Brookes, Phillip


Brookes, Phillip

Symphony in B-flat, Op. 10


Brookes, Phillip – Symphony in B-flat, Op. 10

(b. Allbrook, Hampshire, 10 December 1952,)

Symphony in B-flat, op. 10
I. Adagio: Allegro ma non troppo p.3
II. Lento misterioso: Adagio solenne : Adagietto p.33
III. Allegro scherzando : Meno mosso e sost. p.47
IV. Lento e rubato : Allegro p.62

Phillip Brookes wrote this symphony between July 1975 and September 1976. He scored it initially for British-style brass band, but also produced the orchestral version that is published here. Considered as a work for brass band alone it is a substantial piece, lasting about 30 minutes, but in its orchestral format is a fairly light-hearted homage to various early-20th century styles. It is dedicated to four musical friends who helped the composer during his formative years, giving him the encouragement to continue exploring his own creativity. They are represented by the initials “C. D. H. S.” though it would be wrong to suppose that any single movement, part of a movement, or even a theme represents any particular individual.
What each movement does represent is Brookes’s awakening to the handling of diverse material within a large scale. Given that he qualified in law rather than music, the Symphony can be regarded as an exercise in self-tuition. There is no doubt that it contains much barely digested Sibelius, Elgar, Prokofiev and Vaughan Williams; but it does allow a glimpse into a process of discovery that carries one idea into the next, creating organic structures. It is a complex work with much motivic connexion within and between movements. For instance, the opening bassoon motif provides an upward figure that appears throughout the work, and a downward arpeggio that gives structure both to the opening and closing movements as well as appearing regularly in the two inner movements. The fanfare-like figure that closes the first movement opens the second, while the seemingly insignificant second subject of the scherzo becomes the motto theme of the last, where a grand peroration combines the theme with several from the opening movement.

The Symphony was first performed in its entirety by Invicta Brass (part of the Oxford University Brass Society) at a concert of the Oxford University Musical Society in Merton College Chapel on 22 October 1989. The concert – which also included major works by Peter Dickinson and Edward Gregson – was conducted by Jeremy Cooper.

Phillip Brookes, 2019

For performance material please contact Musikproduktion Höflich (, Munich.


Full preface English and German PDF > HERE

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