Waespi at Crossroads for new orchestra and brass band link

Composer Oliver Waespi has combined the forces of an symphony orchestra and brass band for his latest work to be premiered in Germany next month.

Oliver Waespi

Following the critical acclaim accorded to his latest major contest work, ‘As if a Voice were in Them’ at the 2014 Swiss National Championship, Oliver Waespi is set to enjoy a further high profile musical premiere — this time in Germany.

Brass&Sinfonik II

The composer (above) has been working with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra and Brass Band BlechKLANG on a project entitled, ‘Brass&Sinfonik II’, led by conductors Philippe Bach and Alexander Richter, which will include his new work ‘At the Crossroads’, featured alongside major compositions from the likes of Ireland, Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Ireland and Butterworth.


‘At the Crossroads’ was commissioned for the concert which will take place on 12th March at the Volkshaus Jena in Germany, by the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, and is only the second time that a full symphony orchestra and a brass band have been linked together.

The first such work, ‘Mancunians’, by the late Arthur Butterworth, will also appear in the programme, alongside Elgar’s ‘Severn Suite’ and ‘An English Folk Song Suite’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The performances will be directed by conductors Philippe Bach and Alexander Richter, with Philippe (well known in brass banding circles in Switzerland and Europe) the General Music Director of the Meiningen Opera House.

Enjoyable experience

Oliver Waespi enjoys a highly respected reputation as a symphonic composer, with a number of his works having being performed by renowned ensembles around the musical world.

And as he told 4BR, it has been an enjoyable experience to link both musical genres together in his new 25 minute composition, which explores how musical energies and orchestrations originating from different directions can be brought to interact with each other in order to create a new entity.

“Whilst the orchestration presented a particular challenge in this project, the more I advanced in the conception of this new piece, the more I discovered to what extent these two line-ups are completing rather than excluding each other,” he said.

Motives located in high registers of the orchestra and freely flowing sound fields are contrasted by heavy, earthbound gestures with a distinctive rhythmical gravitationOliver Waespi

Sonic space

“While band instruments such as the euphonium, flugel horn or cornets bring new, warm tone colours into the symphony orchestra, the latter is characterised by the transparency and sonic space provided by the strings and woodwinds and the clarity of the orchestral brass with trumpets and French horns otherwise absent in the brass band.

Motives located in high registers of the orchestra and freely flowing sound fields are contrasted by heavy, earthbound gestures with a distinctive rhythmical gravitation.”

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