This work dates from 1975, when Patterson was interested in unusual timbres, having discovered the sound world and aleatoric techniques of the Polish school of Penderecki and Lutoslawski. This was the third work for brass band he had written in a two-year period, the others being Chromascope and Countdown, and it was commissioned by the National Youth Brass Band.
The piece explores effects and techniques never before used in brass band composition and is concerned specifically with contrasts of rhythm, texture, dynamics, pitch and note length. No two performances can ever be the same as players and conductor are given considerable freedom in some sections.
A ferocious, densely chromatic outburst, whipped along by aggressive percussion, leads to snarling low chords and chattering effects in verious instruments, punctuated by sforzando interjections. After a time, the interjections simmer down and chattering, trills and held notes spread and slither through the band. A chorale follows, which is subject to attack by trombones and cornets but triumphs in a fff improvised climax. Then the opening material and the chattering alternate, and tension builds towards a brilliant and uncompromising conclusion.
Performed by Sun Life Stanshawe Band of Bristol, England
Commission: National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain
Dedication: ‘To Geoffrey Brand’
Publisher: Studio Music