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Journey to the Centre of the Earth

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Peter Graham

Peter Graham

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Subtitle: Symphonic Scenes for Winds and Percussion

General Info

Year: 2005
Duration: c. 15:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Brass band
Publisher: Gramercy Music
Cost: Score and Parts - £119.95   |   Score Only - £29.95


Full Score
C Piccolo
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

2005 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Jules Verne, and the event inspired Peter Graham to write a musical tribute to the author described as the "father of science fiction."

Journey to the Centre of the Earth is one of Verne's best known works. The novel takes the form of a sequence of diary entries by Axel, nephew of Professor Otto Lidenbrock. The pair follow coded instructions in a old document guiding them to Iceland where, together with their guide Hans, they enter the open crater of an extinct volcano Snæfells and pursue a trail to the centre of the earth. There follows “hair-breadth ‘scapes and ventures perilous” as the intrepid explorers encounter a vast interior world.

Peter Graham has taken some of the key scenes from the book and set them as a sequence of symphonic extracts. The subtitles are: (I) Snæfells, (II) Descent, (III) The Wonders of the Terrestrial Depths, (IV) The Day of Rest, (V) Lost in the Labyrinth, (VI) The Whispering Gallery, (VII) Rescue from the Abyss, (VIII) Battle of the Antediluvian Creatures and Ascent, (IX) Homecoming.

The wind band transcription of Journey to the Centre of the Earth was commissioned by Yukihiro Higuchi and the premiere recording given by Osaka Municipal Symphonic Wind Band (Japan), conductor Kazuyoshi Akiyama in February 2006.

- Program Note from publisher

The French novelist Jules Verne (1828-1905) created a unique blend of science and adventure in his series of novels known as “Voyages Extraordinaires”. Written in 1864, Journey to the Centre of the Earth is on the surface an adventure story, but as the commentator Diana Mitchell has observed, on a deeper level can be seen as “man’s journey into himself, always probing deeper for what lies at the centre”. ...

This music presents scenes from the novel in a rough chronological order. The work opens on the dark and brooding Summit of Snæfells and follows the adventurers as they descend into the bowels of the earth. En route they encounter the Wonders of the Terrestrial Depths (an electrically illuminated sky), a dream sequence during which Axel witnesses a Battle of Antediluvian Creatures before the final Ascent and Homecoming. The key scene of the book (and the music) reflects on Axel’s despair as he becomes separated from his companions and is Lost in the Labyrinth. His subsequent rescue is due to an acoustic phenomenon whereby he hears the voices of his friends in The Whispering Gallery.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth is dedicated to Ryan and Megan, who love the story!

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

  • Tennessee: VI


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Works for Winds by This Composer