Four Sketches

Composer: Anthony Plog (b. 1947)
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Composer: Anthony Plog (b. 1947)

Performance date: 30/06/2018

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1990

Duration: 00:12:00

Recording Engineer: Ciaran Cullen, RTÉ

Instrumentation Category:Brass Quartet

Instrumentation Other: tpt, tpt, frhn, tbn

Artists: London Chamber Brass Seb Philpott [trumpet], Cai Isfryn [trumpet], Oli Hickie [French horn], Barnaby Philpott [trombone]) - [brass ensemble]

Anthony Plog [born 1947]

Four Sketches [1990]            

1. Allegro

2. Allegro Vivace

3. Andante

4. Allegro

I have never had a composition lesson in my life, writes Anthony Plog on his website. I don’t say this with pride, but rather just as a matter of fact. When I was in college all I wanted to be was a trumpet player. [In] 1989… I was in Berlin to play several Christmas Oratorios … and on my one free evening I went across the street to the Deutsche Oper to see if I could get a last minute ticket for a production of Prokofieff’s ballet Romeo and Juliet. [That] night was an epiphany for me – from that night forward I knew that I would eventually quit playing and become a “real” composer. The greatness of Prokofieff touched me so much that I adopted the idea that even if I failed as a composer I could still say that I was in the same profession as Prokofieff.

Four Sketches was originally composed in 1988, before it metamorphosed into the revised version performed today. It demonstrates the expansive timbral spectrum available to the brass quintet through the use of many types of articulation and the use of mutes.

The first, second and final movement are energetic and characterized by driving rhythms and stabbing interjections from which chromatic melodies can arise. An increasingly frenetic ostinato is passed between all five instruments, requiring a great deal of skill for the ensemble to sound cohesive. The lyrical third movement provides some respite, during which a tapestry of contrapuntal melodies are woven together before becoming a nightmarish passacaglia.

Seb Philpott