A Breach of the Peace

This is another Warwick Publication and is in its way quite a serious work. In English law, a breach of the peace is disorderly, noisy or antisocial behaviour. This seemed to me to be an appropriate term to describe the conduct of a trombone ensemble and also reflects the programme of the piece. The march that gives the piece its title was inspired by the Palio, a horse race held in the main square of Ferrara in northern Italy every Spring. Each horse has its own song, and before the race partisans of the different animals march with flags, singing the creature's praises as all the church bells in the town ring out. The racket is tremendous (it would have pleased Mr. Ives greatly) and it is not uncommon for things to get out of hand. Scored for eight trombones, it has the structure of a mediaeval "adding song" with a simple melody getting troped with more and more lines till it becomes a riot. The players have to stamp their feet and clap as well as play; it's not a piece that works on a concrete floor!

A Breach of the Peace was commissioned by the British Trombone Society and premiered in November 1999. It was originally conceived as a piece for massed trombones (the first performance was given by 75 players) but is more usually performed by a double octet.

There's a good commercial recordng which is available here, and the other link is to a rather generous review by Dudley Bright.


CD details

The piece is published by:

Warwick Music

Home     next    back