Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Grimethorpe Aria

Sir Harrison Birtwistle Grimethorpe Aria
Grimethorpe Aria

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Grimethorpe Aria

Year of composition:
1973
Scored for:
for brass ensemble
Composer:
Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Instrumentation:
cornet(9), flhn, hn(3), t.tbn(2), bass tbn, euph(2), bar(2), tuba(4)
Instrumentation details:
Kor(Eb), 8 cornet(Bb), flghr, 3 hr(Eb), 2 t.tbn, bass tuba, 2 Euph, 2 Barytone(Bb), 2 basses(Eb) (bass tuba), 2 basses(Bb) (bass tuba)
Commission:
Commissioned by Grimethorpe Colliery Band for the 1973 Harrogate Festival
Duration:
14’
Dedication:
Dedicated to Elgar Howarth and the Grimethorpe Colliery Band
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The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

Grimethorpe Aria was written in 1973, commissioned by Grimethorpe Colliery Band and first performed under the composer's direction at the Harrogate Festival of that year.

In mood it relates closely to The Triumph of Time, the orchestral piece Birtwistle wrote for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1972, being in the same general adagio tempo, pessimistic and bleak in feeling. Texturally too, it has close parallels with that piece, the instrumentation being often dense and multi-layered.

Birtwistle in fact has created a new sound from the traditional instrumentation of the brass band, dispensing with the unison writing normally associated with cornet and tuba sections in particular, giving each player a separate and independent part.

Structurally the piece falls into three continuous sections; a slow, almost reluctant, beginning leading to brief phrases on solo flugelhorn and tenor horn, a middle section where a choir of cornets and baritones are interrupted in their cantilena by fierce, harshly punctuated fanfares from the other cornets and trombones – a section which climaxes in a huge tutti of massive dynamic – and finally an elegiac coda begun by two solo euphoniums and continued to the close by solo flugelhorn and tenor horns.

Elgar Howarth

Special prints

Grimethorpe Aria

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Grimethorpe Aria

score
for brass ensemble , 14’
Instr.: cornet(9), flhn, hn(3), t.tbn(2), bass tbn, euph(2), bar(2), tuba(4)

Grimethorpe Aria

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Grimethorpe Aria

score
for brass ensemble , 14’
Instr.: cornet(9), flhn, hn(3), t.tbn(2), bass tbn, euph(2), bar(2), tuba(4)

Grimethorpe Aria

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Grimethorpe Aria

score
for brass ensemble , 14’
Instr.: cornet(9), flhn, hn(3), t.tbn(2), bass tbn, euph(2), bar(2), tuba(4)

World première

Location:
Harrogate
Date:
15.08.1973
Orchestra:
Grimethorpe Colliery Band
Conductor:
Harrison Birtwistle

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