Morthanveld Publishing Ltd are delighted to have reached an agreement with renowned British composer Edward Gregson to print and distribute one of his earliest works, the popular and attractive Concertante for Piano and Brass Band. Composed in 1966 during his undergraduate study at the Royal Academy of Music, it was later withdrawn by the composer in the late 1980s and has never previously been published. Now on the 50th anniversary of the premiere performance at the Royal Festival Hall, a performance that launched the composer’s career and led to his appointment as a ‘house composer’ for R. Smith and Co., Edward Gregson has decided to publish the Concertante for Piano and Brass Band in a newly typeset and edited ‘composer’s edition’. From its dramatic opening Prelude, to its tender and lyrical Nocturne, and the final rhythmic and joyful Rondo, this eighteen minute work is an exhilarating showcase for both pianist and brass band.
However the best person to describe the background to this exciting new publication is of course Edward himself in his preface to the new edition:
I composed the Concertante for Piano and Brass Band in 1966, when I was a third year undergraduate student at the Royal Academy of Music in London. It received its first public concert performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London in October 1967, at a celebration concert to mark the 75th Anniversary of the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army (ISB). At that concert I played the solo part with the ISB, conducted by Bernard Adams. In the audience was the composer Ray Steadman-Allen, who wrote a review in The Musician a few day’s later:
His music – in three movements – is not easy, but most listenable and at times exciting, from the well-moulded formal scheme and plastic themes of the Prelude, through the tender Nocturne, in which flat third and seventh gives a bluesy feel to the original theme…. to the third movement – a perky rondo with fascinating rhythms.…One is happy to encounter such open-minded appreciation of a new voice. Eddie and his contemporaries have things to say; if they are benefitting from a new (albeit occasionally reluctant!) enlightenment within our own circle this is good. I do not believe that the freedom so hard-won for them will be misused. This is a review, not a crusade, but let those who tend to reach wrathfully for their pens after each ‘first performance’ have second thoughts…
The Concertante for Piano and Brass Band was the work that first brought my music to public attention, particularly within the brass band community. Indeed, also in the audience that evening was Geoffrey Brand, who shortly afterwards asked me to become the ‘house composer’ for his newly acquired brass band publishing company R.Smith & Co., a company that published all my early brass band music, including Essay, Prelude for an Occasion, The Plantagenets, Patterns, Concerto Grosso, and many more.
Despite this, the work was never published, even though it was performed several times and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 during the 1970s; and after another performance (with the GUS Band conducted by Bramwell Tovey) at a Gala Concert following the National Brass Band Championship at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1989, I decided to withdraw the work entirely as I felt it was too influenced in its musical style by a number of other composers (Rachmaninov, Gershwin, and John Ireland, to name but three).
However, in my now mature years, such concerns have ceased to exist, and as I have had many requests over the years to make this work available, I have finally decided to publish it in the month and year of its 50th anniversary. The brass band repertoire is bereft of original works for piano and brass band (indeed one of the very few precursors for this genre was one by the above mentioned Ray Steadman-Allen). The publication of this work will now add to the canon of such repertoire for pianists and bands. I hope that they will enjoy rehearsing and performing it – and that I shall still enjoy listening to it!
The Concertante for Piano and Brass Band will be available to purchase from this website from 1 October 2017, when you will be able to buy study scores, performance scores and parts and a version for two pianos, ideal for rehearsal purposes. Study scores will also be available from the World of Brass Trade Stand at forthcoming major events. Watch this space for updates on forthcoming performances!