The three movements exploit soloistic and ensemble possibilities in a concertante manner.
The first movement begins with a series of pyramid-like phrases, each of them based on a repeated rhythm in the lower instruments, with arpeggio figures rising to another repeated note pattern at its peak. The trombones introduce a more unified, rhythmic theme repeated and expanded by the trumpets, all accompanied by a rather angular tuba counterpoint. A plunging declamation in the bass trombone sets off a development of these two ideas. Two versions of the opening 'pyramid' close the movement, the first of them considerably extended.
Lento e Giusto
Begins with a flugel horn recitative, punctuated by trombone chords and a chattering muted trumpet texture. A trumpet takes up the recitative in more aggressive manner before a flowing second theme appears, firstly in the flugel, horn and trombones, with the chattering trumpets still in evidence, and then in the trumpets. Once again the tuba has an accompanying counterpoint. This theme is extended to reach a climax where the trumpets repeat the opening flugel recitative. There is now a capitulation of a second theme with the tuba line eventually emerging as a solo line in its own right.
Is in three sections with a coda. The first section is a series of three attempts to establish a rhythmic, fanfare-like motive, but interrupted by a falling tuba quintuplet. The section ends with horn and first trombone taking up this quintuplet rhythm. The central section is a scherzando, with once again the material being interrupted, this time by the horn, with a series of three recitatives. A short repetition of the opening fanfares leads to a coda in which the quintuplet rhythm is finally taken up, affirmatively by the whole ensemble.