A Brussels Requiem
wind band, fanfare band, brass band
concert work, contest piece
The composition reflects on the tragic circumstances that arose from the series of terrorist attacks in the Belgian capital on March 12th 2016 that left 32 people dead and over 300 injured. However, in light of similar attacks in the UK, Europe and around the world since this time, the work also acts as a prescient touchstone on more immediate tragedies.
‘A Brussels Requiem’ is presented in four interlinked movements entitled ‘Innocence’, ‘In Cold Blood’, ‘In Memoriam – We Shall Rise Again’ and ‘A New Day’. It does not describe the attacks but instead reflects on why the events occurred and the resultant complex emotions triggered by the raw fear as well as the more subtle anxieties in people’s attitudes and understanding of others; anger, grief and disbelief.
The composer pays tribute to the innocent lives lost in an emotive central section of remembrance, before bringing a passionate sense of hopefulness to the search for a new age of communal understanding.
This is achieved through the development of a linear narrative based on the children’s song, ‘Au Claire de la Lune’, which is used throughout; first as a symbol of innocence destroyed, but ultimately of potential redemption.
The composer also expresses his own personal hopefulness through a series of beautifully realised lyrical episodes and solos – emphasising the gradual atmosphere of change that grows in determination and passion to overcome grief and sorrow.
This piece was commissioned by Brass Band Oberosterreich in Austria, it received its world premiere at the 2017 European Brass Band Championship in Oostende.