Fourth alarm : overture for orchestra
by Natalie Williams (2002)
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Fourth Alarm is a concert overture for large orchestra. The music in this piece synthesizes two elements; a short military tune and my response and depiction of the musical idea of a Fourth Alarm. Parts of the melodic material in Fourth Alarm were drawn from military music and specifically, from a set of Alarm Signals for trumpet (or bugle) which signal a response to alarm or a call to arms. From a small source book entitled; Trumpet & Bugle Calls for the Australian Army (1916) by Captain WG Bently ARCM, I took a short six bar Alarm field call for mounted troops & infantry. The same short tune serves also as a fire alarm and a routine call for cavalry. Consisting of a repeated dotted rhythmic figure in major and minor thirds, this motive can be frequently heard in the brass, particularly trumpets, throughout Fourth Alarm. Although most modern emergency services do not utilise this repertoire of alarm signals, I have used the theme as a reference to the origins of the Fourth Alarm as an incident response procedure.
Instrumentation: 3 flutes (1st doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, cor anglais, 3 clarinets in B flat (3rd doubling bass clarinet in B flat), 2 bassoons, contra-bassoon, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in B flat, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (4 players), harp, strings.
Duration: 10 min.
- In the form/style of: Overtures
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