Onyx Brass

Dan Jenkins Mnemonyx

Dan Jenkins

For our upcoming Purcell Room concert BBC trombonist Dan Jenkins has written us a new non-brass piece. After rehearsing it we think it’s going to be great if a little daunting! Here is what Dan himself has to say about it.

“Brass playing is a taxing business, so in January 2012, Onyx Brass asked me to write them a lively, rhythmic piece, but one that would give their lips a short break during a concert. The piece is in 6 short sections, the first two punctuated by‘High 5s’ from the group. The first section follows on directly from the previous piece, whatever that was.  Next, the group set up a series of Flamenco-like rhythms which dart back and forth across the stage.  There then follows an improvised solo by the tuba player, incorporating any non-tuba techniques they can think of, accompanied by the rest of the band, who have set up a backing rhythm like a Maori haka. After this, the mnemonics begin, with each member of the group contributing a favourite.  I think that speech tones all have their own particular pitch, and therefore the ensuing ‘conversation’,consisting entirely of quoted mnemonics, with rises and falls in dynamic, can be considered vocal harmony.  They end up whispering, before the Second Trumpet starts an actual tonal section,which when repeated inverted, spells out the word Nn-Ne-Mo-Ni-Cs between the group. This leads to the final section, a dramatic build-up of various rhythms and non-instrumental techniques (Steve Reich meets Mike Oldfield?) before a reiteration of the piece’s first rhythms leads back to where we began.  With any luck.”

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