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Beyond the Brass Gates

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Don Freund

Don Freund

General Info

Year: 1998
Duration: 24:00
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Freundworks Publishing   /   MMB Music
Cost: Score and Parts Rental   |   Score (Purchase) - $55.00


Full Score
Violin Solo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II-III-IV
French Horn I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V-VI, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos (2)
  • Brake Drums (2)
  • Cowbell (2)
  • Crotales
  • Cymbals (3 suspended)
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong (large, pitched in D; small, pitched in A)
  • Guiro
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drums (2, large and small)
  • Tam-Tam (small, medium, large)
  • Temple Blocks (5)
  • Timbales (2)
  • Tom-Toms (3)
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Vibraslap


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

My greatest concern as I began writing this Concerto for Violin and Wind Ensemble (or Concert Band) was how to explore the potentials of a band's large brass section without overwhelming a solo violin. My strategy in solving this problem ultimately provided the form and the character of the work as a whole. The brass section is formally isolated from the rest of the ensemble, playing "Gates" beyond which lie a series of seven "Realms" depicted by the solo violin, woodwinds, and percussion. This form owes a great deal to Pictures at an Exhibition and Bluebeard's Castle - Mussorgsky's promenades and Bartok's keys become Brass Gates which open to display fantasy worlds, the variegated domains ruled by the solo violin.

The first brass gate, a brisk but stately fanfare, opens onto a vast, warm realm, "Filtered Sunlight," dominated by sweeping lyricism and flickering triadic tremolos. Gate 2 interrupts with urgent brass reeated notes opening to Relam 2: "Rustic Clockwork," a mechanism populated by the violin's disjunct harmonics pitted in hockets against the insistent rhythms and lines of the winds and percussion. Gate 3 allows the brass to tbe heard in a rich, expressive choral style, surprised by the exposure of Realm 3: "Heavy Hitting," a hard rocking episode in heavy triple meter. The stuttering end of this realm stumbles onto Gate 4, a montage of thick, dense brass clusters supported by gongs and Tam-Tams, clearing to uncover, clearing to uncover the low solo violin and Realm 4: "Plaintive Strains," built around a sighing melodic subject. Gate 5 relieves this sultry mood with a bright, canonic fanfare, superseded by the even faster swirling dance of Realm 5: "Tarantella."

Gate 6 has the brass chanting throbbing chord progressions to unveil Realm 6: "Buttermilk and Honey," featuring a perky but bittersweet tune int he violin over an undulating, harmonically rich backdrop. Gate 7 grows seamlessly out of this realm, with rising overlapping lines in the muted brass scaling to a dreamy height that is rudely shattered by the incursion of Realm 7: "Rough Coursing," a bumpy ride through a rugged landscape. The intrusion of the brass at the end of this realm spurs a striking detour- a mini-cadenza for scurrying muted violin and barely audible cymbals capped by a brusque return to the rough course as the gate slams shut.

Beyond the Brass Gates was premiered 26 March 1999 by violin virtuoso Julian Ross and the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory Wind Ensemble who commissioned this work in consortium with bands from Indiana University and Florida State University.

- Program Note by Don Freund

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by this Composer