The Festival of Bands
commissioned Endeavour for the Bicentennial World Brass Band Championship held
in Brisbane, Australia on July 29th 1988.
The piece takes it title
from the name of the ship in which Captain James Cook circumnavigated the globe
in an effort to find the mysterious ‘Terra Australis’, a large continental
landmass that was believed to exist in the southern oceans. The work is in three
The Unknown Continent
attempts to depict the countless fruitless voyages undertaken by many explorers
to find Australia. The mysterious opening on muted basses leads to an enigmatic
euphonium solo. As land is eventually sighted the mood brightens and the full
band joins in a triumphal chorale. This gives the way to in trepidation as land
The New Challenge
describes the struggles of the early pioneers to settle the new land. Various
strident motives are laid on to a bass ostinato until eventually a sturdy march
themes develops. A fugal passage follows which reaches a climax and dissolves
into a slower central section with solos for flugel and euphonium, followed by
accompanied cadenzas for cornet and horn.
Then follows a Celebration of Australia today, a young nation full of youthful confidence. A fanfare opening leads to many diverse but interrelated themes being thrown around the band. Fragments from the ‘New Challenge’ are recalled, this time in optimistic mood, and a gradual accelerando leads to triumphal ending.