Second City Ceremony

Second City Ceremony was commissioned by Keith Allen and Birmingham Symphonic Winds who gave the first performance at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham on Saturday 19 June. It is the 4th piece this enterprising ensemble has commissioned as part of a 5-year commissioning project, which began in 2007.

 Birmingham is proud of its nickname as the ‘Second City’ in the UK, only London having a greater geographical area and larger population. Second City Ceremony is designed as a concert-opener and is full of nervous energy, contrasts and syncopated rhythms. It opens with a modal fanfare on the brass and saxophones, which is repeated with woodwind flourishes. A more lyrical theme in the middle of the band is again accompanied by upper woodwinds and develops into a climax for the whole band before the fanfare returns. A waltz-like second subject provides a moment of elegance but the fanfare keeps returning in various guises and orchestrations and eventually brings the piece crashing to a close.