On Saturday 13th July, Brass and Bronze was performed by the Bespoke Brass ensemble at Cutting Edge Brass, a concert put on by Colchester New Music. For more information about the concert itself, and the other pieces performed, please visit Colchester New Music's Cutting Edge Brass page.
As soon as the opportunity to write for brass quintet presented itself, the thought of combining it with bells immediately came to mind. Bells play a large part in my life as I regularly ring bells in the local glass tower, and they have influenced a number of my pieces in recent years. Whilst thinking my way around the piece, I realised that both brass and bells are used in the key moments in life: bells are used to summon people to celebrations of life, death, births, and other various key moments. Similarly, brass instruments of various types are used in celebratory fanfares, bugle calls, to call people to events in both times of celebration and times of hardship, such as war. It therefore seemed appropriate to use the opportunity to create a piece celebrating the use of both 'sets' of instruments as communicators to humankind.
Bells are often used to summon people to celebrations of life, death, and key moments in life. Similarly, horns and trumpets are used to call people to events in both war and celebration. Brass and Bronze celebrates the use of both brass instruments and bells, combining a brass quintet with bell samples. Rhythms and melodic patterns used echo those found in bugle calls and bell ringing patterns, whilst the repetition of various sections mimics the driving patterns in method ringing, as practiced by church bells.
The bell samples used are samples of the Aldbourne Bells – four types of hand bells (house bells, hame bells, cup bells and crotal bells) cast in the village of Aldbourne, Wiltshire between the late 17th Century and the early 19th Century.
For more information about the Aldbourne Bells sample library please see http://ianpalmersound.com/sound-libraries/aldbourne-bells/ . Many thanks to Ian Palmer for providing me with the library and allowing me to use the samples in Brass and Bronze.