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Commissioned by Boosey & Hawkes for the

Millennium National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain

 

This work was first performed on 21 October 2000

in the Royal Albert Hall, London

 

 

COMPOSERíS NOTE

 

 

 

At 8.00pm on the 22nd of October 1707, the Association, flagship of the Royal Navy, struck rocks off the Scilly Isles with the loss of the entire crew. Throughout the rest of the evening the remaining three ships in the fleet suffered the same fate. Only 26 of the original 1,647 crew members survived. This disaster was a direct result of an inability to calculate longitude, the most pressing scientific problem of the time.  It pushed the longitude question to the forefront of the national consciousness and precipitated the Longitude Act. Parliament funded a prize of £20,000 to anyone whose method or device would solve the dilemma.

 

For carpenter and self-taught clockmaker John Harrison, this was the beginning of a 40 year obsession. To calculate longitude it is necessary to know the time aboard ship and at the home port or place of known longitude, at precisely the same moment. Harrisonís dream was to build a clock so accurate that this calculation could be made, an audacious feat of engineering.

 

This work reflects on aspects of this epic tale, brilliantly brought to life in Dava Sobelís book Longitude. Much of the music is mechanistic in tone and is constructed along precise mathematical and metrical lines. The heart of the work however is human - the attraction of the £20,000 prize is often cited as Harrisonís motivation. However, the realisation that countless lives depended on a solution was one which haunted Harrison. The emotional core of the music reflects on this, and in particular the evening of 22nd October 1707.

 

Peter Graham

Cheshire

July 2000

 

Instrumentation

 

British Brass Band

 

Percussion (3 players):

 

Timpani          (3 Temple blocks, Bass drum)

Percussion 1 (Bass drum, Snare drum, Bongo, Wood block, Vibraphone, Tam-tam, Glockenspiel

Percussion 2 (Wood block, Suspended cymbal, Vibraphone, Snare drum, Tam-tam, Xylophone, Bass drum, Tubular bells)

 

 

In addition, a number of the brass players play a small handheld bell (eg. an individual wind chime or suspended metal piece).

 

 

Duration: 12 minutes

 

 

© Copyright 2000 by Gramercy Music (UK)

PO Box 41

Cheadle Hulme

Cheshire SK8 5HF

England

 

Web:    www.gramercymusic.com

Email:   info@gramercymusic.com

 

Harrisonís Dream Ė Peter Graham

 

Full Score:        ISMN M-57017-000-5

Study Score:     ISMN M-57017-001-2

Parts:               ISMN M-57017-002-9

 

All rights reserved

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