A programme of music inspired by flight, space and the cosmos
The Yorkshire Wind Orchestra is a quality wind ensemble made up of players from throughout the Yorkshire region. Since its inception, the YWO has performed an extensive repertoire of mainly modern works in Yorkshire and beyond and is now recognised as a leader in its musical field. Many of the YWO players are professionally engaged in music; some primarily as performers, others as instrumental teachers in Yorkshire. Students and dedicated amateurs are also valued performers who make the Yorkshire Wind Orchestra a truly regional ensemble. The YWO is a registered charity and is always actively seeking local sponsorship and support. Two important aspects of the objectives of the YWO are to promote the work of contemporary composers (especially British) and to encourage the development of young wind and percussion players in the Yorkshire region.
Keiron was born in Aberdeen and studied trumpet and keyboard at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester. Whilst at the RNCM he started both a light orchestra and big band, and apart from playing in leading orchestras has become one of the most experienced and innovative conductors of wind groups in the country. Keiron is a firm believer in the accessibility of all the music played under his direction even though some of it may be unfamiliar to the audiences. He is a consummate all-round musician experienced as a teacher, being head of Music at Ilkley Grammar school, musical director, performer, adjudicator and composer. All his efforts with his students, ensembles and audiences go to, in his own words "... no matter what else we do, we must get to the emotional content of the music and bring it to life for the audience..."
Brought together specially for this concert, the YWO flute ensemble comprises members of the YWO's flute section augmented by players from Preston and the East Midlands.
Piccolo: Jo Lewis
Concert flute: Helen Gibson, Tracey Smurthwaite
Alto flute: Nicola McDonnell, Alison Nairn
Bass flute: Emma Cordell
Contra-alto flute: Lynne Williams
Contrabass flute: Rob Rainford
The Planets, from which this movement is taken, was composed originally for orchestra between 1914 and 1916 and were later transcribed for wind orchestra by the composer himself. Drawing on inspiration from astrology, to which Holst had been introduced by author Clifford Bax during a tour of Spain in 1913, the suite depicts the astrological characters of seven planets in our solar system, with Jupiter bearing the sub-title 'the Bringer of Jollity'. Listen out for the hymn tune / vow to thee my country in the middle section.
It is New Year's Day in Leaholme, situated in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, England. It is early on a bright sunny morning, but there is a bite in the air and frost on the ground. In a field stand two 1918 bi-planes. Into the stillness of the morning walk a small group of people. Suddenly, as the propellers are spun round and the machines roar into life, the aeroplanes climb into the matchless blue sky of the early morning. They soar and dive in exultant mock combat.
Written specially to feature our expanded flute section, this work finds its tranquillity through a lilting compound metre and a tonality based on modes. The key structure depends on shifts of minor thirds rather than the whole tone system used in Andromeda. Melodies are simple and gently passed from part to part whilst the ending reflects the mystery with a poignant tri-tone figure.
'Nightfall' was composed in 2011 as an entry for the 'Coups de Vents' international composing competition. It was one of the 21 compositions (out of 109) selected for the quarter-finals, and was performed during the festival in the Pays de Calais region of France (although, as the competition was anonymous, the composer was unable to attend the performance!). The title 'Nightfall' comes from the character of the music - a kind of 'Danse Macabre', with a sinister introduction building towards a livelier, jazzier 'dance' section, all built on a repetitive rhythmic figure in 5/4. It is left to the listener's imagination what story is being told.
The Star Wars films are known for their grand symphonic scores. Williams makes use of the technique of 'leitmotif' whereby a phrase or melodic cell, a leitmotif, signifies a character, place, plot element, mood, idea, relationship or other specific part of the film. It is commonly used in modern film scoring as a device for mentally anchoring certain parts of a film to the soundtrack. In this selection of music from the Star Wars movies, you will hear Yoda's theme, the Imperial March, Princess Leia's Theme, The Throne room and the instantly recognisable Main Theme.
Originally written for orchestra as part of the score for 'The First of the Few', Leslie Howard's film about the Spitfire fighter aircraft designer, R J Mitchell, released in 1942. The music proved so popular that, within a year a recording was made of the Spitfire prelude and fugue and the piece was premiered in Liverpool in January 1943. The Prelude, which originally played during the opening titles, was arranged for military band by Rodney Bashford, in 1966.
The title of Sun Paints Rainbows on the Vast Waves comes from a jotting in Coleridge's notebook during the period when he was working on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and is a reference to a passage which the poet had read in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. This was a letter from a Father Bourzes, of which the pertinent paragraph reads: "I shall add an Observation more concerning Marine Rainbows, which I observed after a great Tempest off of the Cape of Good Hope. The Sea was then very much tossed, and the Wind carrying off the Tops of the Waves made a kind of Rain, in which the Rays of the Sun painted the Colours of a Rainbow." It is this evocative description that provided the stimulus for this composition and influences the feeling and atmosphere of its sound world.
To open, high staccato riffs on the top three parts create the impression of twinkling stars while the lower parts have a more stately tune below them. This alternates with semiquavers in cannon that race up and down the instruments like fireworks exploding. The next section continues the bustling feel of the music by using many time signature changes to keep the music on edge and moving forwards. The music then returns to the ideas of the first section before racing towards the most exciting conclusion.
The 1982 science fiction movie, ET (The Extra-Terrestrial), tells the story of Elliott, a lonely boy who befriends an extra-terrestrial (ET) who is stranded on earth. Working with his siblings, Elliott helps ET to return home, whilst keeping him hidden from both his mother and the government. This selection comes from the latter part of the film where the efforts to get ET back to his spaceship become more frantic and includes music from the iconic chase scene where the children, on their bicycles, are pursued by the authorities and are able to evade capture as ET uses telekinesis to lift them off the ground and they fly in front of the moon towards the spaceship.