Triptych - French horn and Low Brass Concert Piece

Concert Work

Main Instruments used:
French Horn (4), Trombone Choir (6 Tenor, 3 Bass), Euphonium, Tuba, Piano, Electric Bass, Drum

Creative Vision for the Track:
Written as a combined work for French horn choir and low brass choir. As with a visual triptych the piece is in three sections. The opening fanfare, a middle reflective panel, and an aggressive, driving third and final section.

Composition Details (Tempo, Key, Main Chords etc):

  • Frequent tempo, key, and time signature changes throughout.
  • Piano is often used as a transitory color between the panels (often through ostinatos) as well as the feature instrument in the middle section.
  • The melody at one point is given to a euphonium and tuba line scored in octaves. This allows for a change in texture and added interest.
  • The third section is written in a 3/8-2/4-3/8-3/4 time signature pattern. I originally notated it as 5/8-7/8 but changed it since the ensemble was having difficulty counting the shifting rhythms.

The piece was rewritten several times. Originally for low brass alone I was asked to rescore it for a visiting French horn choir to perform it with us. I did that then the French horn club backed out. I liked some of the changes I made to accommodate the horns so I went back to low brass only. Then the French horn club was back on. This time with fewer members. This is the final reduced headcount version.

Ernest Hemingway said “Writers aren’t paid to write. They’re paid to rewrite.” As a member and associate conductor of the trombone ensemble I never got paid anyway. Thanks for the thought, though, Ernie!!! :wink:

Triptych – Stan Bann


Good piece Stan.
Great composition, beautifull harmonies.
My feedback: I think the mix and the “digital performance” is not as good as the composition deserves. For instance, the percussion sometimes is too quiet. The brass at the final part need a faster attack for not to be late with the drums pace. Well, a few little issues that would help the song to sound huge.

Thanks, Vincente!

I agree wholeheartedly with you about the quality and shortcomings of this mix. It’s original purpose was to give the ensemble an aural reference to follow as they learned their parts. Secondly having a concept of the work and how it flowed streamlined a short rehearsal process.

That year we had somewhere between 35-40 trombones, tubas, and euphoniums of widely varying proficiency in the ensemble. This added a French horn ensemble to that plus acoustic piano, electric bass, and drums. Coordination was a major issue!

The other thing is the reason why I’m here. While I’m always interested in expanding my compositional knowledge (“The only difference between a groove and a grave are the dimensions!”) I’m waaaay behind the curve on DAWs and engineering. I’ve lived in the acoustic world most of my 63 years. Mike’s approach to this digital world resonates with my own views and I hope to improve the engineering side of my skillset.

Glad you liked the piece! Thanks again for your comments!

Take care!



Beautiful work Stan!
As someone who loves to use vst brass in my own compositions, I must say it’s great to hear a composition like this made by someone who really knows these instruments… Taking notes now :slight_smile:

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Super!! Take them freely and re-read them when you have trouble falling asleep!!! Keep in mind that the definition of a college professor (which I have been) is a person who talks in other peoples’ sleep!

Seriously, I appreciate your kind words and enjoy my music!


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