TWO PIECES for brass band:
PURPLED STEEL (2001), SOUNDLESSLY DOWN (2003)
Durations: 7 mins (Purpled Steel), 6 mins (Soundlessly Down)
Click here to see the score of PURPLED STEEL.
Click here to see the score of SOUNDLESSLY DOWN.
My intention in Soundlessly Down was to make use of the expressive qualities of the brass band – its capacity to sustain and shape melodic lines, and to blend together in rich, mellow sonorities. Once the piece had received its première, though, I realised that I also wanted to explore the instruments' potential for more extrovert playing, and that the best way of doing this might be to write a companion piece which would contrast with and complement its predecessor. So Purpled Steel is louder, faster and more overtly rhythmic than Soundlessly Down, and its melodic material tends to cascade chromatically downwards, rather than climb upwards.
Both titles are taken from The North Country by D.H. Lawrence:
‘Soundlessly down across the counties, Out of the resonant gloom that wraps the north in stupor and purple travels the deep, slow boom of the man-life north imprisoned, shut in the hum of the purpled steel As it spins to sleep…’
(Performers: Royal Northern College of Music Brass Band / John Miller)