Friday, 1 May 2015

Saturday the 2nd May will start at 09:00 with the Challenge Section. The bands below will play the test-piece ‘Orígines’ by Carlos Cárdenas and an own choice piece.

Own-choice pieces to be performed include: 

-       Essence of Time (Peter Graham)
-       Trittico for Brass Band (James Curnow)
-       The Land of the Long White Cloud (Philip Sparke)
-       St. Casimir Choral (K. Daugèla)
-       Tallis Variations (Philip Sparke)
-       Bravura (Peter Graham)
-       Hymn of the Highlands (Philip Sparke)

The participating bands are:

>      Auksinis Brass Band - Laimonas Masevicius (Lithuania)
>      Italian Brass Band - Filippo Cangiamila (Italy)
>      Brass Band Wipptal - Martin Gruber (Italy)
>      Brassband Sachsen - Eoin Tonner (Germany)
>      Downshire Brass - Prof. Michael Alcorn (Northern Ireland)
>      R.E.T. Brass Band (Red Eagle Tirol) - Andreas Lackner (Austria)

The draw will be posted just before the start of the contest.


Carlos Cárdenas - Orígines

Carlos 3First of all I must tell you that this experience with the Brass Band Association and the given opportunity to compose a piece for the European Brass Band Championship (Challenge Section) has been a wonderful and learning experience for me. I would like to thank Kurt Bohlhalter and the EBBA. Also a special thanks goes to Oliver Waespi, being my tutor/adviser in the end of this process.

My plan and goal was to write a piece for brass band that was something different from the normal brass band tradition, but that is at the same time idiomatic for a brass band with elements of my musical language. Coming from Colombia, where we have more woodwinds than brass, studying piano and composition, having therefore a very different musical background, you can imagine that this writing process was a huge challenge for me.

I have listened to many pieces from the normal brass band repertoire and selected ideas that I didn’t want to use for my piece. And later the ones that I would include in my piece. The first important element was rhythm, this is the nucleus of Orígenes. On the other hand rhythm has been in my music very important. After a while the idea came to me to use the clave rhythmic pattern as a structural element in the piece. "Clave" comes originally from African music. The clave rhythm has greatly influenced Latin American music and is also an important element in the structure of Afro-Cuban music. It was this rhythmic pattern that was the inspiration for my piece. All included motifs and rhythmic structures are derived from it. 

The second important element was the timbre or color. I decided to use musical instruments, which are not so often played in a brass band. These instruments are the kalimba, shekere , bamboo wind-chimes and cup bells. The kalimba and the cup bells in combination with the timpani produce a very special sound that really fascinates me personally – but also the resonance and the space are important in the piece as acoustics element. Other instruments that played with extended techniques are bongos and the brass instruments use sounds or effects like air sound, slap-effect and pop-effect. These elements produce a new ambience and sound atmosphere that is not typical in the brass world. Furthermore the percussion instruments have a particular role in the piece.

At the third important element was the structure. The form of Orígenes is a bit far from the classical structures and does not have a main theme or main melody. Each part is different but the clave rhythmic pattern and his variations are the connection. The piece is comprised of six parts: an introduction, four main parts and a final section. The introduction conjures an air of African music. From the kalimba, together with the brass and percussions instruments, arises a quiet landscape. The melodic and rhythmic elements are a prelude to the first main section, which is subsequently developed. The first main part introduces variations of the clave rhythm, with a solo in the middle for bass trombone. The second main part begins with a double fugato in the percussion instruments (here we hear the original clave rhythmic pattern) and finishes with a passage in which the brass instruments take a percussion role. A euphonium solo acts as a transition between the second and third part of the piece, which again takes on the ambience of the introduction. The third main part marks an especially important contrast in the harmony and prepares the entrance of the last main part of the piece.  This part forms the climax in tempo, in rhythm and also in texture. At the end, the final passage summarizes the elements of the introduction and the fourth main part.


The study score of this piece is available to purchase for the De Haske stand in Freiburg Concert Hall.

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