The Plantagenets, Edward Gregson (Classic Brass, Black Dyke Mills Band)
This edition of Track of the Week is heading back to a distant age - namely, the 1970s. For then it was that, in the year 1973 AD, the contestants at the UK Regional Championships had a newly-composed work to grapple with, written by a bright young talent called Edward Gregson.
The Plantagenets, as the composer states, ‘attempts to portray the mood and feelings of an age’ - specifically, that of the 12th to 14th centuries. However, rather than trying to shepherd the listener around a series of highly prescriptive mood settings, Gregson merely lays the thematic groundwork (via an initial fanfare-like section and a subsequent lyrical passage) and leaves the audience’s imagination to fill in the blanks. For me, despite the programme note’s reference to Holst and Rachmaninov, these particularly relate to Walton’s music for Richard III, particularly in the version performed by Peter Sellers.
I also like to remember that at least one of the actual Plantagenets dabbled in composition himself - Richard I, who wrote the mournful ditty ‘Ja nus hons pris’ (‘No man who is in prison’) while enduring his own thirteen-month personal lockdown in Germany. Then as now, it seems, captivity can lead to creativity, despite the sad lack of distance banding projects back in 1193.