Paul McGhee: Kjeden


Kjeden (subtitled ‘Dialogue for Euphonium and Brass Band’) was commissioned by Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen for the 2012 BrassWind Festival in Bergen, Norway. Written between June and August 2012 the piece was premiered by Glenn Van Looy and Manger Musikklag on Friday, October 5th, 2012 at the Logen Theater.

Kjeden is the Norwegian name for ‘Chain’ – a flexible sequence or series of connected elements – and is dedicated to Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen and all of the players of Manger Musikklag, with thanks for their support.



Paul McGheeSubtitled dialogue for Euphonium and Brass Band, Kjeden aims to explore the relationship between soloist and ensemble. The ensemble, rather than merely accompanying; interacts with the soloist and creates soundscapes which become the backdrop for the soloists extended passages. Many instruments from the ensemble become lead lines in the material and there is a constant dialogue between the instruments as each fights for importance. Using the idea of a chain the five sections of the piece are interlinked and the point where one ends and another begins is often blurred and distorted. Each section emerges from the material which precedes it and constantly gives reminders of what has gone before as well as introducing new material.

Dance like passages and fast rhythmical sections flow in and out and morph into musical ideas of highly differing character with contrast being the primal element which propels the music and creates momentum. Although the music draws to a definite conclusion, the re-introduction at the end of the piece of motifs and moods that occur at the beginning of the work mean that the music comes full circle, finishing where it began. Indeed, it is the intention that the music in fact has no ending and is to be played on a loop continuously; further blurring the boundaries and becoming an unbroken chain of material.

A recording of Kjeden can be heard below (from Paul’s Soundcloud page) and you can see a preview of the solo part here.

Duration: c.21 minutes

Suggested Band Layout 

To help the higher detail to be heard the following seating plan is desired for performance:

Euphoniums and Baritones to be seated in normal position (to the conductor’s right). Basses to be seated where the Horns would usually sit (in front of the conductor) with the Horns and Flugel to be seated where the Solo Cornets would normally sit (to the conductor’s left).

Trombones to be stood behind the Basses. Soprano and Solo Cornets to be stood behind the Euphoniums and Baritones. Back row Cornets to be stood behind the Horns and Flugel.

Percussion should be set up by the players at their convenience. Soloist to be stood in front of the band to the conductor’s left.

Percussion Required

Percussion I: Timpani (32’’ 28’’ 25’’ 23’’ 21’’), Triangle, Cabasa, Suspended Cymbal.

Percussion II: Suspended Cymbal, Vibraphone, Bass Drum, Claves, tom-Toms, Triangle.

Percussion III: Tam-Tam, Glockenspiel, Mark-Tree, Snare Drum, Tambourine (on a stand), Xylophone, Suspended Cymbal, 2 Wood-Blocks.

Percussion IV: Tubular Bells, Tam-Tam, Bass Drum, 2 Wood-Blocks, Tambourine (on a stand), Mark-Tree.

Ensemble Version

The ensemble adaption of Kjeden was comissioned by Adam Bokaris for his undergraduate final recital at the Royal Northern College of Music. In order to fund the commission Adam created a consortium, with members from Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and U.S.A. The consortium included: Adam Bokaris, Jim Gourlay, Steven Mead, Matthew Kundler, Ben Crocker, Pat Stuckemeyer, James Blackford, Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen, Gilles Rocha, Nick Healy and Kerry Wood.

Additional information

Weight N/A
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Brass Band Version, Ensemble Version, Brass Band Study Score, Ensemble Study Score


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