John Reeman's Sonata for Euphonium and Piano was composed in 1996 for euphonium soloist Steven Mead, who premiered it at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference in Minneapolis the same year. Written in one single movement, though it could easily be divided into three miniature movements, this work compresses a huge amount of activity into a relatively short time. Following the opening cadenza, the music is characterised by swift shifts between moods and styles, utilizing fast dynamic changes, a wide variety of articulation and asking the duo to alter the expressive nature of the music, often from bar to bar.
Mosaïque, from the pen of much revered brass writer Roger Boutry, has established itself as one of the most challenging works from the modern French Saxhorn repertoire. Composed in 2002 as a graduation test piece for the Paris Conservatoire, the work is in four short but contrasting movements that each challenge the performer in a different way with wide leaps and unpredictable intervals being a major feature throughout. In the first movement the legato espressivo melodic line gets interrupted by the accompanying rhythmic motifs which are passed between the two instruments, this is contrasted by the disruptive compound 8/8 meter of the second movement. Movement three well and truly dives into the jazz idiom, elements of which can be found throughout the whole work. The angular leaps of the final Allegro thoroughly define this work as a severe test for both performers.
New Zealand-born composer and cellist Roderick Skipp graduated from the University of Auckland with both a Bachelor's degree in performance and an electro-acoustic composition prize. Since moving to the United Kingdom in 2004, Rod has not only undertaken a Masters degree at the RNCM but also substantially extended his compositions portfolio. The concept of iPhonium originated in June 2008, when the composer, upon attending my undergraduate recital, proposed working together to create a piece for Euphonium and electronics. The work is essentially in three sections. The first section sets out most of the musical material that is to be developed, and focuses on the interval of the 9th and semitone. The feeling of pulse and its displacement are also explored. The middle section is more lyrical in nature and explores the higher register of the instrument. The finale is much stricter rhythmically, and is held together by an ostinato motif in the electronic part. This motif is developed further by the euphonium, and brings the work to a dramatic conclusion. The electronic soundworld is created entirely from recorded Euphonium material which has been manipulated electronically.
Written in 2005, Elegie is a beautifully lyrical work, intended to utilize the softer tonal qualities of the euphonium. The opening unaccompanied passage of this work was originally written as a short memorial piece for saxophone, but was later adapted as the basis of this more developed work for solo euphonium and brass quintet. The work uses a variation structure, with both the soloist and the accompaniment changing throughout the piece; the harmony, rhythm and melodic lines leading somewhere new and different each time they are heard. The music builds throughout, both in tempo and intensity, before returning to the initial introvert nature of the opening.
Derek Bourgeois' compositions for brass instruments always demand the utmost musicianship. Much of his music is very complex, sounding quite avant-garde to some ears. He often contrasts complexity with great melodic beauty and an innate sense of enjoyment. All these features are present in Euphoria, which presents fearsome challenges to both soloist and accompanist. Its programmatic content concerns the feelings and sensations of a person encountering, by chance, a fairground. Fascinated by the kaleidoscopic range of sounds and lights, he finds himself drawn almost hypnotically into the action. The music follows the story and the listener is invited to get swept along in the euphoria of the modern 'roller-coaster.'