Kopanitsa was commissioned by Gavin Pritchard, who is also the work’s dedicatee and gave the first performance with the Tongwynlais Temperance Band conducted by Gareth Pritchard at the Butlins Mineworkers Championship on 20 January 2008, winning the prize for best soloist as a result. He has recorded it on the CD “Enter the Galaxies” accompanied by the Cory Band conducted by Robert Childs.
Gavin had requested a virtuoso showpiece featuring as many instruments as possible. The solo part is therefore written for vibraphone (bowed and struck), 10 x tuned tom toms, 5 x suspended cymbals plus hi-hat and a xylophone. The soloist’s ‘choreography’ therefore forms an integral part of the performance. This can be seen to great effect in Gavin’s performance of the work at the 2013 Brass in Concert Championship with Tredegar Band, available on the DVD of the event from World of Brass. A ‘kopanitsa’ is a Bulgarian folk dance that traditionally features two slow beats and two quick beats, reflected in the central 10/8 section. The music is deliberately Balkan in character, using the characteristic modes of Greek and Bulgarian folk music, and accelerates regularly to finish at breakneck speed. The tom-tom section marked ‘ad lib.’ after [D] can be improvised if the soloist wishes.
The band percussion parts are written for timpani, snare drum, suspended cymbal, tambourine on a stand and bass drum. It is possible to combine these with the soloist part to make the work a feature for percussion trio and parts for this can be made available on request.
Soprano cornet, solo and 1st horn, 1st and 2nd baritone and euphoniums will require straight mutes (metal ideally). Soprano cornet, principal cornet, repiano and 1 x 2nd cornet, plus all trombones, will require cup mutes. Repiano, 2nd and 3rd cornet require harmon mutes with the tubes removed (indicated by ‘TR’).