My second Brass Quartet was written in 1968, immediately after I finished my studies at the Royal Academy of Music, and was in response to a request from my then publisher, R Smith & Co, to write some chamber music for brass band instruments. My Brass Quartet No 1 (also written in 1968) was scored for the usual combination of two cornets, horn and euphonium, but the second is scored for two horns, baritone, and tuba, giving the music a somewhat mellower sound world than the First Quartet. It is also a miniature in form in that it barely lasts six minutes.
The music is in three movements: Prelude, Scherzo and Postlude. The outer movements are slow and thoughtful, while the middle Scherzo is rather astringent in character, with virtuoso demands made on the players. The Prelude begins with a duet for the two horns, answered by baritone and tuba, the material being rather rhetorical in style and although the Postlude begins in a similar fashion it also develops material from the Scherzo (slowed down of course) in the manner of a fugal exposition. The music ends with a series of quiet chords.