This work by Fendall Hill was the set test for the 2021 National Brass Band Championships of New Zealand, B Grade.
The composer writes: ‘J.S. Bach (1685-1750) is deemed by many to be the ‘Ulimate Composer’. He added an incredible proportion to the DNA of western music, and his influence is heard in the music of today. Like many artists, he was not overly recognised as a composer during his lifetime, and it took an 1829 performance of the St Matthew Passion by Mendelssohn to ignite a recognition of his place in the music world, a place he has maintained ever since.
This piece starts with a similar spark of rediscovery of the music of Bach. It contains arrangements of various works, interspersed with composition based on Bach’s chord structures, sections in the style of Bach, and original sections inspired by the moods created along the way.
The first section explores the Toccata, and great organ works. This leads into an exploration of his choral works, and a finale based on the Preludes. The word ‘Tempered’ has different meanings, and all seem to apply to the music of Bach, and these appeal to the musical, engineering and spiritual aspects of my personal life.
His music reaches to the humanity and divinity, it has strength, structure and order that creates frameworks in which incredible complexity reigns; and the complexity leads to a wildness, a kind of craziness that represents a range of human moods, and can change without warning. The same piece of music affects people in very different ways.
I don’t know if it’s Bach’s music, or us, but it can seem out of control and under control at the same time – the combination is highly temperamental.