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Stewart Copeland

Publisher: AMP

Poltroons in Paradise: Concerto for Percussion Section and Orchestra (2013)
Palmyra Music
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Year Composed
16 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
timp, 3 perc
Programme Note
Stewart Copeland Poltroons in Paradise: Concerto for Percussion Section and Orchestra (2013)
Composer's Note:
Poltroons in Paradise is the beginning of a story, the cheerful part, about those who ride in on the back of a revolution and then discover the temptations of those things against which they had revolted.

I’m imagining a cadre of starving, hitherto excluded intellectuals swaggering through the palace of the fallen regime. The chandeliers, the brocades and the gilded furniture all inspire a grand buffoonery that hides a sneaking desire.

Many composers would regard the mission of writing a percussion concerto as an opportunity to celebrate banging and clattering. A worthy cause no doubt, but there can be great beauty in things that are hit with a stick. And those satins really are quite beautiful…

— Stewart Copeland

To say that his 15 minute piece was executed brilliantly by Neil Hitt, Graham Johns, Henry Baldwin, and Adrian Spilett, aided brilliantly by the superb RLPO, is something of an understatement. Indeed, the whole piece fizzes with fun, particularly with a fff blast on a trio of whistles which breaks thing up nicely. Indeed, even the much maligned triangle takes a place in the sun which all adds nicely to the jauntiness of the work. Copeland's joy and enthusiasm when he came onto the stage to bask in the warmth of the the rightful applause it received,mirrored the vibrancy of the work itself.
Chris High, Click Liverpool,25/05/2014
Poltroons in Paradise is a 15-minute showpiece for four extremely busy percussionists, based on an elaborate post-revolutionary programme in which Copeland claims "to imagine a cadre of starving, hitherto excluded intellectuals swaggering through the palace of a fallen regime".The scoring has a gilded, highly reflective surface...It's structured around the familiar, minimalist trope of a repetitive melodic loop, on top of which Copeland piles a barrage of funky syncopations whose most striking figure is a jangling cadenza for three triangles.
Alfred Hickling, The Guardian,25/05/2014
Stewart Copeland brings the house crashing down... former drummer of The Police turned composer, punched the air in triumph after his remarkable percussion concerto drew an electrifying, energizing performance.
Gerry Corner, Liverpool Confidential,24/05/2014
Whimsically-titled Poltroons in Paradise, a playfully melodic piece – albeit with a strong, persistent rhythmic beat at its heart. Copeland cut his classical teeth in cinema, and the concerto is cinematic in colour and texture. Scored for three has oriental-infused marimba, carnival-style siren whistles and a cadenza featuring a trio of triangles. How could anyone not enjoy such exuberance?
Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo,23/05/2014
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