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Sheet Music: Performance Parts

Spells : for brass ensemble / Harry Sdraulig.

by Harry Sdraulig (2013)

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  • Library Availability: This item is not available from the Australian Music Centre Library
  • Instrumentation: 4 trumpets, 4 horns, 4 trombones (inc. 1 bass trombone), tuba.


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The title of this work - Spells - has no specific programmatic significance. Nevertheless, I have attempted to evoke in musical terms a dreamlike sense of mystery and drama, and the unpredictable wildness of imagination that one often associates with spells and magic. Despite including a wide variety of contrasts, colours and musical characters, I chose to employ a very limited amount of basic thematic and harmonic material, giving me an opportunity to stretch my musical imagination while providing the work with a sense of structural unity.

Brass, when used in an ensemble context, is a highly underrated compositional medium and this encouraged me to attempt a work rich with different musical flavours and moods. The opening of Spells pits a mysterious, circling backdrop of muted trumpets against a foreboding and expressive trombone solo. After a brief span of chordal material, the music proceeds into a prickly Allegro moderato, characterised by a considerable degree of textural ambiguity and overlap and building to a number of climaxes, often abruptly. Throughout this passage, the music is rarely allowed to settle, with musical fragments often passing as quickly as they arrive.

With little warning the Allegro ceases to a halt, leaving a single horn which heralds the arrival of the work's closing slow section. Though somewhat enigmatic, there is much lyricism here and, after a reflective chorale for the trombones, the work's final (and largest) climax is reached. In the closing bars, an ethereal sense of calm and solitude prevails as the final spell is cast.

Spells was awarded the 2013 Adolph Spivakovsky Award for Composition, and toured internationally by the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Brass Ensemble.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 set of 13 performance parts (26p. -- B4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 6 mins, 30 sec.

First performance by University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Brass Ensemble, Joel Brennan — 14 Jul 14. Sydney Congress Hall

Winner of the Adolph Spivakovsky Scholarship for the Composition of Music, 2013.

Typeset edition.

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Score: Spells : for brass ensemble / Harry Sdraulig.


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