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Larch Music Ltd.

Teens At The Junkyard - Brass Band Full Score & Parts - LM995

Teens At The Junkyard - Brass Band Full Score & Parts - LM995

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COMPOSER : Chris Allen

Programme Notes

Writing about beautiful rural scenes and seascapes seems to be a very British thing to do. The themes of the English Pastoral School seem especially alive and well in the brass band musical repertoire, featuring in popular works such as John McCabe's Cloudcatcher Fells and Ray Steadman-Allen's Seascapes among many others. McCabe's engrossing depictions of place in Cloudcatcher, Maunsell Forts and Scenes in America Deserta conviced me that music really can transport the listener to a different environment, but rather than describing a landmark or a pastoral scene, I decided to give some attention to an ugly, neglected place.

In Square Enix's Life is Strange, an episodic adventure game released in 2015, two teens use the local junkyard as a place of escape from the drama of their lives, unbeknowst to the fact that their friend, recently missing, was murdered and buried in that very place. Inspired by these dark images, I sought to write music that reflected the strewn broken glass, the piles of trash, the stories left behind in the waste of the junkyard. In keeping with this theme of buried history, I unearthed a musical relic from the brass band repertoire, cannibalising themes from Eric Ball's Journey into Freedom. In fragmenting and distorting such a treasured work I hope to make the listener feel a process of wasting away of precious memories.

The first movement should be spiky, clinical and bleak, with a similar character to that of Harrison Birtwistle's Grimethorpe Aria, and the second, an intense, reminiscing, lyrical slow section. The final movement is in a similar vein to Elgar Howarth's Songs for B.L., ending with a blazing finish as if standing upon the tallest pile of trash in the junkyard and looking down upon the chaos below.

Chris Allen (2021)

About the Composer:

Chris Allen, 22, studied Music at the University of Birmingham, graduating with a 1st in his Bachelor's degree in 2020 and achieving a Distinction in his Master's in Composition in 2021. Chris won the University of Birmingham Music Society's Composition Competition in 2019 with his piece for brass band, The Sirens, and was published for the first time by Modrana Music after winning the Durham University Brass Band's inaugural composition competition with his suite, Three Images of North-East England. Both pieces have been performed in concert and recorded recently and Chris continues to write new, original works for brass band.

Chris started playing the tenor horn at the age of 7 under the tutelage of Don Blakeson, first joining the Melton Band and then moving onto Hathern Band, conducted by David Newman. Upon moving to university in Birmingham, Chris studied performance on the tenor horn with Owen Farr for a year, started playing with the University of Birmingham Brass Band, under the baton of Stuart Birnie, and began writing and occasionally conducting his own works for brass band. However, his work is not confined to this ensemble, and as part of his studies, he has written for the Ligeti Quartet and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

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