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