Martin Mortimer is delighted to announce that the test piece for the British Open Championship of September 2008 will be a new work from Edward Gregson. Entitled Rococo Variations this work, which is a joint commission by The Open and the Norwegian Brass Band Federation, with help from The Co-operative, will be Gregson’s first commissioned test piece for seventeen years. Since 1991 he has devoted his creative output mainly to orchestral music and has completed five orchestral concertos as well as other large scale works. His return to the brass band world is therefore doubly welcome.

Edward Gregson says: “I am delighted to have been commissioned to write the test piece for the 2008 Open Championship. The Open is undoubtedly the finest brass band contest in Britain and has a long and proud record of commissioning new work. Rococo Variations is a kind of Connotations brought into the 21st century and I hope that both bands and audiences will enjoy the experience. In this new work I also pay homage to six fellow composers, past and present, all of whom have made significant contributions to the brass band repertoire.”

Rococo Variations (which is to be published by Studio Music) is the first Open test piece to use the variation form since Philip Wilby’s Paganini Variations of 1991. It will also be set by The Norwegian Brass Band Federation as the test piece for its National Contest in 2009. The sponsors of this year’s Open Championship will be Besson and the contest will be held at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on Saturday 13 September 2008.