2009 Spring Festival - Test Piece review: Spectrum


4BR looks at Spectrum - courtesy of Harry Mortimer's thoughts on the piece back at the British Open in 1969...

VinterAccording to the notes given in the British Open programme of 1969, ‘Spectrum’ was described by Harry Mortimer in the following manner:

Spectrum – Gilbert Vinter

The work begins with a slow chromatic ascent from the bass, accelerating quickly through the band to a shimmering incandescence in the cornets, under which the main harmonies and theme are given out.

This plunges immediately into a march like movement representing ‘red’ - harsh and disturbing, with discordant harmonies and complicated rhythms.

The fierce heat subsides and the tempo drops to a more leisurely speed for ‘orange’, which, over a basic Latin-American rhythmic style, becomes diffused and languorous.

Next comes ‘yellow’ – dynamic and playful, with a bold and surging tune building to a high climax and finishing abruptly – to be followed by the peaceful, pastoral ‘green’.

This is represented by a quiet expressive melody on soprano cornet and solo horn, with interjections by the solo cornet. Trombones and euphonium hold a conversation, which leads up to a short but passionate section, before returning to the quiet opening melody on the full band.

’Blue’ brings a delicate crispness and clarity, and features the solo and repiano cornets in a brilliant unison passage, after which, the short sections in three-quarter time that run through the movement, suddenly develop into a strong waltz representing ‘indigo’

This is in Rondo form and leads into the final colour in which three quarter rhythm continues as an insistent throbbing bass, under a strong and powerful harmonic structure, first on euphonium and trombones, and then on full band.

A reiteration of the introductory passage acts as a coda, and brings the work to a close.


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