ideas – a fanfare like burst of notes and a smoother almost plainchant-like theme. This is presented three times – first in the brass, secondly with a gentler mood in the woodwinds and then gloriously by the whole band.
The second movement is a March. It starts with a cheeky, catchy tune in the clarinets. This is then played by the whole band (listen out for the accompaniment tripping over itself!) and then by brass in full ‘hunting’ mode. There is a contrasting section, with a smooth tune played by euphoniums followed by flutes and saxophone, before the main march returns. After the full band version of the tune this time around, it plunges into a short coda.
The third movement is marked Largo (broadly) and is the most substantial movement of the four. It contrasts two main ideas – a static slow tune at the beginning (piccolo) and a more expressive flowing tune afterwards (clarinet). These tunes are repeated and developed, working up to a big emotional climax. As this dies away, there is a short and rather mysterious coda where a reflective solo clarinet plays over long-held chords and a tolling bell.
The last movement is marked Presto (very fast) and is a headlong, exciting gallop with barely time to draw breath. The main tune at the beginning is put through various developments but can always be heard through the first couple of notes, which are easily recognised. There is a central section where the different brass instruments come in one by one with a big tune. This quietens down but before long we are back in the hurly-burly and, after a very brief moment when the big tune from the middle is remembered, the work races to the finish line.
©Samuel Becker 2007