If there was a natural successor as a composer to Malcolm Arnold , it was Derek Bourgeois, who has died aged A hugely prolific composer, he had the same knack for turning a memorable tune, a Waltonian sense of grandeur and a delight in infusing humour into his music whenever he could. Some of the humour was more subtle: his Eighth Symphony, subtitled The Mountains of Mallorca , includes a fugue in honour of the Mallorcan town of Arta — the Arta fugue. Bourgeois was at his best in shorter works, often for wind and brass bands, such as the Green Dragon Overture , which — like many of his works — exists in versions for full orchestra and wind ensemble , the delightful Serenade , written originally for organ in order to be played at his wedding or Blitz , one of a number of test pieces written for brass band competitions. Though his music received little critical acclaim, players and audiences loved its tunefulness and harmonic richness, and continue to do so. The outright record goes to the Finnish composer Leif Segerstam , with so far more than
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Bourgeois worked at a number of places as a lecturer, teacher and conductor, whilst also writing a wealth of his own music. Bourgeois spent most of his life in Britain, but after retiring in , he and his wife settled in Mallorca.
He often used his experiences to inspire him to write a wealth of different works. As aforementioned, Bourgeois was a prolific composer for brass and wind bands. Bourgeois symphonic works must also receive a mention. Although none properly perforated into commercial concert hall programmes, by the time of his death in , Bourgeois had composed a massive symphonies. The work was actually composed for his own wedding to be originally performed by an organist as the guests left the main ceremony.
The orchestration for wind band has become the most popular for this work, with it being a staple in many band rooms. The melody is syncopated with the accompaniment, and accentuates the strong beats of the bar.
The flutes then take over the melody, this time changing the direction of the melody. The flutes and clarinets then unite play their respective themes together. The saxophones also join in here before a rumble into the main section of the piece. With the band now all playing together the work unites to play the melody. As the percussion begins to filter in, the dynamics begin to grow and the glorious melody feels more natural with every rotation.
The music comes to a quiet close with a tambourine accompaniment before a cheeky flute flourish to end this sweet work. Although originally composed for organ, the wind band arrangement is far popular and is played fairly regularly around the world. Image Source. Your email address will not be published. His work in the James Bond franchise was legendary, and his huge output of film music speaks Read more….
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Serenade, Op. 22c
Derek Bourgeois ‘Serenade’: Tricky Times!