Judith Bailey: Platinum Wood Op. 71
For String Orchestra
Composer's note: I was delighted when the Northwood String Orchestra of Southampton commissioned me to compose a piece for their 75th anniversary in the year 2001. Thinking of a 70th anniversary being "platinum" and a 5th anniversary as "wood", the title arose naturally as a combination of the two words. A celebratory "fanfare" phrase is first played by the full orchestra, leading directly into the first movement and serving as a link between each of the three movements, each highlighting a certain section. The first movement has a theme arising from the 'cellos which is almost like an improvisation and which reappears at the end of the movement following a quicker middle section where the same tune appears in disguise. The "fanfare" is now heard in a different character suggesting the Sarabande which forms the second movement and which especially features the viola section. The central part is a sort of round where the double-bass initiates a simple phrase, only to change key deliberately overlapping the last voice on three occasions, before returning to the violas' original Sarabande.
The "fanfare" is now played in a slow 6/8, the tempo of which is increased with the start of the third movement where attention is given to the violins. A lyrical middle section provides a contrast before returning to a cheery finale.