A Weekend in New York

A Weekend in New York was commissioned by The United States Army Field Band, Washington, D.C., Colonel Thomas H. Palmatier, Commander and Conductor. They performed it to great critical acclaim at the 2008 Midwest Clinic in Chicago.

The composer writes:-

The brief of the commission was for a piece ‘with an American theme’ and as I had just returned from a stopover weekend in New York, this seemed to be an ideal subject.

Although I have visited the States many times, this was my first trip to the Big Apple. The city holds a huge fascination for those of us from ‘across the pond’ but I had a feeling that our impressions were tinged with romanticism; I was amazed to discover that this incredible city was all I expected and more. So I felt fully justified that, when creating a musical impression of my brief visit, I could indulge in what are perhaps musical ‘New York’ clichés, as this was one time when the cliché and the reality were satisfyingly the same!

The work opens with a description of the cityscape and tries to capture the excitement of my first experiences in Manhattan. This leads to a laid-back blues theme on alto saxophone which is taken up by the whole band but is abruptly interrupted by faster music, which could be called ‘Street Scene’. This is followed by a passionate melody from the middle of the band which depicts, perhaps, a sense of awe at the whole experience until I walk past the open door of a jazz club, the music spilling out onto the street. The alto sax again takes the lead and quotes a short theme from my own Trombone Concerto to represent the snatch of music that the passer-by briefly hears. The ‘street’ music soon returns, eventually leading back to the opening material. A short coda brings the work to a close.