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Hello Collegues,

This is my first work for a Brass Quintet as I continue to go through about a year-and-a-half long cycle of writing for classical instruments. I've previously done a work for solo French Horn (so far my favorite instrument), String Quartet, and Wind Quintet. Writing for Brass I found fun, all those brightly colored sharp strong sounds! A note on the score. I write in concert pitch because that's easiest for me because of my background in piano. The piece has about 8 key changes, so I converted all to an atonal score and then converted it to transposed pitch and altered any pitches which were sharps to flats to make it more in line with what brass players like. On the music: it's about 7 minutes long in 3 movements which blend together, although you will be easily able to tell where one movement ends and the next one begins. Score in attached YouTube, and as always comments invited >

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Superb. The outer movements are pretty thrilling (perhaps because of the high trumpet) but also the rhythmically punched progressions. The Adagietto is indeed lyrical, a beautiful horn part (which I notice you did transpose rather than concert pitch) but you'll need a superb player to carry it off with aplomb. Nice transition leading into P and the final movement.

Altogether it seemed to pace along, spirited, coherent throughout and I'd love to hear it performed by a group like Canadian Brass or some such.

Thanks, Dane! I had a feeling the horn would be a challenge, so I ran the piece by a brass composer I know, and he did suggest some edits here and there. The transition out of the Adagietto at P is a mirror image of the transition into the Adagietto at K, and I would say those two parts were the hardest parts of the entire piece to get right. Thanks again for listening and commenting!


There are some very pleasing sounds here Gav - everything hangs together nicely. There are a few pointers specifically relating to brass that I'd suggest. Generally, unless you're aiming for a special effect, avoid leaps greater than an 8ve. See Trombone in m 26 (take 3rd beat up 8ve), m27 (take 3rd beat down 8ve), m30 (take whole m up 8ve). M48 wouldn't suffer if the whole were taken down an 8ve (save the 1st trumpeter from strangling you), m56/57 make horn 8ve lower.

You will see where I'm coming from with these examples and will find numerous others throughout the piece. What's easy on a piano or woodwind instrument is much harder to achieve on a brass one - aim for something a bit more evenly balanced and centric. Extreme leaps should be avoided - unless you're writing for virtuosi, try to stay within a comfortable tessitura for each instrument.

I hope you are happy about me making these points - I don't think any of the suggested alterations will harm the flow of the music - just make it more playable for actual players.



Incidentally, having not come across the word before, I now see that Quaoar is a planetoid that lies beyond Pluto's orbit in the solar system. All that high stuff might have the brass players suffering from a different type of 'oid'. Heh!

Of course! That's half the point of posting! Thanks, I will be going over the score with your suggestions in mind, thanks!

Stephen Lines said:

I hope you are happy about me making these points -

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