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Letters from Home (flex)

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Peter Meechan

Peter Meechan (arr. Robert Ambrose)


Subtitle: Songs of War and Love


General Info

Year: 2014 / 2020
Duration: c. 11:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Meechan Music
Cost: Score and Parts (digital) - $70.00


Movements

1. The Bittersweet love Song
2. The Trench
3. In Memory


Instrumentation (Flexible)

Full Score
Part 1

  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet
  • E-flat Soprano Saxophone
  • B-flat Trumpet
  • Violin

Part 2

  • Oboe
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone
  • B-flat Trumpet
  • Violin

Part 3

  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone
  • Horn in F
  • Viola

Part 4

  • Bassoon
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium
  • Horn in F
  • Cello

Part 5

  • Bassoon
  • B-flat Bass Clarinet
  • E-flat Baritone Saxophone
  • Tuba
  • String Bass

Percussion (one player), including:

  • Drum Set
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone

Percussion (three players) (optional), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drums (2)
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tenor Drum
  • Timpani
  • Triangles (3: low, med, high)
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Letters for Home is a three-movement work, commissioned by East Lancashire Concert Band with support from Arts Council England, to commemorate the start of the First World War, and the role played in the war by the ‘Accrington Pals’.

Whilst specifically concerned with the First World War, each of the work’s movements broadly outline emotions that would form part of any soldiers' lives during any war -- and as such, performances of this work can easily be adapted to reflect other wars, both modern and historical, and locally sourced words for the readings are highly encouraged.

The first movement, The Bittersweet Love Song, is the story of a soldier saying goodbye to his loved one before leaving for war. The opening passages are of the soldier, perhaps putting to the back of his mind the danger he is facing, singing a love song to his wife or girlfriend. In the following passages we hear his loved one singing “I love you”, played by the flute section.

We again hear the soldier singing -- this time with more of a sense of what lies ahead for him, but now the response is further away as they gradually move more distant from each other. The movement ends without conclusion, but with chords for the soldier’s song played hauntingly over the percussion.

The second movement, The Trench, is more self explanatory. It combines bravado in the percussion opening with the whole band coming together as one -- as a unit, before again we hear fear and trepidation in the brass, once more failing to reach a resolution. Perhaps the thoughts of the soldier are interrupted as the percussion once more calls the men to arms. The movement ends with gun shots in the percussion.

The final movement, In Memory, opens with a repetition of the love song from the opening movement, before a slow lament, again never resolving, is heard. It keeps finding a new key, a new place, intending to represent the cyclical nature of war, and again without resolution, suggesting that war is also often that way.

Letters for Home is dedicated to Ian McGuinness, whose support, enthusiasm, and sheer hard work led to this work being commissioned and performed, and to the East Lancashire Concert Band, who gave the premiere on 27 September 2014, at the Town Hall, Accrington, home of the Accrington Pals.

This arrangement, for flexible instrument ensemble, was skillfully crafted by Robert Ambrose, a founder of The Creative Repertoire Initiative, conductor, a wonderful arranger, and a treasured friend. My deepest gratitude to him for this arrangement.

- Program Note by composer


For Ian McGuinness and the East Lancashire Concert Band.

- Program Note from score


Performance Notes

Before each movement a reading should be made -- these may be a letter sent from The Front, WWI poetry, thoughts and reflections recorded elsewhere, or new words, written by local poets, school children or others.


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


Media


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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