I composed this brass quartet in 1962, the year before I entered the Royal Academy of Music as a student. It was written for a young composer’s competition, and was one of the earliest pieces I composed which was later published – by the Salvation Army (SA) in 1967. It uses the hymn tune ‘Rousseau’ as its secondary idea (all SA music had to have a hymn tune in its make-up, rather like the Lutheran church and its chorales), but otherwise is ‘up-front’ and march-like in style.
I remember taking the quartet in manuscript form to Ray Steadman-Allen, a composer of note within the SA, and asked him for some advice. He said it was fine as it stood with a few minor changes, and thus it was performed. It didn’t win the competition but the experience was valuable. As a matter of interest, the other young composers who were performed and published in the same album were Bruce Broughton, Howard Burrell, and Kenneth Downie, all of course now well known composers in their own right.
Rousseau was published by SP&S Ltd. in 1967, in Instrumental Album no. 27.