Murray Greig,Arthur Butterworth is well known to many in brass band circles as an eminent composer as well as being former Musical Director of the National Youth Brass Band (NYBB) of Great Britain. His Concerto for Trumpet - "alla Veneziana" was commissioned by the NYBB in commemoration of its 40th Anniversary in 1992. The work was originally written for solo trumpet and Brass Band and was first performed by Maurice Murphy and the NYBB conducted by Frank Renton.
The composer was keen to make the work accessible to other ensembles and rescored the work for Solo Trumpet and Orchestra and after a chance reunion with Murray Greig, the premiere of this new version was planned. Murray was a member of the NYBB under Butterworth’s guidance between 1978 and 1982.
As the title suggests, the work owes much to the splendour, history and architecture of the great Italian city of Venice.
The composer writes " … On constantly lapping waters, insidiously encroached by the sea, precariously floats the city: dreaming of its ancient past … of Byzantium and the Orient, baroque splendour, magnificent pageantry, State ceremonies of awe inspiring regal majesty: of perpetual carnival … Yet sinister too: mysterious dark corners of churches haunted by feint echoing voices from the past: of lurking spies, informers, the State Inquisition, plagues, pestilence, violence and secret passions… a solitary funeral gondola … Death in Venice …"
The premiere of this new version took place at Huddersfield Town Hall on Thursday 29th April 2004 as part of the Kirklees Concert Series and was included in a concert given by The Orchestra of Opera North conducted by Martyn Brabbins. The concert of English music had a strong “Huddersfield Connection” in that Butterworth was for many years lecturer of Music at the Huddersfield Polytechnic as well as being Musical Director of the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra. Also Murray now lives in Huddersfield! The Concerto was preceded by Malcolm Arnold’s Tam O’Shanter and followed in the second half by Elgar’s tremendous Second Symphony.