Description

Many brass players will be familiar with Elgar’s magnificent writing for our instruments – perhaps having played the Enigma Variations, some of his symphonies, or indeed his Severn Suite, a test piece written for the National Brass Band Championship in 1930. Much earlier – in 1901 – his Cockaigne Overture was premiered, and it too features idiomatic and characterful brass writing. The piece was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society, and Elgar dedicated it to his “many friends, the members of British orchestras”. Cockaigne depicts the capital – the word was used to suggest greed and drunkenness, and as a fond nickname for London. A programmatic overture, it paints a vivid picture of the hustle and bustle of London life, with cockney cheek, romance and (slightly ragged) Salvation Army brass bands. A broad theme represents Londoners as a whole, and is marked with “nobilmente” – a musical direction that became something of an Elgarian trademark. The piece lends itself beautifully to brass dectet transcription, but requires the expert conjuring of myriad different colours from the instruments. Although passages may be recognised from the original brass parts they should not be played in a truly symphonic way (as one would from the back of the orchestra), but care should be taken to maintain a real chamber style.

Parts included:

  • Trumpet in E-flat
  • Trumpet I in B-flat
  • Trumpet II in B-flat
  • Trumpet III in B-flat
  • Horn in F
  • Trombone I
  • Trombone II
  • Trombone III
  • Bass Trombone
  • Tuba
  • Piatti, Gran Casa
  • Tamburo, Triangle, Tambourine