Corpus Christi

Commissioned for the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales by Ty-Cerdd

This is the second time a wind commission has come immediately after the finishing of an opera.  After The Secret Agent, I wrote my horn concerto for BASBWE.  That is a rather dour, introverted piece.  Corpus Christi,  on the other hand, is raving bonkers with a lot of noise, chaos and digressions.  Though slight enough - and only 10 minutes long - I think it may mark the start of a new direction.  Malebolge felt like the last highly organised contrapuntal tour de force that I have in me.  I need to  burst out and write thoughtlessly.  And since it's fun - I will!

I wanted to preserve my own particular vocabulary while keeping the piece very simple, since I wasn't sure how good the band would be.  I needn't have worried on that score, since they were excellent, and the performance in Hoddinott Hall in April was very exciting - and loud. 

Here's the programme note:

A couple of years ago, when the bird flu epidemic was at its height, I managed to contract the  bug in Mexico City.  After a few disagreeable days, I became bored enough with my hotel to venture onto the streets, pale and far from fully recovered.  The festival of Corpus Christi was in full cry, and in my fragile state I was overwhelmed by the animals,  fireworks, processions of children dressed as gauchos, the drunks, the lunatics and the hundreds of noisy bands - and above it all the great cathedral bells on Zocalo, the central square.  It's an uncharacteristic piece for me - I tend towards the introverted in most of my music - and I think it may be more a portrait of a fevered state of mind than of the fiesta itself!

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