(Written in 2002)
March for Concert Band.
Dedication: To Her Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of Her Golden Jubilee Year.
Commissioned: by the City of Truro Wind Orchestra for the West County Wind Band Jubilee Concert.
pic / 2fl / ob / Ebclt / 3clt / bassclt / bsn / AATBsax / 2hrn / 3trpt / 3trb / eup / tuba / 3timp / perc(3).
[Perc – glock / xylo / s.dr / tamb / trgle / w.blk / s.cym / tam-tam]
Timing: c.6min 20sec.
When I was asked to write a short march for the West of England Wind Band Jubilee Concert in 2002, the year of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee, I wanted to make the work particular to the Cornish bands that would premiere the work. I decided to base the march around St. Piran, the patron saint of Cornwall.
At first, I thought that I would try to describe in music the story of St. Piran and the various legends surrounding him. It became clear when I started composing the piece that I could not do anything like justice to these stories, while being constrained within the form of a short march. So, the work became much simpler and not directly based around the St Piran legends. However, I hope that you can still catch glimpses of my original plan in the way the march starts at a distance (as if we can see St Piran slowly making his way over the sand dunes in the way that is still celebrated today on St Piran’s Day) and the slightly “church-like” choral section in the middle of the piece.
The piece has another element of Cornwall deep in it’s very musical structure. The main tune of the march was based on certain musical figures from the Cornish National song “Trelawny.” Although “Trelawny” is not actually quoted, I like to think that its fingerprints are all over my tune. I also wanted my tune to remind the listener of other folk tunes, many of them Cornish.
- November 2002: Truro Wind Orchestra with the addition of members from H.M.S. Seahawk Volunteer Band, Restormel Concert Band and West Cornwall Concert Band at the Jubilee concert, conductor Colin Touchin.
- National Concert Band Festival Regional Heats; 2003: Truro Wind Orchestra, conductor John Greaves.
“Samuel Becker’s St Piran’s March received its first performance. From an atmospheric opening on flutes and percussion, via a jaunty, almost sea-shanty and reflective passages for flutes and clarinets to a rousing conclusion, the piece and its composer were loudly applauded.”
Judith Whitehouse, local newspaper review.