Open rehearsal featuring the British Open Test piece – Fraternity
2nd September 2007
4:30pm- Westhoughton memorial:
Hymn and Prayer
5:00pm-7:00pm – St Bartholomews:
Open rehearsal featuring Fraternity
The musical narrative sets the scene, tells the tale and recalls the aftermath. It comprises seven linked sections that open mysteriously with cold timbres evoking an early morning trek to the pit head before building in anxiety and industry as the miners first descend the shaft before starting their shift of work — from the light above to the dark below to extract the coal.
The catastrophe is ignited by a fractured, frenzied forcefulness, the prelude to which is the ghostly on-rush of air through instruments; life or death a matter of luck as the explosion devastates the underground passages that lead from the coal face to the pit head.
The solemn task of bringing out the dead leads to a bleak paean of reflection before the piece ends in uplifting fashion in the form of a ‘Fraternity Prayer’ that pays tribute to those lost.
Composer Thierry Deleruyelle hoped bands would be able to identify with something within the piece. It was a heartfelt request that found resonance given the historic association many bands have to heavy industry and coal mining in particular all over Europe.