Introduction and Allegro on a Theme by Bruckner

downloadable introduction and allegro sample page

Instrumentation: Orchestra (picc.2.2.2 – – timp.perc./susp.cym – harp – strings.)

Duration: c. 8mins

Completed: 2021


Composed originally for the RNCM Brand New Orchestra, this piece is what it says on the tin with regards to the title. It is a work in 2 continuous parts: a slow introduction which gradually builds and introduces the theme in fragmented forms before it is revealed in its entirety just before the Allegro begins. The theme itself would likely not have been considered a theme by its composer. It is a chord progression taken from the end of the first movement of Bruckner’s 9th symphony which builds to its epic conclusion. I treat it very differently but in typically brassy, Brucknerian fashion. The Allegro is a fast, 6/8 and fugal scherzo. The movement is largely imitative, fast versions of the top line of the progression, often appearing both inverted and in retrograde simultaneously (also a part of Bruckner’s own toolbox). The chorale itself is then presented over the top of that activity by the brass in increasingly developed forms, merging with a different paraphrase of it from the introduction. The Allegro constantly builds until one of the paraphrased chorales explodes and sends the whole things back on itself in retrograde before dying away to a quiet, rocking ostinato over which quiet and sequential entries of the chorale gradually modulate upwards via a cycle of 4ths. The fast fugal material from before begins to return as the piece enters its coda.

Study score. Performance materials available on request.