Posted by Owen Morris
Friday 14th March, 2014

Being only two days into the AYO Brass Quintet rehearsals in Melbourne, the ensemble is starting to believe that the challenge ahead of us is possible. However, we still have a long way to go.

Before we all arrived in Melbourne for our initial rehearsal period preceding our tour of rural Victoria we were given some extremely challenging, but exciting music to learn. Of particular note was Anders Hillborg’s piece titled ‘Brass Quintet’. A deceivingly simple name for a piece that contains such intensive rhythmic complexity. And so the practice with my metronome began. It’s one thing to have your part nailed when you’re playing by yourself. But if you ask five musicians who haven’t formerly worked in a quintet together to play this piece perfectly in time straight away it might be a drastically different story… In saying this, it’s now the second day of rehearsals and we are really starting to gel as an ensemble. As a result, this copiously tricky work is really starting to take shape. 

It’s really exhilarating to be part of this AYO Brass Quintet program because it’s not often you get to work with players of this standard in such an intimate musical setting. Not too long ago, in February, the five of us played together for the AYO Season 1 in Adelaide. Although, unlike in the symphony orchestra, where the brass component is much larger and part of greater unit, this chamber music setting requires a much finer and more personal sense of ensemble. Each musical part in chamber music is thoroughly important, and without it, the music would more often than not make no sense. I think this is why playing in a really fantastic chamber ensemble, such as this quintet is so stimulating.

I touched on repertoire right at the start. However, I thought it might be a good idea to give you a list of our concert program so you can get an idea of the vast array of music we are covering.  

- Four Monteverdi Madrigals (1600 approx. – arranged for brass quintet by Raymond Mase)

- Elliot Carter - Fantasy on Purcell's Fantasy on One note (1974)

- Schumann - Kinderszenen (1838 – arranged for brass quintet by our wonderful tutor Tristram Williams)

Anders Hillborg - Brass Quintet (1998)

- Crespo - Suite Americana (1977)

It’s amazing to think that we are performing music written over four hundred years ago contrasted with music written less than 20 years ago in our program. 

All members of the quintet are really looking forward to a few more days of rehearsal and then heading out to Sale on Sunday! 


- Owen Morris, trumpet