Sidestepper (Brass Ensemble)


Instrumentation – brass ensemble (2 trumpets, french horn, trombone & tuba)

Duration – c.5’43”

Written in Brighton April-June 2013


This piece began in response to a call for scores, which annoyingly I was unable to complete the music in time for, but had resolved to finish writing it regardless. I was interested in exploring the idea of interruptions, and also in the jazz technique of sidestepping, where the composition derives its name. The opening minute of music acts as an isolated introduction whereby all the instruments work independently toward the same single melodic line, each voice taking a different note. This gives way into the main body of the music, where the melodic material is developed, this time with voices either working independently or in pairs, and continually interrupting one another. The rising chordal structures build to a peak in both pitch and tension, where a juddering rhythmic motif briefly touched upon in the introduction is given full reign – finally we hear every voice truly working together, interrupted now and again by fragments of earlier material. The motif gradually exhausts itself, and from here we are led back to a reinvention of earlier episodes, until the music eventually subsides in a great chromatic descent.