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Jack Speirs: Fanfare - VIDEOEmbedded video
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I was commissioned to write a short fanfare, which suggested to me an accessible, uninvolved, celebratory piece. The basic idea, based on a simple major scale with a sharpened fourth, is announced at the opening: muted trumpets articulate the tonic and dominant, whilst muted horns with a typically french-horn-fifth motive supply the augmented fourth. This muted opening bursts into the rhythmic fun and games of the ‘fanfare’ proper. The harmonic movement throughout is generated by the unsettling influence of the sharpened fourth.
Rhythmic variety is an important feature of the Fanfare. Most bars exhibit some form of rhythmic irregularity (mixtures of 4/4, 3/4 + 3/8, 2/4 + 3/8 and so on), whilst the denouement features strings and wind playing in 2/4 and 3/4 against the 4/4 ostinato of the brass. For the conclusion, I felt the only percussion instrument, apart from timpani, should be given its head. Consequently, the side drum leads the final charge.