MY LIFE IN MUSIC - Exclusive interview with Paul Hindmarsh

Issue 6005

COMPOSERS' CORNER - Dr. Liz Lane discusses music notation programmes

REMEMBERING A LEGEND - British Bandsman pays tribute to William Broughton

Neurohr and Bürki to provide Euro set tests

Thursday 7 February, 2019

The Music Commission of the European Brass Band Association (EBBA) is pleased to announce the set test pieces for the 43rd European Brass Band Championships, to be held in the Stravinsky Hall, Montreux, Switzerland on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April 2019. 

The Championship test piece Dear Cassandra (Concerto for Brass Band No. 14), by Ludovic Neurohr, has been commissioned has been commissioned by the Swiss Brass Band Association. The title, Dear Cassandra, is taken from Greek mythology. Cassandra predicted the arrival of the Trojan Horse. In his virtuoso and highly personal work, composer Ludovic Neurohr attempts, in his words, ‘to interrogate through the music and the compositional process the future direction brass band music might or might not take. Beyond the curiosity of knowing how the future will be written, the fear to being locked into writing only for human technical capacities haunts my thoughts, and especially composing what has already done hundreds of times before…’

Dear Cassandra is cast in three movements playing continuously. It opens in exploratory mode, as the players search for new sounds from a single tone. Using the rhythm of 'Dear-Cas-san-dra' (long-short-long-short) as the principal motif, the material gradually coalesces as the composer asks the question, ‘Is this the right path to follow?’ Other musical elements and styles are drawn into the musical ‘discussion’.

Several references are used in this 16-minute work to picture a number of images created by the composer. The finale will invite the audience to imagine what the composer finally thinks about Cassandra's advice. People can also make up their own mind about this theme, but the principal goal of the work is asking ourselves "where are we going?"

The Challenge Section test piece, Terezín by Mario Bürki, has also been commissioned by the Swiss Brass Band Association. Terezín is a fortress built by the Emperor Josef II, ruler of the Austro-Hungarian lands from 1780-90 and a noted patron of the arts and music, commissioning both Mozart and Beethoven. Although the building named after his mother Maria Theresa was supposed to be used for defence, it became infamous first of all as a prison, and later during World War II as a Jewish ghetto and concentration camp. 

The composer writes: ‘The many memorials and museums are depressing, intense, sad and inspire to reflect. But its spaciousness and size are also impressive and intense. My work Terezín tries to reproduce these moods, which I was able to experience myself during a visit in spring 2018. It became very clear to me how cruelly people were treated here. I would like to believe that it is worth honouring the history of those who have been lost and that humanity will strive to avoid such malignancy.'

'A second transport from Pilsen arrived. People were in a deplorable state. The newcomers were cow-herded, quite gratuitously…' (Eva Roubíčková, Ghetto Theresienstadt, 22 January 1942)

For more information about the composers Ludovic Neurohr and Mario Bürki, please visit the EBBA website: