European Set Test Pieces Revealed
The European Brass Band Association has announced the set test pieces for the 43rd European Brass Band Championships in association with World of Brass, Palanga, Lithuania (1 & 2 May 2020). The works have been commissioned by the host organiser, Palangos Orkestras with the support of the Lithuanian Council for Culture.
The Championship set test by Philip Sparke is a three-movement work entitled ‘A Road Less Travelled By’. Although there is no programme, the title is taken from the final lines of The Road Not Taken by the American poet Robert Frost (1974 - 1963),
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
‘A Road Less Travelled By’ is cast in three movements: I. Moto Perpetuo, II. Nocturne, in which the soloists are featured in elaborate solos and ensembles, and III. Scherzo Finale, which is an example of the composer’s characteristic playful compound time dances, lightly textured to begin with, tuneful and full of energy and drive. Commenting on the work Philip Sparke stated, “I’ve tried to keep the emphasis on ‘traditional’ brass band values, both in the writing and scoring.”
The Challenge Section set work is ‘Baltic Legends’ by Lithuanian composer Vaida Beinariene. It takes inspiration from well-known Lithuanian folk legends. Witches Hill evokes the mysterious nocturnal atmosphere of the Hill of Witches near the village of Juodkrante. The hill is covered with almost 100 wooden sculptures carved by local folk artists to illustrate Lithuanian folk legends, one of which concerns the nocturnal escapades of a coven of witches, goblins, fairies and fortune tellers, who roam the hill all night, frightening, confusing, luring and tormenting any human who crosses their path. Amber Castle is based on the legend of Jurate, goddess of the sea, and the source of the amber that still keeps arriving to the shores of the Baltic Sea - the remnants, it’s said, of Jurate’s undersea palace after its destruction by the
God of Thunder.
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