Timothy Reynish on Nigel Clarke

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MAKING IT BETTER
British Wind Music 1981 – 2011

The approach of so many composers in the USA is to exploit the brilliance and brittleness of the wind ensemble, the vivid intensity of woodwind, the percussive tonguing of brass, the incredible range of colour of the modern percussion, and above all the virtuosity of the players of today. Many of our British composers take their lead from across the Atlantic, and the result is several hard-hitting pieces at the cutting edge of contemporary wind music. – READ ON

Nigel Clarke has recently moved into the world of film scores, and his scores display a vivid imagine and tremendous energy. One of the most recent is Black Fire for Violin and wind orchestra; it is recorded by the Band of HM Royal marines on a disc of his music entitled Samurai and a review is headed UNMISSABLE:

Sometimes looked down on as a poor substitute to an orchestra, the Wind Orchestra has, from time to time, suffered a bad press. However, well written repertoire such as this proves that there is an important role for this kind of ensemble. Clarke is a master of orchestration; the use of percussion here is particularly compelling. The rhythmic drive is a life force of this work. This performance by the HM Royal Marines Band, Plymouth, has a wonderful sense of discipline and an underlying warmth of tone.

This article was taken from a recent essay written by Timothy Reynish

See: Making it Better

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