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01684 773883

Paul Lewis
LUX ET OMBRA for Brass Quintet
Goodmusic GM243

Catalogue Number: GM243

ISMN: 9790222308077

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Lux et Ombra (Brass Quintet) image
Lux et Ombra: light and shadow - for brass quintet of two trumpets in Bb (or Cornet and Flugelhorn), Horn in F, Trombone and Tuba.
The music suggests an interplay between the forces of light and darkness, though the latter seems to have the upper hand and light only manages to break through temporarily before subsiding uneasily back into the gloom. Is this a reflection of the composer's mood or a meditation upon the state of the world at the time of writing? Neither! The piece is a concert version of the score to Edward D.Hoch's The Vorpal Blade, an episode of the iconic British TV series Tales of the Unexpected which Paul Lewis scored in 1982. In 2017 trombonist Tony Turner saw a repeat of the programme on daytime television and commissioned Lewis to write a concert work based on the score for his Yorkshire Wolds Brass Quintet.
An alternative title might well be Fencing and Wenching, since the drama takes place in Heidelberg before the First World War and concerns deadly rivalry among aristocratic students in a university fencing fraternity and a duel over a bierkeller barmaid. A wistful opening theme introduces the ageing German prisoner-of-war who recounts the story. The music of the fencing school supplies the dark and dangerous element and a landler-style theme for the blonde femme fatale provides the light. After a fatal duel a funeral march literally tramples the landler, heard briefly on the tuba, underfoot, and the barmaid who fleetingly brought the only light to the story is left to mourn in emotional darkness.

Footnote
Shortly after writing the above notes I received the following from Tim Priestley, tuba player in the Yorkshire Wolds Quintet: "I have today returned from a river cruise down the Rhine where I was taken on a walking tour of Heidelberg on the feast of Corpus Christi. The guide stood us outside the pub on the cobbled street running down to the river and told the story of the duelling students and the barmaid's loss. I have just read the Lux et Ombra programme notes. Spooky!!"
I had always believed the story to be total fiction, but this revelation adds a final twist worthy in itself of the plot of an episode of Tales of the Unexpected! Paul Lewis
Duration 8 minutes
Score and parts included.

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