The Cortège

Graffitti

The image of the wall, in front of which the procession passes, has been important in The Cortège. The wall represents History, built up in layers, constantly eroded, repaired, added to, bearing the scars of old posters , like so many walls in ltaly. The wall is a metaphor for the musical texture of The Cortège, the orchestration from top to bottom, with all its inner workings, against which the solos are scrawled, the spontaneous statements of the moment.

“Graffitti” draws together some of the main musical threads of The Cortège. lt is basically a 28 bar chord sequence, in which nine chords are used. The roots of the chords are drawn, logically, from the original note pattern - the sequence has appeared previously as part of "Piano". The roots are:

chords

The chords are produced by putting major chord shapes over these roots:

chords

After an introduction in which Steve Cook and Dave Barry, on bass guitar and drums, do some "graffitti" of their own,  the chord sequence is established in a theme played by the reed section — 28 bars, plus a seven-bar tag, a bebop-like line taken from the nine note series. These themes were written out for the very first rehearsal, by a six piece band, of some of the earliest musical ideas for the composition.

There are two extended solos on the 28 bar chord sequence, first by Malcolm Griffrths on trombone, then Chris Biscoe on baritone saxophone, with ‘big band’ backing and a bravura finale by the whole Orchestra.

The Cortège is intended as Part One of a Trilogy. In 1980 in Santarcangelo, in the same castle keep, we were able to devise an event for a group of people including the Brass Band, Italian trombonist Danilo Terenzi, Piccolo Teatro di Pontedera, and Cardiff Theatre Laboratory. The result was a small scale ceremony, incorporating some elements from  The Cortege, with verbal, musical, and theatrical statements from the individual artists present. I called this event Bridge No.1 - the first version of the second part of the trilogy. 


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