Home > Trumpet Concerto, Work in progress > Goodbye imagists, hello trumpets

Goodbye imagists, hello trumpets


After what seems like years, but was probably four or five months, I’ve finally finished my Songs on Imagist Poems.  So this is six songs on texts by a range of poets from the Imagist movement that thrived in the first part of the twentieth century, including F S Flint (three poems), D H Lawrence and Ezra Pound.  They track a trajectory from foreboding (with the menacing image of a swan destroying peace by a river) through pain and death to a complex and mystic rebirth in Pound’s A Girl:

The tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast –
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

I’m not sure if the music lives up to this.  It’s certainly among my most inventive, particularly in the piano writing, as well as being rhythmically extremely free, with much use of clustered runs of quintuplets and sextuplets.

So, the next step is to tidy the score up and get it to the point where it looks vaguely civilised, and then I can settle  down to the serious business of trying to persuade someone to perform it.  But before I do that I’m going to have a bit of a rest.


And during that rest I can think about the next piece, a Trumpet Concerto.  Two things I seem to be converging on are as follows:

  • Use a relatively small orchestra, so probably 4-2-2-3 2-0-2-1, but with unconventional dispositions, e.g. most likely both trombones will be bass instruments.  Note the complete absence of orchestral trumpets, so as to leave the soloist alone at the top of the brass texture.  Strings will probably be subdivided, so four groups of violins and two each of violas and ‘cellos.
  • The basic model is something along the lines of Schmidt’s Fourth Symphony, which, of course, has a very important part for solo trumpet.  I’m not saying this is going to be a rip-off, but a single movement work emerging from an idea on the trumpet and eventually vanishing back into silence is the idea I’m toying with.  Of course, knowing me, It’ll turn out to be incredibly violent, but one can live in hope.

So, that’s the plan.  Now we just need to see what happens.

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