Overture for Brass


For brass quintet

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Overture for Brass

Duration: 2’

Premiered by the Naples Philharmonic Brass Quintet (1995)


Overture for Brass was written early in my career (1994), for a concert to feature the Naples Philharmonic Brass Quintet. The program had all but been decided, and included many of the standard works for brass quintet. The only things lacking were any “new” music and an opener. Being a member of the group, I was difficult to reject when I suggested the possibility of combining the two and composing a new work to begin the concert.

Overture for Brass is an up-tempo, high spirited work and lasts not much more than 2 minutes. It has moments reminiscent of Kabalevsky, a composer of whom I was fond at the time. Harmonically, it flirts with the three keys suggested by the augmented triad of G-flat, B-flat and D, before settling on B-flat at the finish. The rhyth- mic complexity at letter B is somewhat of an inside joke related to our group in Naples. The trombonist, Michael Zion, often commented on how my music was very rhythmic; therefore, the remaining four members of the group “enjoy” juxtaposing 2 against 3 against 5, while the trombonist marches forward in a seemingly innocuous “simple” 2/4 pattern. Ironically, it is this “simple” part that ends up being the most difficult! [One should never make observations to a composer in the group!]

The premiere took place in the fall of 1994.

Jim Stephenson

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