Wind Band Composer Snapshot: Adam Gorb (1958-Present) British Composer/Teacher
|Gorb at the Royal Northern College of music|
- Born in Cardiff, Wales.
- Began composing at age 10 for piano and was featured on BBC radio (the piece was Pianist's Alphabet)
- Studied at Cambridge University (BA 1980) and the Royal Academy of Music(MM 1993)
- Has won many awards including the Walter Beeler Memorial Prize.
- Has held teaching posts at the London College of Music(1994-2000) and Royal Northern College of Music(2000-Present) in Manchester.
- This has put in him in close contact with wind band conductor, Timothy Reynish.
- He has also worked for many drama schools and in music theater.
- Written works for orchestra, choral, vocal, brass band, winds, and chamber music.
- He has a great website, http://www.adamgorb.co.uk
Major Works for Winds:
Metropolis (1993) 14Min Gr VI
- Premiered by the Royal Academy of Music Wind Ensemble,Edward Gregson, Conductor on March 8th 1993 at the Royal Academy of Music.
- Won the 1994 Walter Beeler memorial prize
- dedicated to Paul Patterson , a professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music
- Inspired by a radio play which was set in the near future and where the entire population of the country lived in their vehicles, driving forever round a circular motorway day and night, stopping only for food and petrol. The piece tries to capture a mood of extreme tension together with the desperate exhilaration that the play conveyed to me.
- A continuous work written in 4 sections.
Scenes from Bruegel(1994) 16Min Gr V
- Instrumentation: fl(pic), ob, E flat Cl, 2 cl(Bcl.) 2 horn, 2 tpt, 3 tbn, 2 perc
-Commissioned by the National Youth Wind Orchestra.
- Premiered by the National Youth Wind Orchestra David Campbell, Conductor on April 5th 1994 in Cheltenham.
In 4 short mvts: I. Children's Games - Vivace Leggiero, II. Two Monkeys – Lento, III. The Peasant Dance - Presto con Fuoco, and IV. The Wedding Banquet - Moderato Pesante - Allegro Molto
- Based on four paintings Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel, who Gorb says, “has a strong element of satire in his paintings; what comes across most strongly is Bruegel's pinpointing of human folly and hypocrisy.”
*Awayday(1996 rev. 1999) 6Min Gr VI
- Commissioned by the Royal Northern College of Music
- Premiered by the Royal Northern College Wind Ensemble, Timothy Reynish, Conducting on
November 17th 1996 in Manchester.
- Inspired by the great days of the American Musical Comedy and the feeling of “getting away from it all”.
- Gorb’s Notes State: “Musically the piece is a homage to the great days of the Broadway musical with its irresistable brashness and irrepressible high spirits. If you can envisage George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky and James Bond travelling together at a hundred miles per hour in an open-top sports car, I think you'll get the idea.”
Yiddish Dances(1998) 16Min Gr V
- Commissioned by Timothy Reynish and written for his 60th birthday.
- Premiered by the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Ensemble Timothy Reynish, Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music on March 9th 1998.
- In 6 mvts: I. Khosidl, II. Terkishe, III. Doina, IV. Hora, V. Freylachs, and VI. Le Chaim!
- All are based on Klezmer dances and represent a party atmosphere.
Symphony No. 1 in C(2000) 16 min
- Instrumentation: 2 fl(2pic), 2 ob, 2 Cl, 2 Bsn, 4 Horn, Double Bass
- Commissioned by Tom Hill for a private 40th birthday party
- Premiered by the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Ensemble Clark Rundell, Conducting on June 28th 2000.
- Written in 4 mvts: I. Allegro molto, II. Andante cantabile (con moto), III. Allegro molto e vivace, IV. Allegro molto e vivace
- Taken on with a light-heartedness even though it was his first symphony and some composers find that scale of composition daunting.
- The structural and thematic model of the piece is that of Symphony no. 1 in C by Beethoven.
- Towards the end of the fourth and final movement of this fifteen-minute work there are quotations from other famous symphonies in C.
Downtown Diversions(2001) 18Min GrV
- Commissioned by a consortium of university bands in the USA
- Premiered at the CBDNA Conference at the University of North Texas by the Texas Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble John Cody Birdwell, Conducting and Don Lucas playing solo trombone on February 24th 2001
- In 3 Mvts: I. Fast, II. Slow, III. Fast.
- Has the character of a serenade or divertimento but with Jazz and Latin influences. It also avoids characteristic trombone sounds such as the glissando.
Towards Nirvana(2002) 21min VII
- Commissioned by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra
- Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, Douglas Bostock Conducting in Tokyo, Japan on October 18th 2002
- Winner of British Composer Award, Wind and Brass Category, 2004
- Based on teachings and life of Buddha. Nirvana is the highest possible state of tranquility and the realization of no-self and freedom from cravings and attachment.
*French Dances Revisited(2004) 15Min
- Instrumentation: 2 fl(2 Pic.) 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bsn, 2 horn
- Commissioned by a Consortium of USA High Schools
- Premiered in Minneapolis USA in November 2004
- conceived during an exercise for Gorb’s students, which was to write a variation on the Bach keyboard prelude in C BVW 939 for double wind quintet.
- In 6 mvts following the model of the Baroque French suite: Overture, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gavotte, and Gigue.
Side Note: I got to hear the WSU Chamber Players learn this piece during grad school. It's great, but trickier than it sounds!
Adrenaline City(2006) 7Min.
- Commissioned by a consortium of USA Military Ensembles. Steve Grimo, Coordinator
- Premiered by the US Military Academy Band Tim Holtan, Conducting at the Clarinet Summit, New York, USA on March 3rd 2006
- Winner of British Composer Award: Wind and Brass Band Category 2008
- inspired by both the stress and vibrancy of twenty-first century city life.
- It features a sonata form in 10/8 time.
- Commissioned by the National Youth Wind Ensemble of Wales
- Premiered by the National Youth Wind Ensemble of Wales Timothy Reynish Conducting at the Monmouth School for Girls, Wales.
- Winner of British Composer Award, Wind and Brass Category 2009
- splits the wind ensemble into two separate ‘orchestras.’ The first consists of clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, tubas and harsh sounding percussion; and the music is predominantly desperate and anguished. The second consists of flutes, oboes, bass clarinet, bassoons, horns and more gentle percussion, and the mood is more calming and introspective.
- The title refers to Haydn’s Farewell Symphony, but instead of all the players walking off leaving two instrumentalists to finish, here a solo oboe and clarinet step forward and quietly lament while the rest of the band quietly intone an eternal modus in diabilis.??