Red Blue Yellow
£20.00 – £25.00
RBY is a piece of many colours, not just the three primary ones. I have tried to portray some facet of the tones you get when you mix two of the three colours on a palette, i.e. orange, green and purple/violet, and of course black, the dark heart of the piece when you mix all three colours together. Thus black is a confluence of the Red, Blue and Yellow themes, crushed together. With all these colours and different portrayals, it’s quite a detailed score.
RBY is a piece of many colours, not just the three primary ones. I have tried to portray some facet of the tones you get when you mix two of the three colours on a palette, i.e. orange, green and purple/violet, and of course black, the dark heart of the piece when you mix all three colours together. Thus black is a confluence of the Red, Blue and Yellow themes, crushed together.
The bedrock of the music is its motif, a six note sequence derived from the letters BTS, and the numbers 30 and 2015. There were all sorts of criteria to be filled, derived from BTS requests, and my own compositional expectations. There are three sections, one for each of the primary colours, and each featuring a different member of the trombone section as soloist.
Red said to me many things, and the theme is strong, dangerous, even devilish, and the focus is on the Bass Trombone. There’s a part of the Red section of the piece, and I fully admit this, that blatantly uses a Lutoslawski effect that I’ve always enjoyed, and this section also keeps stopping, as you would at a red light. Purple appears as the motif twisted into a famous Deep Purple riff, and Orange is a similar distortion of the Dutch national anthem! Between these the Black crush is heard, set off by the Bass Trombone Red motif, added to by the Blue and Yellow themes, which we haven’t heard yet in their own contexts.
I felt Blue to be gentler, with images of sea and sky. The Second Trombone emerges and introduces calm, bubbling coral reef water, before the Blue theme. Violet flowers wave in the wind, and there’s an open Green park, perhaps where the flowers are. After the central Black music, the music relaxes and the Blue theme is heard in its full harmony, before we finally bubble to a calm finish.
Yellow is bright sunlight, and starts with a dazzling introduction. But soon the jaunty Yellow theme sets off on First Trombone, and leads to a very fast dovetailed section, where the three trombones jointly play faster than they could as individuals. The secondary colours are treated differently than they were in the previous two movements, in that Orange is now a heat-haze, hot waves above a desert, and Green is now dark green, a murky forest. Black has its say, but only very briefly before a recapitulation of Yellow, which leads to the solid end, a climax of the BTS motif.
Dan Jenkins, August 2015.
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