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SIROCCO concerto for oboe,violin and chamber orchestra [2002]

The original concept of 'Sirocco' was as a companion piece to the Bach Double Concerto for the same instruments. As the piece progressed, however, it became the relationship between the two solo instruments which began to take over my thinking of the piece, as well as the fact that the harmonic and rhythmic basis of the work came from Arabic music.
The nature of the interplay between the solo instruments is actually like that of brothers or great friends, sometimes inseparable, sometimes arguing, sometimes inspiring each other, but ultimately realising that the bond between them is unbreakable. From this perspective there is almost a narrative running between the two solo instruments.

The first movement:

after a wild opening the two solo instruments are in unison [letter B], [very much a feature of Celtic and Arabic folk music] playing the 'gypsy'
theme. After a while the violin the tries to throw the oboe off which he succeeds in doing [letter F].The violin continues solo pitted against the orchestra.Suddenly the oboe who is tired of the violins aggression, interrupts with what is to become the 'oboe' theme[letter H].The orchestra accompanies the oboe which is then aggressively interrupted by the violin who brings back the 'gypsy' theme in a passionate and aggressive solo [letter J].The oboe subsequently joins in and the movement ends with one of the the strange chords from the opening.

The second movement :

after an intro section with a high string held note depicting the heat of the desert the violin plays an extended romantic violin solo then an extended oboe solo then the two duet and pass ideas and themes between each other sometimes [like at letter K] disagreeing then inspiring and following each other [letter L] finally the orchestra alone plays a romantic coda as if to show the two solo instruments a glimpse of how good life could be.

The third movement:

the both of the soloists return to the 'gypsy' theme in quick bursts following each other swooping and diving. Suddenly the violin suddenly bursts through [letter H] playing the 'oboe' theme for the fist time however it is now the oboe who is lost playing aggressive lines influenced by John Coltrane[letter I] against the violin who is now playing high romantic variations on the 'oboe' theme. The piece builds to a climax then the oboe shoots off by himself [letter K] the violin realising how much he cares for his friend follows him note for note finally reigning him in with the orchestra behind showing that there is a bigger picture at work.

Finally the two solo instruments are at peace and follow each other down to a quiet close [letter M]

Recorded on Black Box 'Sirocco' album by Ittai Shapira [violin] John
Anderson [oboe] and the English Chamber Orchestra

'Golden Sunset' for solo flute & flute choir 2003

orchestration:

solo flute[concert flute only]
flute 1 [principal flute/picc]
flute 2 [flute/ principal picc]
flute 3 [flute]
flute 4 [flute/alto]
flute 5 [principal alto flute/flute]
flute 6 [bass flute/flute]
flute 7 [contra bass flute/flute]

'Golden Sunset' for solo flute and flute choir was commissioned and premiered by William Bennett and the Japanese flute choir 'Lumiere' in Yokohama, Japan, in September 2003.

'Golden Sunset' was inspired by and is dedicated to the flute maker Albert Cooper.

The initial idea for the piece came from Cooper's name itself. It struck me that the letters of his surname looked a bit like a flute, and more importantly, made an interesting scale----ie the C,then the two open holes A and G then the P {which looks like the G sharp key}, the E [as an E] and the R as any note [I have used D]--so the final scale is C,A,G,G sharp,E,D

'Golden Sunset' is in three movements and begins with the notes of the open harmonics on the solo flute, depicting dawn or the beginning of time, then the rest of the flute orchestra joins in using orchestrated digital delay technique. The solo flute then enters again with the 'Cooper' theme subsequently developed as a chord sequence. These elements form the basic musical material of the first movement.

The slow movement begins with chords developed from the 'Cooper' theme, which grow into a lilting melody.This melody is harmonically influenced by modern jazz & rhythmically, by the the badinerie of Bach's B Minor suite, a piece I have always loved to hear William Bennett play since I was a kid.

The last movement begins with overblown harmonics using piccolos and bass & contra bass flutes. The main theme of this movement is a frenzied Arabic semiquaver pattern which is interrupted half way through by the re- introduction of the slow melody of the second movement now re-harmonised, and backed by a strong rhythmic pattern.

The work finally come to a close with an frenzied coda section.

I have wanted to write a piece in Albert Cooper's honour for a long time. I have admired him both for his dedication to his craft,and for his modesty and honesty as a man. Many thanks for the inspiration and help you have given to so many of us over the years Albert--Respect.

Dave Heath 2003

Published by D C HEATH Music recorded on Freestyle Classics - Golden Sunset.

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