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by Eseld Pierce

Grade 4.5 duration 10 minutes



Extract 1


Extract 2


Extract 3
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A Name Perpetual (Hanow a bes vynytha) was commissioned for the Cornwall Youth Wind Orchestra by Keskerdh Kernow, an organisation formed to promote the Cornish culture and to commemorate the Cornish Rebellion of 1497, when the people of Cornwall rose up against the Monarchy. Under the leadership of Michael An Gof and Thomas Flamanck, a Cornish host, sometimes estimated to number as many as 15,000, marched to London in protest against excessive taxation. Arriving at Blackheath, they were attacked by the King's army and defeated, and the two rebel leaders were hung, drawn and quartered. On his way to his death, An Gof stated that he would have "a name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal".

A Name Perpetual tells the story of the Rebellion in four connected scenes. The music includes strong elements of the Celtic music tradition, being structured around an old Cornish folk tune. The first scene introduces fragments of the folk theme and reflects the anguish of the Cornish people. The second scene opens with the folk theme on solo piccolo and, as different instruments enter one by one, the march is depicted with its accumulation of forces en route.

The march halts suddenly as the Cornishmen discover the unexpected arrival of the English army and the subsequent music portrays the Blackheath Skirmish. In this scene the orchestra is divided into four parts, each working independently to create a sense of chaos, with the stronger elements of the brass and bass instruments representing the English, while the woodwind and saxophones represent the Cornish, struggling to sustain the folk tune throughout the battle.

Eventually all the parts come together and the final section is a lament for the lost Cornishmen, fading away to leave only a haunting off-stage trumpet solo.

An outstanding success was scored by the young Cornish composer Eseld Pierce with her programmatic A Name Perpetual, an imaginative and moving evocation of a Cornish rebellion.

WASBE Newsletter

The first composition for wind band by this composer recollects the unsuccessful rebellion of the people of Cornwall in 1497. In four sections she evokes the battle against the Monarchy using folk music from her homeland. Although the means are modest, the result is so moving that the listener needs silence at the end. A sensational work which deserves a wide audience.

Clarino Magazine


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