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maecenas music - wind bands and ensembles

Natalis for Brass, Organ and PercussionSymphony for Brass Ensemble, Organ and Percussion

Ellerby, Martin

Natalis was written for the Hampshire Youth Brass and for the composer's nephew, whose desperate struggle for life provided the work's impetus, agenda and title (which translates as "of the birth"). Although composed as a single movement, there are three distinct sections (equating  approximately to hope, struggle and triumph) with the main thematic ingredients laid out in the first. The sumptuous sound world of the opening paints an idyllic, too-good-to-be-true Arcadian landscape untouched by care or worry and the material gently evolves in the sunshine.

But even the best kept garden can contain a snake and the introduction of the Dies Irae gives warning that all is in fact not well. What follows is a scherzo of force and menace, the motif developed with considerable harmonic and rhythmic invention, but with just a glint of late sun in the form of a glancing, possibly subconscious, reference to "O God our help in ages past" before the transition to the final section where the central motif is transformed into a heroically lyrical choral like melody building to an exultantly epic conclusion. Hope is restored, but it has not been easily won.

Grade AB 6-7 US 4

c: 13 minutes


Set and Score

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CD: Klavier K11165 Denver Brass/Graham



Natalis for Brass Organ and |Percussion

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