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09' 00"
pc2233cb; 2331; timp.; 3 perc (triangle, tomtoms, bass drum, suspended cymbal, xylophone, tam tam, log drum); strs
Agitato (Maleme and Ruweisat Bridge); Adagio (Colditz); Espressivo (Landsdowne); Con Brio (Celebration of peace)


application/force-download,195k Score (195k) pages 1 - 4© Anthony Ritchie
audio/mpeg,705k Recording (705k) 0'00"-1'00"© Atoll Records
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External Media on Demand

Performed by Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya on 7 June 1998
NZSO c. Andrew Sewell, 1996.

Programme Note

In 1995 I was approached by the NZSO to write an overture to commemorate the recent death of New Zealand’s most famous war hero, Sir Charles Upham. Upham was famous for having won the Victoria Cross twice for bravery during World War II. He was, however, extremely modest when it came to discussing his achievements. Some years before his death it was suggested to Upham that he have a state funeral; he simply replied, “A bugle will do”. This comment seemed like a good starting point for my piece.

There are no bugles in the orchestra, but the opening section depicting the horrors of battle contains plenty of brass. Sub-titled Maleme and Ruweisat Ridge, the music is fast and furious, built from several motifs, and includes the opening rhythm for the most well known Maori haka (war dance), Kamate, kamate. The music builds to a climax, and the scene changes to a bleak Colditz Castle, where Upham was imprisoned during the war. While in prison he dreams of rural NZ, and the farm near Kaikoura called ‘Landsdowne’, where he eventually settled after the war. This brief pastoral section links into a coda celebrating the outbreak of peace. Motifs from earlier in the piece return but changed into brighter modes. ’

A Bugle Will Do was first performed by the NZSO in 1996 under Andrew Sewell, and was subsequently performed in the USA.

Commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II and for performance at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Auckland in November 1995, and for other occasions.

Performance History

World Premiere for P: A Bugle will Do; NZSO 160596 16 May 1996 Performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, cond. Andrew Sewell
Andrew Sewell    New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
07 Jun 1998 Performed by Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya


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