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Two Baroque Masterpieces

For this week our two featured pieces are gems of the baroque from arguably the two most accomplished composers of the era.

First, is Eternal Source of Light Divine by Handel. Arranged by David Gordon Shute, it is taken from the Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne and originally for a counter tenor and trumpet, it lends itself perfectly as a feature for the two trumpet players in your quintet. Recently it was made more famous by being performed at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018.

Second is the Fugue in G major BWV 541 by Bach. Written c. 1712-1717 and arranged with panache by James Maynard, this is a tour de force for any quintet that’s guaranteed to captivate your audience with its sparkling contrapunctal lines and technical prowess.

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Introducing Dave Powell

This week our spotlight falls onto two pieces that have been arranged for us by tuba player, organist, composer, and good friend of the group, Dave Powell. A former member of the ground-breaking jazz band/collective Loose Tubes, Dave has also composed for Onyx Brass, most notably the large scale Symbols at your Door that is on the recording, Onyx Noir.

For his two arrangements though we fall back to more traditional styles and draw on his experience as a keyboard player.

First, is the ebullient transcription of William Byrd’s set of variations on Sellinger’s Round. Originally included in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, Dave Transcription is a perfect piece to explore counterpoint for all intermediate or advanced quintets.

Second, is the sublime and ultimately uplifting chorale prelude by JS Bach, Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland. In what is an exercise in holding back the full glory of this piece until the very end, Nun komm has become one of our most popular works to perform. This arrangement uses each instrument perfectly to enhance the whole and when we presented our 25th Birthday Concert, this piece was chosen by three out of five us as our individual favourite to perform!