Northern Coast

Suite for Brass band
(Version for Brass sextet available)

Durata 12´

I. Coastline

 

II. Living Cathedral

 

III. Passacaglia (on a scandinavian folk-dance rhythm)

Performance by Solna Brass and Emil Björklund

 

In 2009, me and my family went to northern California on vacation. We went there to see the spectacular coast and of course, the giant Sequoias. We were warned about the weather conditions in april, but we thought that as scandinavians, we would be prepared for this. Upon arrival, however, the weather was so bad that the coast was literally invisible from fog and the mountain roads were closed due to snow. We had no choice but to return to San Francisco without seeing anything. A few days later, the Icelandic volcano Eyafjellajökull erupted, cancelling all transatlantic flights and stranding us in San Francisco for two weeks. It turned out to be the best vacation we ever had.

The first movement ”Coastline” is a grand vista of high cliffs and crashing waves. The main theme of the entire suite (Eb-Bb-Ab) is stated in the first bars by the upper brass, the secondary theme a few bars later by the euphoniums. In the middle-section, a new bird-call motif is introduced. After a climatic statement of the secondary theme, all themes come together in the ocean swell, here portrayed by the low brass and strange lip-glissandi in the trombones.

The second movement ”Living Cathedral” is a walk in a serene forest with its soft strange noises and solemn pillars. In the beginning of the movement, we hear a strange birdcall in the solo cornet. This is followed by lyrical statements of the main theme in different solo instruments. After a short section where we can hear the distant sea in muted instruments, a short polyphony leads up to the climax of the movement.

The third and final movement, ”Brisk Breeze- Passacaglia over a Scandinavian folk-dance rhythm” is a brisk walk in the capriccious coastal winds. The scandinavian landscape also has large solemn forests and mighty coastline, so when I revisited the coast of northern California in composing this Suite, i used a Swedish folk-dance, ”polska” for the movement. The movement is a somewhat unorthodox passacaglia with the theme being in traditional dance form (A-A-B). Each form-section has its own variation, thus the theme is stated four times, but the variations are twelve. This is a very humorous piece.

The percussion in this piece (two players) are entirely optoinal, the instruments used are:

2 Pedal timpani
2 suspensed cymbals of different pitch
Crash cymbals
Tam-Tam
Bass Drum
Jawbone
Anvil
Glockenspiel
Tubular bells (Eb-Bb-AB-G-D-C)

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