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by Guy Woolfenden

duration 10 minutes

2 trumpets, horn, trombone, tuba
  I Andante - Allegro moderato
II Andante con moto
III Allegro
  Click the movement titles above for 30 second samples
    Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them, - ding dong bell.


All the musical ideas from this quintet derive from the composer's setting of Ariel's song "Full Fathom Five" from The Tempest. The piece begins with a brief hint of the melody on solo horn and first trumpet, which leads to a tightly argued, slightly jazzy Allegro in seven-eight time. The second movement is more serious, and develops the song melody and the implication of its lyric, with its images of death, drowning and the tolling of lugubrious bells. The finale, which uses small elements of the melody both as ostinati and thematic material, is developed in rondo form, climaxing with a broad chorale-like treatment of the tune.

The work was written for and is dedicated to the Fine Arts Brass Ensemble, who commissioned the work and gave its first performance at the Malvern Festival in May 1987.

...a welcome addition to the brass quintet repertoire.

Winds Magazine


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