Overture for Woodwinds

Overture for Woodwinds was commissioned by the Berkshire Young Musicians Trust, an educational organisation based in the south of England.

They managed a strong wind programme, and it was a feature of their programme to teach wind and brass separately. So, in addition to running several brass bands, they organised a large woodwind ensemble for their student players. This piece is one of several they commissioned to increase the amount of available repertoire for the group. Scored for, effectively, the wind section of a concert band, such pieces can offer variety to the conventional band programme.

Opening with a strong unison passage, interrupted briefly by faster figures based on the interval of a fifth, Overture for Woodwinds develops with an often-passionate legato melody. Reaching a climax, this is then followed by the main vivo section of the work, whose main theme is based on the earlier ‘fifth’ figures. A bridge passage leads to a short chorale figure and a rhythmic climax which dissolves into a plaintive solo for oboe over staccato clarinets. This theme is taken up by the whole group and leads back to a recapitulation of the main theme and earlier material. The oboe tune returns triumphantly in the major key before the opening unison passage reappears to provide a stirring coda.