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Alas! How Swift

for trumpet and orchestra

Year:  2006

Year:  2006

Composer:   Lyell Cresswell


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The inscription on the north face of a sundial in the garden of Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, reads 'I number none but sunny hours'. On the south side it says, 'So passes life. Alas! How swift'.

The music of Alas! How Swift is fast, with a constant speed of 138 beats per minute. Around this constant, underlying tempo, however the speed sometimes quickens and sometimes slows. Even the moments of relaxation are underpinned and, perhaps, ruffled by persistent movement. The impetus for the music comes from fast repeated notes on the solo trumpet. The energy engulfs the whole orchestra.

Notes taken from Cresswell: The Voice Inside, NAXOS 8.570824

Commissioned note

Commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Performance history

12 May 2007: Performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Michael Kirgan (trumpet), conducted by Jaap van Zweden

12 May 2007: NZSO: Cresswell

19 May 2007: NZSO: Cresswell

Performed by Michael Kirgan (trumpet) and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with conductor James Judd, recorded at the Wellington Town Hall in Wellington on 16th and 17th in August, 2007

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