Commissioned by Dr. Philip Howie for the University of Cambridge Concert Band, Cambridge, UK.
Bringing together and celebrating both the storied past and bright future of music at Cambridge, this piece was commissioned to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the University of Cambridge Concert Band.
In researching the University for this piece, I found that Cambridge was the world’s first institution to confer a degree in music. A certain Henry Abyngdon received a Bachelor of Music in 1463, going on to serve as a well-respected church musician and composer for the rest of his life.
I was intending to use the work of Abyngdon as the basis for this piece, but I discovered that none of his music survives. Thus, I chose a work in the sacred idiom by Robert Fayrfax (Magnificat ‘Regale’), likely contemporaneous in style to the work Abyngdon would have written.
“Cambridge blue” is the official university color. I used that to imply the blues scale, which forms the pitch basis of this piece. The scale, however, is not generally used in its traditional sense but is instead explored from different angles, varying the order and harmonic presentation of the tones to create a distinctive, fresh sound that is, at its foundation, based in tradition.