Young’s Brass Quintet No. 1 was composed in 1980 to a commission from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Brass Quintet. It was first performed (with Young himself playing tuba) in Wanganui and Wellington as part of the first half of an NZSO programme which included Stravinsky’s Petrouchka. The following year the work was recorded by the Quintet for the Kiwi Pacific label, along with John Ritchie’s Partita and Douglas Lilburn’s Quartet for Brass.
In writing this Quintet, Young wanted to composed a more substantial work than was common in the brass quintet repertoire of the time; consequently, it has an almost symphonic breadth.