The Blazing Blizzard


The Blazing Blizzard for Brass Band and Percussion is intended to evoke the stark conditions of both fire and ice. This being said, it’s a piece of programme music – there is no story. You won’t hear any crackles of fire or special effects to imitate snow or a blizzard.

Aimed at B Grade or 2nd/1st Section in the UK, the piece intends to push boundaries, but still remaining tuneful and wholesome.

Our opening fanfare sounds intricate and chaotic before we continue with harsher tone colours from the cornets and pulsating ostinato from the middle of the band. Spiky interjections throughout the opening movement add to the unease and directly juxtapose the smooth languid melody found around the band.

Towards the end of the opening movement we hear a typical brass band chorale. But slightly off-kilter due to the changing time signatures.

Starting at Measure 108, our 2nd movement evokes an ironically frosty warmth. Harmonies don’t necessarily always go where you may expect, and unexpected tone colours such as vibraslaps and woodblocks permeate the atmosphere.

After a few solo sections we reach an extremely quiet section. Almost brittle, which has been deliberately written without mutes to encompass the fragility of pianissimo playing. We meander through solos, cadenzas and quartets before reaching our climax, lifting our spirits and ending the movement with positivity.

Con Fuoco. With Fire. Our final movement starts with a bang and the fragile, angular rhythms return. Muted motifs are scattered across the band, interjected frequently by cornets and percussion. There is an almost playful nature to the piece owed to the mixture of compound and simple time melodies. A scherzando section sees an unusual imitation effect from the top half of the band before careening towards a trombone-led playful section (measure 245), which is once again accompanied by long legato melodies that should never drag.

We return to the fanfare motif and a small recapitulation of our middle movement’s melody before a bright and quick Vivo! section hurtling us towards a grandstand close.

SKU: BTH0014 Category: