Rude Mechanicals was commissioned by the Slidin’ About trombone quartet in 2016 - the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. In my work there are two specific references to the bard’s plays: firstly, the title refers to the group of rustic characters who put on a heartfelt performance to conclude A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the link to the sound world of the trombone quartet seemed quite clear in my mind. When I was close to completing the work in late October 2016 I learned of the passing of my friend and former brass teacher Michael Antrobus to whom I owe a considerable musical debt. Consequently the coda of the piece (in complete contrast to the rest of the music) is slow and sustained and is prefaced by a famous quotation from Act IV of The Tempest: ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little lives are rounded by a sleep’. This final chorale is certainly influenced by Ralph Vaughan Williams’ setting of that same text: Mike loved English music.