Orion was named after the giant huntsman in Greek mythology and is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous and recognisable constellations in the night sky. This piece and its inspiration were composed as a tone poem creating a musical picture of this amazing phenomenon.
The opening introduces the constellation. Starting mysteriously with the percussion and basses this section develops a series of rhythmic and harmonic interludes from the upper brass. As this introduction develops, the melodic line lead by the Solo Cornet and Euphonium builds as the accompanying instruments increase in their rhythmic complexity. This section climaxes with a short fanfare motif which will be a prominent theme throughout this piece.
The fast rhythmic section that follows serves as a technical test for the players. The thematic device introduced by the Solo Cornets is passed around various soloists and sections within the ensemble. This part of the tone poem gives the opportunity for the ensemble to highlight their technical prowess. The fanfare motif returns to conclude this section and takes the piece into the slow middle movement.
Motifs heard earlier are mixed with new ideas in this slow section which give an opportunity for a variety of soloists to demonstrate their musical prowess. After the various solo passages and cadenzas, the mood shifts dramatically to a more ominous section that builds in texture and dynamic. Concluding with our returning fanfare motif the piece then builds in momentum towards our finale section.
This finale is a technical showcase which will further test the playing ability and stamina of soloists, small groups and the full ensemble. Using prominent musical themes heard throughout this piece the music builds to a glorious conclusion fitting with wonderful constellation.