Summer Winds


During the 1980ís and 1990ís I spent a good deal of time in the area around the Gorges du Verdon in northern Provence, and the mountains, lakes, people and traditions of that region have been the inspiration for several of works.Few of these works have been directly pictorial, and Summer Winds is no exception.Its starting point was the lines of ripples created by gentle breezes on the still waters of the Lac de Sainte Croix.From that emerged images of the different winds that sweep across the lake and its surroundings - the strong, cold Mistral from the north, buffeting everything in its path for several days before stopping as suddenly as it had arrived; the Scirrocco bringing heat from the Sahara and distant echoes of mystery and romance; and the more placid summer winds which gently stir the branches of the olive trees and create magic patterns on the surface of the water.


Out of these impressions I have written a symphonic work in which purely musical considerations were uppermost in my mind.Nevertheless, there is a restless quality in the writing which remains, and that restlessness determined the shape and style of the two movements.The first starts with an expressive slow introduction before giving way to a dramatic Scherzo and Trio.A brief coda restores the mood of the opening, but is soon blown away by a final puff of wind.The second movement pits several contrasting ideas one against another.Apart from a short lyrical interlude for saxophone and oboe the music moves relentlessly forward towards a furious storm in which the various sections of the band each go their own way.From the resulting welter of chaotic sound emerges a more peaceful and tonal coda that finally rises to a bright fanfare-laden climax in E major.


Summer Winds was commissioned by the Northamptonshire Music Service for the Northamptonshire Youth Concert Band with funds provided by Northamptonshire County Council, East Midlands Arts and Mr. Eric Baird.The first performance was given by the Northamptonshire Youth Concert Band, directed by Adele Sellers-Peck, in the Festival Hall, Corby, on March 24th 1996.


© Christopher Brown 1996