CONCERTO FOR BRASS BAND was conceived as a conscious departure from Lau’s previous two brass band works, Great North Overture and Impressions. With this piece, Lau wanted to pursue somewhat more adventurous (and perhaps edgier) horizons, both in terms of what the brass band was capable of as well as what his musical imagination had to offer.
The first movement, “Haven,” opens serenely; a lone cornet solo glides above a landscape of lush, chromatically decadent harmonies. But this externally placid environment is soon disrupted by inner demons, and the music takes on an anxious, harried quality. The climax of the second movement, “C – A – G – E,” offers a glimpse of hope, with a key change that naturalizes the notes in the title, suggesting the emergence of a new tone . But at the last moment, the music reverts back to its original form and plunges bleakly back into darkness. This work is a miniature brass symphony in two movements (slow, fast) which explores the various characters of the ensemble in depth. Each family of instruments has a chance to shine, lyrically and virtuosically: hence the ‘concerto’ aspect of the title.