All hail, great master! Grave sir, hail! I come
To answer thy best pleasure, be ’t to fly,
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
On the curled cloud. To thy strong bidding, task
Ariel and all his quality.
– William Shakespeare: The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2
Ariel was written for the Hammonds Band to open their programme at the 2019 Brass in Concert Championships at The Sage Concert Hall in Gateshead, where it received its premiere. The title is taken from the character in Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tempest’. Ariel is an immensely powerful “air spirit” or demon bound to serve Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, after being released by Prospero from imprisonment in a tree. In the play Ariel’s magical abilities are used to help Prospero revenge himself on his enemies and reclaim his dukedom, whereupon Ariel finally regains his freedom.
You can hear an audio preview and follow the score below:
The cornets and horns are split into two “choirs” to be placed left and right of the band. It may be possible for the choirs to play their opening flourish offstage, and the optional repeated sections in the opening are to accommodate stage movement if required. Trombones form a third “choir” which should ideally stand centrally between basses and percussion, and the euphoniums and baritones should sit in front of the basses. The work requires four percussionists, although if four are not available the 2nd part may be omitted.
- Percussion 1: Kit – bass drum, snare, 3 x toms, hi-hat, suspended cymbal – and 3 x temple blocks
- Percussion 2: Tam tam and orchestral bass drum.
- Percussion 3: Glockenspiel and timpani
- Percussion 4: Tubular bells
Soprano, solo cornets and 3rd cornets require cup mutes. Solo trombone requires a cup mute, second trombone requires a metal straight mute.