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Isle of Colours is a three-movement suite for two trumpets, horn, trombone, and tuba. The title is a reference to the great art of Great Britain. Each of the movements is titled for one of my favorite British artists: JMW Turner, John Constable, and David Hockney. I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the work of these wonderful artists, and if they're already familiar to you, then you know what fun it will be to renew old acquaintances. Many of their finest paintings can be viewed online, if you can't get to the right museums right away!
The first movement of Isle of Colours ("Turner") is vigorous and heroic music. None of my movements were composed in response to specific paintings, but I feel that many of Turner's works embody the bold qualities I present in my first movement. See his "Sunset," "The Slave Ship," and "The Burning of the Houses of Parliament," for instance. The second movement ("Constable") is a set of variations on an original chorale tune. Its peaceful, warm nature comes the closest of the three movements to evoking a specific painting. I hope its grand and timeless feel brings Constable's scale to mind, and while Constable is not known particularly for his religious scenes, this music seems to fit well his "Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds." The third movement ("Hockney") is a bossa nova that features solos for trombone, horn, and trumpet. David Hockney is a living artist who has divided his life largely between England and Los Angeles, and the cool, hip feel of the bossa nova seemed a perfect fit for his highly popular style.
|(L-R) Kevin Brown, Loren Marsteller, Sam Gubins, Raymond Burkhart,|
Beth Zare, Richard Zare, and David Holben
Isle of Colours was commissioned by the non-profit scientific publisher, Annual Reviews. I thank Sam Gubins, Annual Reviews' President and Editor-in-Chief, and Richard Zare, Chairperson of Annual Reviews' Board of Directors, for their generous support of this commission. Richard and Susan Zare were most gracious hosts for the event. And I'm deeply grateful to my friend, hornist Beth Zare, for offering the idea of the commission!
The Premiere Brass Quintet premiered Isle of Colours on a concert devoted entirely to my compositions. Naturally, I hope it was but the first of many such concerts! The Premiere Brass Quintet has performed in California since its founding in 1984. The members for the premiere of Isle of Colours were trumpeters Ray Burkhart and Kevin Brown (co-founders of the quintet), hornist Beth Zare, trombonist Loren Marsteller, and tubist David Holben.
The program opened with my palindromic fanfare, TOOT, followed by Sophie's Waltz, The Y2K Bug Blues, Italian Postcards (another three-movement suite), and Isle of Colours. Isle of Colours will be available soon in print for purchase. The other compositions are already published. See my website, RaymondBurkhart.com, and navigate to my Online Store to find my brass quintets and other music publications.
The online store also features Watercolor Menagerie, a CD of the Premiere Brass Quintet playing many of my compositions, including those above (except Isle of Colours).
You can see some photos from the event at my Facebook page. Some videos might become available soon on Youtube, also!