This symphonic sketch for concert band is packed full different motives thrown around the ensemble hinting at the programmatic leitmotifs of Wagner. Every section of the ensemble gets a workout in the delightful Forest of Arden.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 4 | Duration: 10:00
Bb Clarinet 1
Bb Clarinet 2
Bb Clarinet 3
Eb Alto Clarinet (optional)
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Bb Cornet 1
Bb Cornet 2
Bb Cornet 3
Bb Trumpet 1/2
Horn in F 1/2
Horn in F 3/4
Percussion 1 (glockenspiel, xylophone, snare drum)
Percussion 2 (snare drum, triangle, bass drum, suspended cymbal)
Forest of Arden is a Symphonic Sketch for Concert Band.
The resurgence of interest in George Lloyd's music must give us faith that such talent will ultimately prevail against sometimes unhappy circumstances. Lloyd was Cornish and showed precocious gifts at an early age - he had completed his first symphony by the age of nineteen. During the 1930s he completed two operas, one of which - "The Serf" - was produced at Covent Garden in 1938. He was set for a glittering career as a composer.
The Second World War intervened and he was invalided out of the Navy in a shell-shocked state, and having written very little serious music since 1937 went to Switzerland to recuperate, looked after by his wife, Nancy.
Painfully, he began writing again - symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 - and then returned to England. He needed to earn a living and he set up a mushroom farm in Dorset. But slowly he began to compose again and drafted more symphonies in short score.
By this time he was virtually unknown - despite being considered the equal of Walton, Britten, and other young stars of English music some 30 years earlier. Lloyd decided to embark on a series of recordings of his symphonies, and slowly popular acclaim enabled him to regain his position.
The Forest of Arden was written in 1987 as a result of a commission by the Solihull Youth Wind Band.
Although Lloyd's music feels instinctively written one should not be misled - it is carefully crafted, but the craft and structure are always subordinated to create a flow with a strongly melodic content.
Instead of two or three themes, The Forest of Arden contains an abundance of ideas which can be described in two groups. The first group contains the opening rhythmic motif, quickly developed into a short rising quaver passage in the woodwinds, and later then a chromatic "ostinato" bass - only 8 bars at this stage but later expanded.
The second group is broad and expansive, initially based on intervals of rising fifths introduced by euphonium, tubas, and baritone saxophone, immediately echoed by horns. Low brass and winds expand the theme into rising sixths and octaves. There is a hint of development, bit this is arrested as the music moves to a piu tranquillo section introduced by the alto saxophone which further develops the rising sixth theme. There follows a true development of the opening material, starting with the ostinato bass and gradually passing through different tonal centers until the rising fifths of the second theme group are heralded - "fortissimo" and "poco piu largamente" shortly before the end.
The structure is almost Wagnerian (albeit on a much smaller scale), with themes being used as leitmotifs, but this is music which, even within the space of ten minutes is conceived on a grand design.