Orchestral, Wind Band and Brass Band Works



Small Orchestra  

TOCCATA FOR SMALL ORCHESTRA Opus 26 (1982) 4' 
2 oboes, 2 horns, strings

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This work was commissioned by the Academy of St Philip's Orchestra, (Leader and Director Margaret Faultless), who first performed the work on 11th July 1982 at Burg Güssing, Burgenland, at the Vienna Youth & Music Festival, as part of their first-prize winning programme.  The orchestra gave 3 subsequent performances on the same tour, in Vienna, Salzburg and on Austrian Radio.

British performances by the same orchestra were given in Birmingham Cathedral (British premiere, September 3rd 1982), Great Witley Church, Worcestershire (July 1983) and the Holywell Music Room, Oxford (July 1983).

The Birmingham School of Music Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Miller, also gave performances of this work in 1983: in the Rectal Hall of the Birmingham School of Music (February 1983), in Ludlow Town Hall (February 1983) and at Beechwood Park Public School, Luton (April 1983).

The work has subsequently been performed on the Anglo-French orchestral course in Viviers, Ardeche, France (3 performances, directed by Mark Foster, in Viviers, Valence and Annonay in July 1985); by the Manchester University Chamber Orchestra conducted by Ruth Jacobs (March 1987); the Aberystwyth International Summer School Orchestra, conducted by Franz Anton Krager, at Aberystwyth Arts Centre (July 1996); the Birmingham Festival Choral Society Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Bradbury, as part of the Birmingham Festival Choral Society's 'Towards the Millennium' Concert Series (St Paul's Church, Hockley, Birmingham, March 1999); the Portsmouth New Music Orchestra, conducted by John Webber (October 1999); and by the Haybridge Community Orchestra, Worcestershire, conducted by Cynthia Downes (April and June 2005).



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Overtures

CONCERT OVERTURE 'TOWARDS A NEW AGE' Opus 60 (1996) 7' 
Scored for full Symphony Orchestra.

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Concert Overture: Towards a New Age - Symphony Orchestra
(some parts are sold with a license to allow the printing of multiple copies)
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Individual Parts 

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This overture 'Towards a New Age' was commissioned by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in celebration of the 150th anniversary of its foundation.

The World premiere was given on January 28th 1997 in Symphony Hall, Birmingham, by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Constantine. 

As a result of the success of this work Andrew Downes was awarded a commemorative gold medal for his "outstanding contribution" to the anniversary celebrations of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  

The Central England Ensemble conducted by Anthony Bradbury performed the work in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham, in November 2004.

In May 2009, the Haybridge Community Orchestra, conducted by Cynthia Downes, gave a performance of the overture in St John's Church, Hagley, Worcestershire, as part of the 2009 Hagley Music Festival.

In February 2015 this overture was recorded in the Dvorak Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic, by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Ondrej Vrabec, as part of a 2 CDs set of 4 symphonies and 2 overtures by Andrew Downes, all recorded in the spring of 2015 on the Artesmon label. The set of 2 CDs and one Documentary DVD were launched in the Suk Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, on 1st December 2015. The CDs were launched on iTunes on March 18th 2016 and voted CD of the Month of March 2016 by Czech Music Direct. The UK launch, organised by Czech Music Direct, took place on 17th April 2016 at the National Film Theatre, London, where excerpts were played and the Documentary DVD was shown, together with Paula Downes' films portraying Andrew Downes' Songs from Spoon River and also an excerpt from the DVD of Andrew Downes' opera, Far from the Madding Crowd.

'...the overture flickers into life like a willing machine, broad chorales soaring proudly over energetic rhythms.'
THE BIRMINGHAM POST

'...an incredible score. Among its many qualities is a marvellous understanding and control of the orchestra. The music is very loud and dramatic at times and almost unbearably exciting and yet the texture of the writing is absolutely faultless.' Dr David Wright MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

'Symphonies (and Overtures) by Andrew Downes, released by Czech label Artesmon, is destined to be one of the most important orchestral recordings of 2016.  They are played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ondrej Vrabec, who deliver one of their greatest recorded performances since the days of Karel Ancerl, in sound of vast depth and power.' CZECH MUSIC DIRECT

'Some of the orchestral players are heard remarking on how much they enjoyed playing the scores, and their enthusiasm is infectious; there is no sense here of bored instrumentalists going dutifully through the motions. There is also a startlingly interventionist producer, who seems to be acting as a persistent critic dedicated to the detection of the slightest error or pitch or rhythm.   
'...earnestly recommended to those listeners who are willing to make the acquaintance of an attractive composer who is prepared to meet them halfway. This is a thoroughly worthwhile release; and the presentation, with three discs in a gatefold sleeve including a substantial booklet of forty pages (English with Czech translation), is a model of what such things should be.'
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL


Review by Musical Opinion of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures

Review by MusicWeb International of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures



OVERTURE FOR ST CERE Opus 8 (1975) 12'
2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 3 horns, 3 trumpets, timpani, strings

Commissioned for the St Cere (France) International Music Festival of 1976, this overture was first performed by the Birmingham School of Music Symphony Orchestra, directed by Frank Downes, on February 24th 1976 in the Recital Hall of the Birmingham School of Music. These artists then broadcast the work live on BBC Radio from the Centre for the Arts at Aston University on March 10th 1976.  They gave the French premiere at the Chateau de Montal, St Cere, on August 5th 1976.

'La musique en est detendue, agreable, comme il sied pour un soir de vacances. L'auteur ne s'ecarte jamais d'un evident parti-pris de simplicite et de clarte. Sa musique s'ecoute donc sans effort.
'The music is relaxed, pleasant, as befits a holiday evening. The composer never moves away from an obvious preference for simplicity and clarity. His music is therefore listened to without effort.'
LA DEPECHE DU MIDI




OVERTURE: IN THE COTSWOLDS Opus 36 (1986) 6'  
4 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, percussion (4 players), strings

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Overture: In the Cotswolds - Symphony Orchestra
(some parts are sold with a license to allow the printing of multiple copies)
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This Overture In the Cotswolds was commissioned by the Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra for the opening concert of the Three Choirs Festival on August 16th 1986.

Subsequent performers include the Dudley Schools Symphony Orchestra at the National Festival of 'Music for Youth' at the Royal Festival Hall in July 1996, and Central England Ensemble, directed by Lee Armstrong, in June 2012 at Carrs Lane Centre, Birmingham.

In February 2015 this overture was recorded in the Dvorak Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic, by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Ondrej Vrabec, as part of a 2 CDs set of 4 symphonies and 2 overtures by Andrew Downes, all recorded in the spring of 2015 on the Artesmon label. The set of 2 CDs and one Documentary DVD were launched in the Suk Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, on 1st December 2015. The CDs were launched on iTunes on March 18th 2016 and voted CD of the Month of March 2016 by Czech Music Direct. The UK launch, organised by Czech Music Direct, took place on 17th April 2016 at the National Film Theatre, London, where excerpts were played and the Documentary DVD was shown, together with Paula Downes' films portraying Andrew Downes' Songs from Spoon River and also an excerpt from the DVD of Andrew Downes' opera, Far from the Madding Crowd.


'Downes talent is unquestionably a lyrical one, as is immediately demonstrated in the work's evocation of the Cotswold landscape in the song-like opening melody for strings...it stilled Gloucester Cathedral before the first bar-line had been reached. But as if fully aware of this picture postcard world, Downes soon clouds his musical vocabulary with more jagged, strident, wholly 20th century utterances depicting the modern world of the town. The climax comes when the two sound worlds are set against each other, with the enduring beauty of the Cotswold landscape triumphing over all assaults. Instrumentation is lavishly bold and technicoloured...'   CLASSICAL MUSIC FORTNIGHTLY

‘…our imaginations were teased by Andrew Downes’ overture In the Cotswolds: Gloucestershire lyricism, deliciously user-friendly. Sunny pastoral scenes, horn solos, then diminishing pianissimos disappearing to delightful oblivion: smiles all round.’   BIRMINGHAM POST

'Symphonies (and Overtures) by Andrew Downes, released by Czech label Artesmon, is destined to be one of the most important orchestral recordings of 2016.  They are played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ondrej Vrabec, who deliver one of their greatest recorded performances since the days of Karel Ancerl, in sound of vast depth and power.'  CZECH MUSIC DIRECT

'...the Cotswolds Overture.. is earnestly recommended to those listeners who are willing to make the acquaintance of an attractive composer who is prepared to meet them halfway.
'Some of the orchestral players are heard remarking on how much they enjoyed playing the scores, and their enthusiasm is infectious; there is no sense here of bored instrumentalists going dutifully through the motions. There is also a startlingly interventionist producer, who seems to be acting as a persistent critic dedicated to the detection of the slightest error or pitch or rhythm.   
'This is a thoroughly worthwhile release; and the presentation, with three discs in a gatefold sleeve including a substantial booklet of forty pages (English with   Czech translation), is a model of what such things should be.'
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL


Review by Musical Opinion of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures

Review by MusicWeb International of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures




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Symphonic 


CENTENARY FIREDANCES Opus 43 (1988) 20'                                                                                                                                               
For full symphony orchestra including a large group of percussion instruments (together with marimbas, bongos, cowbells, tom-toms and an Irish drum) and two sets of timpani.

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Commissioned in association with DRAGONFIRE LTD by the City of Birmingham for its Centenary Celebrations 1989.

First performance in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham, by the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Del Mar, on March 3rd 1989. 
Major performance by the same musicians on June 24th 1989 in
Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, with grand firework display by Dragonfire Ltd. Subsequent performances of the work were given by the Paradise Sinfonietta at midsummer events at Cannon Hill Park in 1991 (conducted by William Joss) and 1992 (conducted by Steve Mayer) to audiences of tens of thousands.

Several performances of the work were given in August 1994 in Lima, Peru, by an orchestra formed and conducted by Stephen Ellery and led by Richard Leigh.

Subsequent performers of Centenary Firedances also include the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leon Gee in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham (February 1996 - concert to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Adrian Boult Hall), Northamptonshire County Training Orchestra, directed by Alaster Thom (July 1994 at Derngate, Northampton), Exeter University Symphony Orchestra, directed by Steven Lloyd (October 1999 in the Great Hall of Exeter University), Central England Ensemble, directed by Eric Hinton (July 2003 at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham) and Haybridge Community Orchestra, conducted by Cynthia Downes (as part of the 2007 Hagley Music Festival, Worcestershire).

'.....Then came the premiere of Centenary Firedances by Andrew Downes and what a stunner it proved!
'A fourteen-man percussion section unifies five dances, the sounds of the tom-toms, marimbas, cowbells and the rest all clearly realised.
'As in other examples of this composer's music, there is the occasional American impression, either of rugged simplicity, or of driving energy.
'The audience loved it, and so did the performers under Jonathan Del Mar, and it is wonderful news that this terrific piece is to be recorded.' BIRMINGHAM POST

A commercial cassette recording of the work was made by the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Del Mar, on March 12th 1989: all copies were sold out at the first Cannon Hill Park performance! A re-release of this recording is now available on CD (see Discography). The recording was broadcast on Central Peking Radio 4 times in September and October 1990. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on September 23rd 1992; movement 3 of the recording was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 "In Tune" on July 28th 1993 and the whole work on BBC Radio 3 "Listeners' Choice" on September 22nd 2001. The recording has also on numerous occasions been broadcast on Musicians Page Radio, Los Angeles, USA.   See review of CD (this link will open a new browser) Purchase CD



SYMPHONY No.1 Opus 27 (1982) 35'
For organ, brass (8 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones, tuba), percussion (including vibraphone) and strings.

4 movements: Prelude and Fanfare; Ricercare; Scherzo; Postlude

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Programme Note

Purchase Downloadable Sheet Music:

Symphony No. 1 - Organ, Brass, Percussion & Strings
(some parts are sold with a license to allow the printing of multiple copies)
Score
Individual Parts 

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Score & Parts Bundle 

The first performance of this work was given by the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra, with Michael Haynes, organ, conducted by Mark Foster, on 11th July 1984 in All Saints Church, Cheltenham, as part of the Cheltenham Festival, in a concert to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Gustav Holst, former organist at the church.  The same musicians gave a second performance of the work in St George’s Church, Edgbaston, Birmingham, on July 13th 1984.

Movement 1 of the Symphony was performed by musicians at Shrewsbury School, conducted by Andrew Auster, in the Alington Hall of the school in March 1987.

The recording of the first performance was broadcast on Central Peking Radio 4 times in September and October 1990.

In March 2015 this symphony was recorded in the Dvorak Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic, by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Ondrej Vrabec, as part of a 2 CDs set of 4 symphonies and 2 overtures by Andrew Downes, all recorded in the spring of 2015 on the Artesmon label. The set of 2 CDs and one Documentary DVD were launched in the Suk Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, on 1st December 2015. The CDs were launched on iTunes on March 18th 2016 and voted CD of the Month of March 2016 by Czech Music Direct. On 24th March 2016 a movement from this recording of the symphony was broadcast on Czech Radio, during an interview with Ondrej Vrabec. Movement 3 from this recording of Symphony No.1 can be heard in the Czech Music Everything Radio Show, April 2016, as part of an interview with the composer. The UK launch, organised by Czech Music Direct, took place on 17th April 2016 at the National Film Theatre, London, where excerpts were played and the Documentary DVD was shown, together with Paula Downes' films portraying Andrew Downes' Songs from Spoon River and also an excerpt from the DVD of Andrew Downes' opera, Far from the Madding Crowd.


'...this is a brilliant work written as a cry from the heart for 
recognition of the horror of nuclear war.' 
BIRMINGHAM EVENING MAIL

'...a fine work laid out with the orchestral clarity that is a salient feature of the composer's individual style.......this symphony progresses with dignity from despair to a final ray of hope expressed by Downes with an immediacy of communication that lies at the heart of all musical inspiration.' 
BIRMINGHAM POST


'Symphonies by Andrew Downes, released by Czech label Artesmon, is destined to be one of the most important orchestral recordings of 2016.  They are played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ondrej Vrabec, who deliver one of their greatest recorded performances since the days of Karel Ancerl, in sound of vast depth and power.' CZECH MUSIC DIRECT

'I've started to listen to the recordings, which are fabulous.'  Tony Palmer, film director and author

'Downes is clearly not at all afraid of the big statement – the First Symphony is inspired (if that is the right word) by the subject of nuclear war – and there is much here that has an immediate impact in terms of memorable thematic material, idiomatic orchestration and subtle use of harmony... the contrasts between the various sections of the scores are often arresting.
'Some of the orchestral players are heard remarking on how much they enjoyed playing the scores, and their enthusiasm is infectious; there is no sense here of bored instrumentalists going dutifully through the motions. There is also a startlingly interventionist producer, who seems to be acting as a persistent critic dedicated to the detection of the slightest error or pitch or rhythm.   

'...earnestly recommended to those listeners who are willing to make the acquaintance of an attractive composer who is prepared to meet them halfway. This is a thoroughly worthwhile release; and the presentation, with three discs in a gatefold sleeve including a substantial booklet of forty pages (English with Czech translation), is a model of what such things should be.'
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL


Review by Musical Opinion of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures

Review by MusicWeb International of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures



In 2016 the work was performed by the Central England Camerata under Anthony Bradbury as part of Andrew Downes' 65th Birthday Concert at Birmingham Cathedral. Read the Birmingham Post Review.



SYMPHONY No.2 Opus 30 (I984) 20'  
For Chamber Orchestra (2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings)

3 movements

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Symphony No. 2 - Chamber Orchestra
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Symphony No.2 was commissioned by the Sutton Coldfield Chamber Orchestra to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their foundation.

First performed by the orchestra, directed by Anthony Miller, on November l7th 1985 at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall.

Subsequent performances have been given by the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Miller, in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham, in 1988 (the recording of this performance was broadcast on Central Peking Radio 4 times in September and October 1990); the Sinfonia of St Paul's, conducted by Fa Fa Jin, in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham (March 1992); and the Leamington Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Mogrelia, in the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick (May 1992).  

The first German performance was given at the University of Bremen by the Orchestra of the University of Oldenburg, conducted by Rida Murtada, on January 26th 2002. This orchestra gave a second performance at the University of Oldenburg on January 31st 2002.  

The Central England Ensemble, founded and led by Anna Downes and conducted by Rachel Hyde, performed the work at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham in October 2001. Conducted by Anthony Bradbury, the Central England Ensemble performed the symphony at a Queen's Jubilee concert in Hagley, Worcestershire (June 2002), and twice in Paris, at the American Cathedral and American Church in February 2007. 

The Central England Camerata, a professional orchestra founded and led by Anna Downes and conducted by Anthony Bradbury, performed the symphony at the Hagley Music Festival in St John's Church, Hagley, in May 2017.

A recording of the Birmingham Conservatoire performance has been broadcast many times on Musicians Page Radio, Los Angeles, USA.

In March 2015 this symphony was recorded in the Dvorak Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic, by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Ondrej Vrabec, as part of a 2 CDs set of 4 symphonies and 2 overtures by Andrew Downes, all recorded in the spring of 2015 on the Artesmon label. The set of 2 CDs and one Documentary DVD were launched in the Suk Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, on 1st December 2015. The CDs were launched on iTunes on March 18th 2016 and voted CD of the Month of March 2016 by Czech Music Direct. The UK launch, organised by Czech Music Direct, took place on 17th April 2016 at the National Film Theatre, London, where excerpts were played and the Documentary DVD was shown, together with Paula Downes' films portraying Andrew Downes' Songs from Spoon River and also an excerpt from the DVD of Andrew Downes' opera, Far from the Madding Crowd.

On 24th March 2016 a movement from the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra recording of this symphony was broadcast on Czech Radio, during an interview with Ondrej Vrabec.

'The music is imaginatively laid out with interesting ideas developed most skilfully. Another virtue, that of developing these meaty musical ideas in concise fashion, gave this first hearing immediate communication.'
BIRMINGHAM POST

'Andrew Downes' Second Symphony speaks eloquently and directly...'
BIRMINGHAM POST

'The Symphony no.2 Op. 30 is a splendid work.  It is a very fine score noted for its clarity and textural integrity. Its quasi-classical design leads to an even greater enjoyment. It is a score with life and a contrast that is so well-judged that it does not sound episodic. The opening movement begins with a flute solo in a typical Downes' style, simple but telling. In fact, the themes of this movement are memorable. The rhythmic sections are invigorating and beautifully set out for the orchestra. The Vivace starts lightly with deceptively simple themes which make them all the more endearing; there are some clever contrasts and a welcome open-air feel about the music. The finale also has simple themes but they are never banal. The preoccupation with the interval of the fourth has an integral part to play and there is a simply stunning fanfare-like passage before the quiet close.'   Dr David Wright, MUSICWEB

'Symphonies by Andrew Downes, released by Czech label Artesmon, is destined to be one of the most important orchestral recordings of 2016.  They are played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ondrej Vrabec, who deliver one of their greatest recorded performances since the days of Karel Ancerl, in sound of vast depth and power.' CZECH MUSIC DIRECT

'I've started to listen to the recordings, which are fabulous.'  Tony Palmer, film director and author

'Some of the orchestral players are heard remarking on how much they enjoyed playing the scores, and their enthusiasm is infectious; there is no sense here of bored instrumentalists going dutifully through the motions. There is also a startlingly interventionist producer, who seems to be acting as a persistent critic dedicated to the detection of the slightest error or pitch or rhythm.   
'...earnestly recommended to those listeners who are willing to make the acquaintance of an attractive composer who is prepared to meet them halfway. This is a thoroughly worthwhile release; and the presentation, with three discs in a gatefold sleeve including a substantial booklet of forty pages (English with Czech translation), is a model of what such things should be.'
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL


Review by Musical Opinion of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures

Review by MusicWeb International of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures




SYMPHONY No.3 "SPIRITS OF THE EARTH" Opus 45 (1992) 30' 
For large symphony orchestra - 3 flutes, 2 oboes, 3 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contra bassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, tuned percussion (crotales, 2 glockenspiels, xylophone, 3 marimbas), percussion (a-go-go- bell, 3 cowbells, Chinese blocks, whip, wood block, suspended cymbal, cymbal, gong, tubular bells), drums (tom-toms; frame drums - tuned and unpitched; large bongos; side drum; bass drum; drum kit; about 6 unpitched drums; deep, hollow, pitchless drums) and strings.

The work has 5 movements.

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Listen to Movement 1 on youtube
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Programme Note

Purchase Downloadable Sheet Music:

Symphony No. 3 - Large Symphony Orchestra 
(some parts are sold with a license to allow the printing of multiple copies)
Score
Individual Parts 

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Score & Parts Bundle 

Symphony No.3 was first performed by the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Mogrelia on 1st April 1993, in a concert in aid of the NSPCC, in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham. The work is dedicated to the NSPCC.

In April and May 2015 this symphony was recorded in the Dvorak Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic, by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Ondrej Vrabec, as part of a 2 CDs set of 4 symphonies and 2 overtures by Andrew Downes, all recorded in the spring of 2015 on the Artesmon label. The set of 2 CDs and one Documentary DVD were launched in the Suk Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, on 1st December 2015. The CDs were launched on iTunes on March 18th 2016 and voted CD of the Month of March 2016 by Czech Music Direct. Movement 4 of this recording of the Symphony can be heard in the Czech Music Everything Radio Show, April 2016, as part of an interview with the composer.  The UK launch, organised by Czech Music Direct, took place on 17th April 2016 at the National Film Theatre, London, where excerpts were played and the Documentary DVD was shown, together with Paula Downes' films portraying Andrew Downes' Songs from Spoon River and also an excerpt from the DVD of Andrew Downes' opera, Far from the Madding Crowd.



'Two triumphant premieres in three days! After Thursday's success of his eloquent Third Symphony, Andrew Downes heard his deeply affecting St Luke Passion given on Saturday...
'Spirits of the Earth, his third Symphony, is probably the most demanding work Andrew Downes has yet written.
"It assumes virtuosity from its players, a finely honed sense of collective ensemble, and the capacity for various sections of the orchestra to play in several independent tempi.
'As the substantial five movement work moves towards its close these disparate elements come together in final reconciliation.
'The premiere it received last night from the Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra was nothing short of astonishing. Very few inaccuracies marred this virile, sensitive performance...'
THE BIRMINGHAM POST

'Symphonies by Andrew Downes, released by Czech label Artesmon, is destined to be one of the most important orchestral recordings of 2016.  They are played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ondrej Vrabec, who deliver one of their greatest recorded performances since the days of Karel Ancerl, in sound of vast depth and power.' CZECH MUSIC DIRECT 

'Some of the orchestral players are heard remarking on how much they enjoyed playing the scores, and their enthusiasm is infectious; there is no sense here of bored instrumentalists going dutifully through the motions. There is also a startlingly interventionist producer, who seems to be acting as a persistent critic dedicated to the detection of the slightest error or pitch or rhythm.   
'...earnestly recommended to those listeners who are willing to make the acquaintance of an attractive composer who is prepared to meet them halfway. This is a thoroughly worthwhile release; and the presentation, with three discs in a gatefold sleeve including a substantial booklet of forty pages (English with Czech translation), is a model of what such things should be.'
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Review by Musical Opinion of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures

Review by MusicWeb International of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures


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Wind Band

SYMPHONY No.4 - scored for Concert Wind Band Opus 59 (1996)
25' 

5 movements: City; Mountains; Sky City; Desert; Rio Grande

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Programme Note

Purchase Downloadable Sheet Music:

Symphony No. 4 - Concert Wind Band 
(some parts are sold with a license to allow the printing of multiple copies)
Score
Individual Parts 

Parts Bundle (not including the Clarinet in Eb part transposed to Bb)

Score & Parts Bundle 
(not including the Clarinet in Eb part transposed to Bb)

Symphony No.4 was commissioned by Janice Lee Sperling MD for the Albuquerque Concert Band.

The British premiere took place on 9th December 1997 in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham, with Guy Woolfenden conducting the Birmingham Conservatoire Wind Band. 

Subsequent performances have been given by the Yorkshire Wind Band (whole work) and the Bucks Symphonic Wind Ensemble (movement 2), both at the BASWE Festival at the Royal Northern College of Music, and by the RAF Central Band (whole work) at RAF Uxbridge.

In March 2015 this symphony was recorded in the Dvorak Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic, by the wind players of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Ondrej Vrabec, as part of a 2 CDs set of 4 symphonies and 2 overtures by Andrew Downes, all recorded in the spring of 2015 on the Artesmon label. The set of 2 CDs and one Documentary DVD were launched in the Suk Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, on 1st December 2015. The CDs were launched on iTunes on March 18th 2016 and voted CD of the Month of March 2016 by Czech Music Direct. Movement 3 of this recording of the Symphony can be heard in the Czech Music Everything Radio Show, April 2016, as part of an interview with the composer. The UK launch, organised by Czech Music Direct, took place on 17th April 2016 at the National Film Theatre, London, where excerpts were played and the Documentary DVD was shown, together with Paula Downes' films portraying Andrew Downes' Songs from Spoon River and also an excerpt from the DVD of Andrew Downes' opera, Far from the Madding Crowd.


'Andrew Downes' Symphony No.4 is on a larger scale, painting a comprehensive picture of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and its environs. Immediately appealing was the vivid opening depiction of the town itself, an expressive solo on cedarwood flute in the third movement and the buoyant energy of the closing Rio Grande, but the composition clearly demands further listening....'
THE BIRMINGHAM POST

'... one of the most rewarding works for symphonic wind ensemble of recent years.'
Kenneth Bell, PAN MAGAZINE

'Symphonies by Andrew Downes, released by Czech label Artesmon, is destined to be one of the most important orchestral recordings of 2016.  They are played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ondrej Vrabec, who deliver one of their greatest recorded performances since the days of Karel Ancerl, in sound of vast depth and power.' 
CZECH MUSIC DIRECT

'...the Fourth Symphony for wind band is much more cheerful and extrovert than the earlier essays in the genre, without at any time striving for the grand gestures to be found there.
'Some of the orchestral players are heard remarking on how much they enjoyed playing the scores, and their enthusiasm is infectious; there is no sense here of bored instrumentalists going dutifully through the motions. There is also a startlingly interventionist producer, who seems to be acting as a persistent critic dedicated to the detection of the slightest error or pitch or rhythm.   
'...earnestly recommended to those listeners who are willing to make the acquaintance of an attractive composer who is prepared to meet them halfway. This is a thoroughly worthwhile release; and the presentation, with three discs in a gatefold sleeve including a substantial booklet of forty pages (English with Czech translation), is a model of what such things should be.'
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Review by Musical Opinion of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures

Review by MusicWeb International of the Artesmon's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Recording of Downes' Symphonies and Overtures



SYMPHONY No.5 - scored for Flute Orchestra

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Brass Band

TOCCATA FOR BRASS BAND Opus 7 (1975) 12'

This Toccata was first performed by the Birmingham School of Music Brass Band, directed by Roy Curran, in the Upton-upon-Severn Heritage Festival on 12th July 1975.  In March 1976 Andrew Downes conducted the same Band in a performance of the work in the Recital Hall of the Birmingham School of Music.
The work was subsequently performed by the National Youth Brass Band, directed by Harold Gray, in Alexanders College, Felixstowe, and in the Gaumont Theatre, Ipswich, in April 1976.  The Besses o' th' Barn Brass Band, directed by Frank Bryce, performed the Toccata in Mansfield Civic Hall in December 1977.



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