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Cornish Pastiche - 3 Movement Suite

Wind Band




Total Duration



Contest & Festival

Programme Item

Light Piece


Cornish Pastiche was written at the request of my erstwhile RAF colleague, Steve Clifford, for the Cornwall Youth Wind Orchestra and was first performed by them in Easter 2005. For the starting point of the composition I decided to reflect three aspects of Cornish heritage and invented some melodies to suit the bill.

I started work on a basse dance then started to realise that its antecedents were close to that of the famous Helston Furry Dance. I discussed this with another former colleague who used to live in Cornwall and he came up with the idea of calling the piece Cornish Pastiche. Apart from the obvious play on words the title gave me a basis for working out the rest of the music.

(I) Sea Shanties



The first movement, Sea Shanties, uses two contrasting call-and-response melodies. The second of these is playful in nature and appears in a number of guises, some more discordant than others, reflecting the crew's use of the shanty to let the captain know what they thought of him! Having passed by, the ship disappears into the sea mist.

(II) Celtic Lament



Laments were traditionally reserved for occasions of the death of a member of the clan. In forming the melody for Celtic Lament I had in mind the type of sorrowful song that would suite the elegiac nature of such an occasion.

(III) Basse Dance



As mentioned above, the last movement of the suite attempts to catch the spirit of the Furry Dance, the ancient dance that heralds the coming of spring. It resembles a farandole but is probably better described as an unashamed romp. The players get a bit of a chance to shine here and even the trombones get the odd semiquaver!

My intention was to make Cornish Pastiche readily accessible to both players and listeners. The language is unashamedly tonal but is treated with some harmonic twists to add occasional piquancy. The technical demands on the players are meant to be moderate but conductors and players are asked to observe the different layers, especially in the Basse Dance, and not overload the texture with over-zealous weight on the melodic line.


Published by Studio Music Company

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