This work was specially commissioned as the test piece for a new brass band competition in 1971, held at the Royal Albert Hall, London. It is in three movements, the titles of which all have literary connotations. The first movement, Dialogue takes the form of ‘conversations’ between the instruments, based on the opening melody announced in unison on cornets and euphoniums. A second theme is introduced on the flugel horn and developed alongside this, creating a sonata form shell.
The second movement, Soliloquy is dedicated to the memory of Gilbert Vinter – a composer who did so much in the 1960s to bring the brass band into the modern world. The movement is poignant in mood, which is depicted by a cornet solo announced after a brief introduction. The middle section builds to a powerful climax, at which point the opening theme of the first movement is heard again. Tranquillity returns however, with a solo trombone now playing the original theme with other instruments adding decorative accompanying patterns.
The final movement, Epigram, creates strong rhythmic contrasts and exploits the more virtuoso character of the brass band. The middle section, with its changing time patterns and open expansive melody, suggests a ‘big-country’ style. A rhythmically charged coda concludes the work in exciting fashion.