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Cornet Rhapsody

by Anthony Ritchie, for cornet and piano, Opus 195

Programme Note

Test piece for cornet and piano, 2016.

Cornet Rhapsody was commissioned by The Brass Bands Association of New Zealand for use as a test piece in 2017.

As well as displaying technical features of the instrument this piece also explores its expressive qualities. It is structured like the old-style Hungarian rhapsodies of Bela Bartok: a slow section that features dotted rhythms, contrasted with a dance-like quick section.

The opening theme is based on a phrase from a Hungarian folk tune, based on the pentatonic scale D-F-G-A-C (on the cornet). This theme is developed in different keys and embellished by the soloist. The 'chugging' rhythm of the piano is also characteristic of folk-style playing.

Following a climax, the soloist has a cadenza that is based on both the opening theme and the new theme to come, in the 'allegro'. This new theme outlines steps of 3rds and again contrasts different key areas. A third theme emerges, also pentatonic in nature, over a rushing piano accompaniment. These themes are varied, building to a climax and another short cadenza. A top D on cornet is followed by a brief and exciting coda.

This composition was supported by The University of Otago.