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Clouds

by Anthony Ritchie, for solo trombone and brass band, Opus 114

An evocative piece for solo trombone and brass band. Written for Dave Bremner and the National Band for the World Champs 2005.

Programme Note

The starting point for this piece was some dramatic cloud formations I experienced while in Morrinsville, near Hamilton. It was a brilliant sunny day, with occasional huge and interestingly shaped clouds floating past. They provided inspiration for the opening texture for my piece Clouds, which is flowing and slowly unfolding in character.

Clouds can assume many different shapes and characters and this is reflected in my piece. There are stormy ideas with strong rhythms, jagged ideas built from small motifs, mysterious ideas that suggest darker clouds, bright climaxes that suggest the sun bursting through.

The solo trombone is like a small aeroplane, weaving its way through the clouds and enjoying a rather turbulent journey. Its part is soloistic but integrated into the band texture and often underpinned by the percussion, who have an important role in sustaining the momentum of the piece. Near the end the soloist has a brief cadenza before the music rises to a rumbling climax. This passage finally disintegrates, as the clouds disperse.