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Moorside March, A (flex)

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Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst (arr. Denis Wright; ed. Michael Brand)


Subtitle: For Flexible Wind Band with Adaptable Parts


General Info

Year: 1928 / 2021
Duration: c. 4:20
Difficulty: III-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Brass band
Publisher: G&M Brand
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $65.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.00


Instrumentation (Flexible)

Full Score
Part 1

  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet
  • B-flat Trumpet

Part 2

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

Part 3

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

Part 4

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

Part 5

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

Timpani (optional)
Percussion (optional), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Gustav Holst (1874-1934) can claim a distinction shared with a relatively small number of composers in that his music is performed more now than it was during his lifetime. Holst composed A Moorside Suite for brass band in 1928. It is in three movements, this March being preceded by a Scherzo and Nocturne. It is an extraordinarily mature work for band from a master composer. There is very little fortissimo writing and there are no semiquavers at all. Instead, Holst has written clear melodic lines with each part being woven into a texture based on the modal lines of English folk music; but these represent its stylistic origin rather than using actual folk tunes as in Holst's earlier band writing.

The March is stirring and flowing and it is an ideal standalone piece.

- Program Note from score


A Moorside Suite is a masterpiece of Holst's maturity. Written in 1928, six years before his death, it achieves a synthesis of his creative talent as a composer with the strong folk-song influences of 20 years earlier. The title of the work alludes to a country setting but does not describe an exact location, and this is mirrored in the musical material. The folk-song influence is apparent but not overt.

The work was originally for brass band, commissioned for the National Brass Band Championships held at the Crystal Palace, London, England.

The opening Scherzo belies the serious nature of the work. It is a light, airy 6/8 in which the initial statement, with its all-important leap of a fifth, is first heard on clarinet and alto saxophone. This interval of a fifth is distilled, as if to draw our attention to it, before a fortissimo eight bars in which the opening theme is repeated -- the only fortissimo passage in the whole of the first movement. Holst achieves a 'folky,' almost modal, feel in the melody by allowing the 6th of the scale to remain natural.

Whereas the first movement has a sylph-like delicacy, the second is at rest. Tranquil, especially in the breadth of the chorale, its simple key structure distills the tonal tension inherent in the tonic/dominant polarity. The oboe opening (again delineating the rising fifth of the first movement) is in F minor: a short cornet echo leads to C major for the first statement of the chorale. This leads back to F minor and a subtle development of the opening followed by the chorale again, this time in F minor and now allowed to build to a fortissimo climax before the movement fragments around the falling 6th of the opening.

The peace is shattered by a triumphant march. We are in B-flat minor again, and this movement is built on thematic contrasts: firstly the 'pesante' theme, then a hammered fanfare, followed by a playful leggiero tune. Like the scherzo, this march has a trio, the melody of which bears a definite resemblance to the chorale of the second movement. Most certainly this linking device was subconscious on Holst's part, but with the predominant use of the interval of a fifth, it helps to explain the feeling that the suite is thematically tightly knit.

- Program Note by publisher


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