Lively - Leisurely - Flowing - Lively - Decisive - Reflective - Agitated
This work was commissioned by Besses o' th' Barn Band, with the aid of funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain, and was later rewritten for concert band (the two versions actually overlapped in the composition). It is in one movement falling into several contrasted sections, the characters of which are to some extent indicated by the tempo markings. The opening section, Lively, introduces the main ideas of the work, including the very opening pulsating chord which recurs at various points during the music (especially just before the end). The main theme of the piece is heard in its fullest form in the first slow section, initially on euphonium accompanied by cornets and glockenspiel and then restated with more complex counterpoint above it. To some degree, the work is a set of free variations on this tune, and this in itself is derived from the idea heard in the bass right at the start, beneath the fluctuating chord.
The title was originally going to be Reflections, with the notion of suggest Reflections on a theme, but as I worked on the music it seemed more appropriate to call it Images, because not only does the music present the basic material in different character-images, but during the composition I also felt a kinship between the music I was writing and some visual images that passed through my mind. Some of these were works of art, others purely abstract impressions of patterns and colours. I have no intention of revealing what these images were, however - I only hope the music will encourage listeners, if so inclined, to invoke images in response to it themselves.
© 2001 by John McCabe