...blue, indigo, violet


For: Brass Quintet - Hn, 2Tpt, Tbn, Tba
Duration: 15 minutes

Commissioned by the Cambrian Brass Quintet and West Midlands Arts Association

The title of this piece refers, on one hand, to the limited area of the tone colour spectrum that the brass quintet occupies and, on the other hand, jazz musicians having made this part of the spectrum peculiarly their own, to the sense of energy and spontaneity of jazz with which I have tried to imbue the piece.

The piece, although it plays continuously, is divided into three sections characterised by different texture and tempo. These three main sections are framed by four versions of a refrain which introduces the piece's basic material, a trombone melody, the ascent of a tritone (by step in the horn and as a glissando on the trombone) and both actual and written out accelerandos. The structural proportions, relative tempos, phrase lengths and rhythmic material are all based, some more rigorously than others, on the proportions 3:4:5.

...blue, indigo, violet was commissioned by the Cambrian Brass Quintet and West Midlands Arts Association. It was first performed at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham in 1992 and has subsequently been performed throughout this country and in Finland and Iceland. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Hear and Now programme on August 25th 1995 in a performance given by the Wallace Collection who also recorded it for release on the Guild Label (GMCD7379)


The jazz-inflected fanfares of Tim Ewers' ...blue, indigo, violet formed the concert's enlivening prelude.
Conrad Wilson - The Glasgow Herald