Here is Sam Kinrade playing English Fantasy No. 5 for Cornet. The piece forms the final part of a larger set of fantasies for solo brass quintet players scheduled for release by The Ensemble of the Golden Bough in the later half of 2023. With four more solos to follow, Ryan tells us about this first release:
I wanted the two trumpet players in the quintet to explore different soundscapes and tonal qualities when each performing a solo item. I have always found the cornet to be an incredibly light and nimble instrument and this is reflected in my writing. I have taken a snippet of a theme from Malcolm Arnold’s Brass Quintet No. 1 and used both this and the lydian mode as a the basis for this flourishing scalic item.
A tone-row built on Malcolm Arnold’s name appears several times in different guises, the first of which ‘Arnold’ manifests itself within a dark and gorgeously-singing line. The rapid movement of the first page progresses towards a climax; as the echoes begin to fade away a staccato ostinato section emerges. The lightly repeated notes at last root the ear to a tonal centre; lydian scales can still be perceived faintly within the mixture.
Once this section runs out of steam we hear two iterations of the folk song ‘The Jolly Sailor’ as transcribed by Percy Grainger in 1906 and preserved in the ‘ethnographic wax cylinders’ now stored in The British Library.
I love the ambiguous modal definition in this traditional melody and the phrases within the fantasy contain unusual additional beats to emphasise the step-wise lines in the tune. The second time this melody appears it is almost unrecognisable, being constantly skewed and interrupted by the lydian lines from the opening.
Additional repeated notes build towards a dramatic series of pauses within which the cornet proclaims Malcom Arnold’s name. The final section is a recapitulation of the opening; a bright and lively way to bring to a close the five solo fantasies.Ryan Linham – Godalming, Surrey.