The idea of arranging this piece for large brass ensemble was a result of my intention to present Steven Mead’s lyrical qualities and the huge potential of his rich and colorful sound to a Croatian audience when he was a guest soloist in Zagreb. While we spoke about the program for the concert, I mentioned Ravel’s Pavane as a nice addition to my Concerto and the other Pavane (one by Faure, for solo euphonium and harp), and Steven supported the idea instantly, as it turned out that this piece was his favorite in his early euphonium soloist days. As he soon became a world famous virtuoso, where listeners constantly asked for higher and faster bravuras, I gladly used my chance to present the forgotten poetic and warm side of the euphonium. I avoided the fashionable stereotypes of many of today’s composers–making an artist break his fingers or lips by choosing extra fast pieces originally for violin or flute and arranging it for tuba.
The inspiring challenge was to create the atmosphere present in Ravel’s own orchestration of this piece, where no instrument plays a typical solo role. It wasn’t easy to achieve so many colors without strings and woodwinds. Yet, here we have the euphonium as a lead voice while it is also well incorporated into vertical blocks with french horns, trombones, and trumpets. Full symphony sized brass sections fuction here mainly to provide harmonic body, with the great percussive and melodic help of marimba and vibraphone. The result is an arrangement that is demanding in a sense of creating the right flow (not too slow – as Ravel hated it this way). Pavane is, after all, a dance.
A recording of this arrangment can be found on Bocchino’s CD release “Croatian Euphonic Brass,” together with a recording of another publication by Potenza, an arrangement of the Pavane by G. Faure, presented on this CD in the best possible way–by Steven Mead, who inspired me to try to give these masterpieces new shape.
Solo parts included: Euphonium TC and BC, Trumpet in C 1, Trumpet in C 2, Trumpet in C 3, Horn in F 1, Horn in F 2, Horn in F 3, Horn in F 4, Trombone 1, Trombone 2, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Vibraphone, Marimba