South Down Pictures

South Down Pictures was commissioned by Millenium Brass 2000, an organisation comprising three brass bands from the county of Sussex, England.

The bands (Patcham Silver, Hangleton and Brighton Silver) had got together to organise many events to mark the new millennium and these culminated in a concert in Hove Town Hall on July 9th 2000 when all three bands combined to give the first performance of South Down Pictures.

The composer spent much of his childhood amongst the South Downs, a range of hills in Sussex which runs parallel to the sea.

Opening with a strong unison passage, interrupted briefly by faster figures based on the interval of a fifth, South Down Pictures 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 cornet solo over staccato chords. This theme is taken up by the whole band and leads back to a recapitulation of the main theme and earlier material. The cornet tune returns triumphantly in the major key before the opening unison passage reappears to provide a stirring coda.