Beautiful dissonance...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Anno Draconis, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I have a slightly odd request (it's for a research project). Can anyone suggest a well-known brass band work that has an extended period of unresolved dissonance in it that you regard as attractive to listen to?

    Things like the 'Angle Tarn' movement of Cloudcatcher and the slow movement of Contest Music both have long periods where the notes clash (first solo cornet entry in Contest Music 2nd movement is an A flat, against an A major chord in the trombones, for example), but both are lovely pieces of music (at least in my opinion). Anyone got any others?
  2. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    It's rather a difficult question to answer without a precise definition of what constitutes 'well-known' and 'extended', or even 'dissonance'. And as I wouldn't be able to name dissonant chords, either by hearing them or seeing them on the page, it makes it even harder. But I've always like the dreamscape that Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen creates in the slow movement of his Cornet Concerto. Does that count?

    I also like 'that' semitone moment in Paganini Variations, just before the cadenzas, and 'that' low register chord in the middle movement of Lowry Sketchbook, both of which get the goose bumps rising. Without the scores I can't explain it any better than that!
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  3. Sandy Smith

    Sandy Smith Member

    How about "Garden Rain" Toru Takemitsu arr. / trans. for brass band by Elgar Howarth... or some of Mr. Howarths' own compositions such as "Music for Spielberg", "Songs for BL" or "Stories of Saroyan" ( apologies if these titles are not 100% accurate - just thinking off the top of my head.
  4. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Well, yes, good points - I didn't want it to be an essay question, though. I guess by 'extended' I mean more than half a minute, and when I say 'unresolved dissonance' I'm really talking in old school 4 part harmony terms - so in most cases 2nds, 7ths, 9ths of either flavour, or augmented 4ths, that don't resolve to what was traditionally regarded as a 'consonant' interval - 3rd, 4th, 5th or octave. Basically stuff that clashes for at least 30 seconds without resulting in the good old fashioned major chord at the end.

    I'm also looking for pieces that have become part of the established 'canon' of band music, ideally, and good though the Aagard-Neilsen Cornet Concerto is, it's unlikely to be in many band libraries even in Norway.

    Garden Rain is a great piece, with some really lovely sounds in it. Mind you I'm one of the nutters who like Grimethorpe Aria...
    As with the cornet concerto mentioned above, it's never really found its way into the repertoire though. Songs for BL arguably has, having been a finals piece, although I'm not sure how many subsequent outings it's had.
    Great suggestions, gentlemen, many thanks. Here's hoping a few more people chip in... :)
  5. Stracathro

    Stracathro Member

    'Victorian Snapshots - On Ratcliff Highway' by RSA might be a good one to look at.
  6. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I really enjoyed the slower, quieter sections of "Prague", even though they were quite dissonant. There was one bit which was supposed to represent the famous bridge, the name of which I can't quite remember (Kars?) which was really ethereal.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  7. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    OT: it's Karluv (Charles) Bridge.

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