Bandmusicpdf.net / PN-160
The First Shoot, in 5 mvmts.
William Walton / Paul Noble
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Occupying an important historical position between his better-known colleagues Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten, William Walton is seen by many as the first modern British composer to approach the brilliance and vitality which characterized English music during Handel's day. Born in northwest England, Walton was the son of a choirmaster, and appropriately, served as a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral at Oxford from 1912 to 1918. Studies at the university itself proved unsatisfying, and William left Oxford without a degree in 1920, relying instead upon the patronage of the Sitwell family, who had befriended the young composer. Through the influence of this affluent and well-known family, Walton was able to break into the London music scene, and by 1922 his chamber piece "Facade" had achieved some popularity with the concert-going public. Much like his contemporaries Poulenc and Prokofiev, Walton was at heart an expressive, lyric composer; his music is a sparkling synthesis of old and new.
"The First Shoot" was written and first performed in 1935 for the ballet "Follow the Sun". The original music was lost, but reconstructed for brass band, and later for orchestra by Christopher Palmer. This Concert Band arrangement is based on that orchestra score. It is a charming look back (one can imagine the music that might have accompanied a Charlie Chaplin movie!) Concert bands will experience a worthwhile challenge in bringing this wonderfully tuneful music to their audiences, as well as the broadening of their own musical experience.