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A Maritime Overture

A Maritime Overture

By John Ireland

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A Maritime Overture composed by John Ireland (1879-1962). For concert band (Piccolo, 1st Flute, 2nd Flute, 1st Oboe, 2nd Oboe, 1st Bassoon, 2nd Bassoon, Solo Bb Clarinet, 1st Bb Clarinet, 2nd Bb Clarinet, 3rd Bb Clarinet, Eb Alto Clarinet, Bb Bass Clarinet, Bb Contra Bass Clarinet, Eb Alto Saxophone, Bb Tenor Saxophone, Eb Barito). Band Music. Grade 5. Score and parts. Duration 10:00. Published by C. Alan Publications (CN.R10011).

Cast your self into a storm at sea with this fantastic piece from John Ireland. Turbulent rhythmic motives launch the work to blend into a more lyrical melody contrasting the opening. Don't be fooled though; the first rhythmic motive provides the underlay, a reminder that the calm surface of the sea is only masking the swirling water underneath!

A Maritime Overture was written in 1944 and published in 1946. This edition was published in 1988. The score was prepared from the composer's full draft by Norman Richardson, and uses the same material as "Tritons" - a Symphonic Prelude for orchestra dating from the early 1900s. The development of the material however is different in each piece. The work is conceived in F major - but it is 24 bars before Ireland establishes this tonality. Fortissimo chords of B-flat major open the work, and the Overture hovers between G minor and B-flat as a restless rhythmic motif is introduced. As soon as F major is finally established it is contradicted as the music fragments, but the key is allowed a further 4 bars to consolidate before more lyrical interplay leads to a second idea, introduced by flutes and oboes in C major. Marked 'espressivo e ben cantando' this is a complete contrast to the opening, although the first rhythmic motif provides the underlay - a reminder after the opening storms that the calm surface of the sea is only masking the swirling water underneath. "A Maritime Overture" has a freer approach to form than say the first movement of a symphony might allow, enabling Ireland to introduce a totally new central section marked 'poco meno mosso' in F minor. A bold cornet (not trumpet) heralds this new idea, in a passage marked 'with freedom' and perhaps for the only time there is a true tranquility in the sextuplet accompaniment. Thus the restlessness is suspended, but not for long, as the opening storm returns and a recapitulation allows the F major theme and the second theme - this time in the sub-dominant (B-flat) - to reassert themselves.

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