The Devil suffers no shortage of names: Satan, Lord of the Flies, Old Nick, Old Harry and - of course - Lucifer. One of my favourites is simply The Beast and this little trombone piece is based on the five notes B (Bb) - E - A - Si (Eb) - Ti (B natural). This motto has a further Satanic connotation, since it outlines two tritones - mathematically the most dissonant interval in ancient musical theory, often given the soubriquet Diabolus in Musica. For the rest, a more practical beast was my inspiration - the primitive image of a creature tottering on goat's legs implies a lot of disjointed bodily rhythms, as you can hear in each of the developing variations that make up the piece. There is a further Devilish element - apart from that fact that it is the very Dickens of a tune to play - in the use of the number 666, in Biblical parlance "The Mark of the Beast". I originally intended to make the piece 666 notes long, but this didn't work (there are 581 of them, just to save you counting) so I have hidden the number, like a little whiff of Brimstone, in the structure of the music.

Warwick Music publish the piece and also distribute Chris Houlding's definitive recording.  You can hear some of it by following the links.

Warwick Music


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