Year: 2008 / 2017
Duration: c. 10:00
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown
Flute I-II-III (II doubling Piccolo II; III doubling Alto Flute)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
C Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Percussion (3+ players), including:
- Bass Drum
- Crash Cymbals
- Snare Drum
- Suspended Cymbal
None discovered thus far.
I owe the realisation of Encomium (2008), scored for wind orchestra, to Prof. Grenville Hancox and his Symphonic Winds of Canterbury Christ Church University. I wrote Encomium over a two-month period in the autumn of 2008, thinking of it partly as a tribute to a friend who had died one year previously. The word, "encomium," also means a glowing tribute of high praise. Retrospectively, I think that the thing I was praising was the gift of life itself, and our human ability to remember. Musically, I like to think I placed strong emphasis on the 'glowing' element. The culmination of this is evident in the calm but powerful ending.
When I submitted my master's portfolio in 2013, my external examiner suggested that perhaps I could make my music feel a little more personal. I think this piece is as personal as it gets!
Many of these thoughts emerged whilst I was in the middle of composing the score, rather than before. The composition process itself was sometimes rather difficult. For over three years before this point, I composed relatively little on paper. My mind would sometimes work fruitlessly on various ideas, or at other times, not work at all. I sketched many of the thematic ideas in the form of a piano reduction, generally knowing what instruments I would subsequently assign them to. It was only after about a month of struggling that things started to come together structurally. Once I reached that point, the feeling of being able to compose again was wonderful.
Keen to play in part of a percussion section again, I joined the Canterbury Christ Church University Symphonic Winds in October 2008. I had already developed an appetite for wind orchestra repertoire, but it was at this point that I began to really appreciate the extent to which the wind orchestra was important as an ensemble per se. In conversation, Grenville remarked at that it is still undervalued in our society, where for most the wind band still conjures a sound picture of mostly military marches and popular tunes. He added that he always enjoyed not only working alongside some very able students but also in promulgating the wind orchestra as a tremendous ensemble capable of realising very challenging music.
After experiencing exemplary wind music (Stravinsky's Octet; Gorb's Awayday and others), I was extremely determined to write a complete composition. Grenville allowed me to test a few of my drafts before completing the final score, but I worked as hard as possible to finish the score, sometimes only knowing theoretically what would work when I wrote. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard my ideas in the first full rehearsal. Seeing that many people rehearse and perform something I'd written put a big smile on my face. I made a special point of telling them so!
The world premiere performance took place in the Church of St. Mary and St. Eanswythe, and was received warmly by the audience.
- Program Note by composer
- Audio: Reference recording (orchestral version). Royal North College of Music Symphony Orchestra (Jack Sheen, conductor)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Canterbury Christ Church University Wind Orchestra (Grenville Hancox, conductor) - 18 March 2009
- Canterbury Christ Church University Wind Orchestra (Grenville Hancox, conductor) - 21 February 2009
- Canterbury (England) Christ Church University Wind Orchestra (Grenville Hancox, conductor) - 25 January, 2009 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Matthew Brown website Accessed 27 December 2021