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Brass Quintet – Chamber Festival 2023

CURNOW Capriccio
ARNOLD Quintet No. 1
NISHIMURA When The Clouds Break
LEWIS Collaroy Skies*
GRAINGER arr THORP Irish Tune from County Derry
MEEBOER Kaalins Flight
HALLAM Punch and Judy*

Trumpet: Phill O’Neill
Trumpet: Arkie Moore
French Horn: Adrian Hallam
Trombone: Gareth Lewis
Tuba: James Barrow

Leichhardt Town Hall, Leichardt NSW

Sunday, September 17th at 12:00 pm

Brass Quintet – Concert Information

Curnow, JamesCapriccio (1991)

Capriccio was written for the Carillon Brass Quintet Dayton, Ohio in 1991. The composer, James Curnow, was born in Port Huron, Michigan. James started out on euphonium and later pursued conducting, composition and arranging. He has written over two hundred works for bands, orchestras, choirs and ensembles and has received many awards for his work.

Adrian Hallam

Arnold, MalcolmQuintet for Brass Op.73 (1961)

The modern brass quintet is believed to have been established as a formal chamber group in the 1940’s. The first quintets were The Chicago Brass Quintet and The New York Brass Quintet. Sir Malcolm’s Quintet for Brass is a classic of the genre as it established the brass quintet instrumentation of two trumpets, French horn, trombone and tuba as the standard. It was written for the New York Brass Quintet who were the premiere group at the time. This challenging work is divided into three movements and contains idiomatic writing and demands virtuosic prowess from all players.

1: Allegro

2: Chaconne

3: Con brio

Adrian Hallam

Nishimura, CaitWhen The Clouds Break (2020)

“Imagine staring up at a sky that is bright and sunny, but full of layers of big clouds. As the clouds shift and move overhead, the sunlight dances around the edges of the clouds and teases the release of its warmth. When the clouds finally break, the sun pours through the sky for just a brief and glorious moment before being hidden again. This experience is reflected musically in the harmonic tension and syncopated rhythms throughout this piece. As I played around with these ideas, I was reminded of the moments of tension and release found both in nature and in the human experience.

This piece was released in 2020, when the COVID-19 global pandemic caused some pretty serious cloud cover over us all. My hope is to provide a brief moment of metaphorical sunshine to anyone who interacts with this piece.”

Cait Nishimura

Lewis, GarethCollaroy Skies (2023) World Premiere

Collaroy is a beachside suburb of Sydney where I grew up and lived until 2001. It is a place of memories and nostalgia for me but as many of my colleagues and friends have experienced, near our former home sits a conference centre where a multitude of band camps, jazz camps and youth group retreats have occurred and so many people share my nostalgia for the scenes, senses and memories of this area. The sky is evocative and for me stimulates thought and creativity.

The three movements of this work form a progression from boyhood explorations climbing trees and bushwalking; to a discovery of the pleasure of the ocean; to the road which leads in and out of Collaroy and therefore is the path to new adventures.

I. Worcester Street – The Backyard is named after the street where my parents built our home. There were no other kids living in the street and my sister was at first too young for my kind of adventures, so the sounds of the backyard were of silence, the Kookaburra, and the bounce of the trampoline. It is a short piece, only 28 bars long with three brief solos from Trumpet, Horn and Trombone

II. Long Reef – The wave depicts my local surfing beach on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Warmth, salt, sand and the movement the swell provides as you ride its’ waves. The melody is sustained yet always about to turn a new direction. The movement shifts to a counterpoint between the Trumpets and then comes to a conclusion with a hemiola between two pitches as the day at the beach wraps up.

III. Pittwater Road opens with the two pitches from the end of the previous movement now played by Tuba. This develops into a flashy cadenza as the Tuba takes the spotlight, soon shifting into a stop-start introduction, somewhat like traffic waiting for space to accelerate and get to the “other places” their path will take them. The Trumpets really get this march-like hustle and bustle underway for the Horn to eventually bring us to our main melodic idea for this part of the journey. There are a couple of harmonic twists as the adventure reaches a new destination with a final tutti flourish.

Gareth Lewis

Grainger, Percy (Arr)
Thorp, Joan (Arranged for Brass Quintet)
Irish Tune from County Derry (1918)

“For the following beautiful air, I have to express my very grateful acknowledgment to Miss J. Ross, of N.-T.-Limavady, in the county of Londonderry — a lady who has made a large collection of the popular unpublished melodies of that county, which she has very kindly placed at my disposal, and which has added very considerably to the stock of tunes which I had previously acquired from that still very Irish county. I say still very Irish, for though it has been planted for more than two centuries by English and Scottish settlers, the old Irish race still forms the great majority of its peasant inhabitants; and there are few, if any, counties in which, with less foreign admixture, the ancient melodies of the country have been so extensively preserved. The name of the tune unfortunately was not ascertained by Miss Ross, who sent it to me with the simple remark that it was ” very old,” in the correctness of which statement I have no hesitation in expressing my perfect concurrence.”

Percy Grainger

Meeboer, RyanKaalin’s Flight (2019)

This piece was influenced by the music of the Middle East and India. ‘Kaalin’ is the Hindi word for ‘rug’, much like the one ridden by Aladdin in the famous story. This piece can even be considered a programmatic piece, as if someone were riding a magic carpet through the Arabic or Indian communities. The opening is used to set the mood, reflect the mystery of the continent, and introduce the sounds of Middle Eastern melodies (and scales). The short introduction slowly builds until it climaxes and moves into the upbeat, dance feel, like that used in Bollywood films.

Ryan Meeboer

Hallam, AdrianPunch and Judy (2023) World Premiere

Punch and Judy is a traditional puppet show usually performed at the seaside in a small booth.

The Punch and Judy show has been performed in the UK for over 350 years and traces its origin back to the 16th Century Italian puppet Pulcinella. The performance consists of a sequence of short scenes involving an interaction with the anarchic Mr Punch and another character, this allows the audience or passerby on the street to join or leave the show at any time.

The unapologetic violence has caused controversy ever since the show started 350 years ago. In 1849 Charles Dickens wrote: “In my opinion the street Punch is one of those extravagant reliefs from the realities of life which would lose its hold upon the people if it were made moral and instructive. I regard it as quite harmless in its influence, and as an outrageous joke which no one in existence would think of regarding as an incentive to any kind of action or as a model for any kind of conduct.”

The characters of a Punch and Judy show vary but usually include a baby, hungry crocodile, a clown, policeman, devil and a prop of sausages. The storyline is slapstick comedy and involves Mr Punch behaving outrageously with these characters interspersed with jokes, songs and audience interaction.

This work contains 9 short scenes.
1 Showtime: The opening of “The Punch and Judy Show”
2 Mr Punch: The rhythm for this movement is taken from Mr Punch’s catch phrase “That’s the way to do it!”. The trumpets use harmon mutes to imitate a swazzle (like a mini kazoo) which is used to produce the harsh rasping voice of Punch.
3 Judy: Judy is the long-suffering wife of Punch who continually harangues him.
4 The Baby: Mr Punch is forced to look after the baby and drops the baby into a sausage machine. Cue the string of sausages prop.
5 Mr Plod: Mr Plod the Policeman comes to investigate this outrageous crime.
6 Joey The Clown: Joey, the nicest of all the characters, is a friend to the audience and plays tricks on Punch. They usually end up playing tug-o-war with the sausages. Joey is based on the famous clown Joey Grimaldi who performed in England in the early 1800’s.
7 The Crocodile: Snap the crocodile is hungry, and he can smell “squashages”! This character involves the audience participation of “He’s behind you!”
8 The Devil: The Devil shows up to collect Mr Punch for all his misdeeds. A popular twist is for Mr Punch to succeed in killing or outwitting the Devil. However, in this modern era, Mr Punch finds salvation through damnation!
9 Finale: The final bows, all the puppets come back to take a bow including the baby!

Adrian Hallam