Composition - When Thunder Calls

When Thunder Calls has been composed and designed to make it a very effective way of starting a concert or a second half of a concert and when performed with all the choreography, this piece makes for an exciting addition to any concert repertoire. Circa 3'58".       Section: 3+

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‘When Thunder Calls’ was commissioned by Dr Nicholas Childs and the Black Dyke Band for their performance at the Gala Concert of the Swiss Open Championships in September 2011. When composing this piece, I decided to focus on both the music and the stage presentation. The way the piece has been composed and designed makes it a very effective way of starting a concert or a second half of a concert.

At the start of the piece, the percussion enter the stage and take their positions in their usual place behind the band. They begin playing the piece without a conductor. They keep repeating the opening section while the Basses, Horns, Baritones and Euphoniums march onto the stage.

This group of musicians take their seats with the Horns, Baritones and Euphoniums sitting where they usually sit in the band but the Basses sit where the solo cornets usually sit, forming an inner semi-circle of lower brass. When seated and when the music gets to the end of bar 4 the piece continues onto section A. All performers keep repeating this next 4-bar phrase until the trombones march onto stage and stand at the front of the stage with the Bass Trombone standing in between the other two trombones.

All performers then play from figure B to C with the trombones taking the lead at the front. When the performers get to rehearsal figure C they repeat this section (the same as section A) while the trombones move from the front of the stage and take their positions where the Basses would normally sit (between the horns and the percussion) and remain standing. Meanwhile, the flugel enters the stage and stands at the front of the stage (standing where the trombones did). When in position the flugel soloist picks up into rehearsal figure D.

When the flugel soloist finishes playing, just before rehearsal figure F they then move to their normal seat in the band. At figure F the cornets march onto the stage from either side, they turn and stand side by side each other facing outward towards the audience forming two ‘fanfare’ lines either side of the lower brass. The conductor follows the cornets on stage and on cue they lift their instruments at the same time and perform when the piece gets to figure G.

There is no more moving around from this point on other than the solo cornet to move forward with the solo euphonium and perform their duet at letter H. Also the horns are required to stand and play at letter I and then sit just before J.

When performed with all the choreography, this piece makes for an exciting addition to any concert repertoire both for the performer and the audience.


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