Mercia Brass Quintets
The Mercia Brass Quintets are a collection of twelve quintets for the standard combination of 2 trumpets in C, French horn in F (score in C), trombone, and tuba. Each is a single movement lasting from 4 to 6 minutes. Even before their publication in 2016, these pieces were played and studied by brass players in the New York City area. Ever since they have enjoyed universal appeal among lovers of the brass quintet.
Some years ago, I imagined the dignity and grandeur of a medieval kingdom. In my vision, I conceived of a series of musical images connected to a place that is now forgotten. The kingdom is Mercia. With the departure of the Romans around 400, Britain was left in a state of disorder. From this vacuum there emerged a number of individual realms, and by 600, the kingdom of Mercia was struggling to survive. After a few centuries, Mercia disappeared, folded into its neighbors, the predecessors of modern England. Because so little is known about the music of Mercia, it allows a composer like me the flexibility to make some as a creation of complete fantasy. I composed these musical tapestries as a series of potent images of this forgotten world.
I completed the Mercia Brass Quintets in Northumberland, Pennsylvania in early spring, 2016. Subsequently the group, known as The Heroic Brass Quintet, premiered all twelve pieces later that spring. Ordinarily, I would expect no more than one or two of these pieces to be played at a single concert; however on special occasions perhaps all twelve quintets can be played in the following sequence:
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 1 The Tournament duration: 5' 15"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 2 Royal Wedding duration: 4' 15"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 3 The King’s Messenger duration: 5' 15"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 4 Midsummer Pageant duration: 5' 15"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 5 Acrobats at the Fair duration: 4' 45"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 6 Druids duration: 5' 30"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 7 Arrival of the King duration: 5' 30"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 8 The Fortress duration: 5' 45"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 9 The Fallen Hero duration: 5' 15"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 10 The Journey Home duration: 5' 15"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 11 Winter Festival duration: 4' 45"
Mercia Brass Quintet No. 12 The New Year duration: 4' 45"