The London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble gave the premiere of Mean Time in 1985 at the Greenwich Festival.
As the title suggests the work strongly refers to the location of its first performance in Greenwich, ie, the absolute time reference (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time!
It is a virtuosic work that presents many technical challenges for the ensemble, but overall the approach is lighter and has playful conversations between the players.
It is in three contrasting movements.
The first has lots of energy generated with rapid double tonguing passages and where all the members of the quintet have a vigorous dialogues and take an equal share of the action.
By contrast the second movement which is in ternary form is quite dramatic with more emphasis on the lower instruments and features the trombone, it also uses more vertical chorale type writing.
The last movement is a scherzo in 6/8 time that has a humorous element, with witty exchanges between the players; this leads on to the final section which recalls the lively music of the first movement and ends with a huge conclusive flourish.