Fraternity to test 2017 British Open challengers

Thierry Deleruyelle's acclaimed work, 'Fraternity' has been announced as the set-work for the 2017 British Open Championship.

Thierry Deleruyelle
  Thierry Deleruyelle's fine work 'Fraternity' will test the bands at the 2017 British Open Championship

As was announced at this year's British Open Championship at Symphony Hall, 'Fraternity' by composer Thierry Deleruyelle will used as the test-piece for the 2017 event.

Critical acclaim

The work was originally commissioned as the set-work for the 2016 European Championship in Lille, France, and was received with widespread popular and critical acclaim.

Inspired by the tragic circumstances of a 1906 mining disaster in Douai (a short distance from Lille) that claimed over 1,000 lives, it's written in an open, tonal fashion — eschewing the trend for high-energy injections of volume and speed for more considered pacing and texture, subtly scored balances and lengthened lyrical lines.


The musical narrative sets the scene, tells the tale and recalls the aftermath.

It comprises seven linked sections that open mysteriously with cold timbres evoking an early morning trek to the pit head before building in anxiety and industry as the miners first descend the shaft before starting their shift of work — from the light above to the dark below to extract the coal.

The catastrophe is ignited by a fractured, frenzied forcefulness, the prelude to which is the ghostly on-rush of air through instruments; life or death a matter of luck as the explosion devastates the underground passages that lead from the coal face to the pit head.


The solemn task of bringing out the dead leads to a bleak paean of reflection before the piece ends in uplifting fashion in the form of a 'Fraternity Prayer' that pays tribute to those lost.

Composer Thierry Deleruyelle hoped bands would be able to identify with something within the piece. It was a heartfelt request that found resonance given the historic association many bands have to heavy industry and coal mining in particular all over Europe.


A British Open spokesperson told 4BR: "Traditionally, 'The Open' reveals its chosen work for September at the Spring Festival, but on this occasion, and in view of the interest the composition has generated since it was first performed, it was decided to release this information in advance.

The decision to use 'Fraternity' continues to reflect our aim of providing utilising a composition that maintains the quality and heritage of the oldest brass contest in the world, whilst also embracing the growing number of challenging works from modern day compositional talents that are being introduced on the international contesting stage."

Inspired by the tragic circumstances of a 1906 mining disaster in Douai that claimed over 1,000 lives, it's written in an open, tonal fashion — eschewing the trend for high-energy injections of volume and speed4BR

Further information:

The 2017 British Open Championship will take place on Saturday 9th September at Symphony Hall.

Tickets will be available from next May.

'Fraternity' is published by de haske:

Further information on the British Open can be found at: http:www.thebritishopen.net/

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