Alba Brass | Fair Peched

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Fair Peched

by Alba Brass

'Fair Peched', meaning to be out of breath in Scots slang, is Alba Brass' manifesto for brass chamber music in the twenty-first century.
Genre: Classical: Brass quintet
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Souch: I. Gallus
Alba Brass
6:46 $0.99
2. Souch: II. Fair Peched
Alba Brass
6:05 $0.99
3. Souch: III. Bonnie and Radge
Alba Brass
5:03 $0.99
4. Shorthand of Emotion
Alba Brass
14:39 $0.99
5. Unplanfares: I. Glass and Stone
Alba Brass, John Somerville, Ali Hutton, Innes Watson & Steve Forman
3:33 $0.99
6. Unplanfares: II. Cobbles and Tarmac
Alba Brass, John Somerville, Ali Hutton, Innes Watson & Steve Forman
3:43 $0.99
7. Unplanfares: III. Whisky and Rain
Alba Brass, John Somerville, Ali Hutton, Innes Watson & Steve Forman
2:39 $0.99
8. Unplanfares: IV. Carillons
Alba Brass, John Somerville, Ali Hutton, Innes Watson & Steve Forman
4:20 $0.99
9. Unplanfares: V. Leave to Remain
Alba Brass, John Somerville, Ali Hutton, Innes Watson & Steve Forman
2:30 $0.99
10. Auriga
Alba Brass
12:49 $0.99
11. Paolozzi's Windows
Alba Brass & John Cameron
10:19 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Alba Brass – 'Fair Peched'

Engineered and produced by Bob Whitney at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Recorded February to April 2017 with funds provided by Creative Scotland.
Commissioned music funded by Creative Scotland, PRS for Music and the Hope Scott Trust.

All brass players seeking to play chamber music in the twenty-first century had to create their own repertoire, or perform the repertoire of another ensemble. In 2010 the commissioning process for 'Fair Peched' begun: the vision was to steadily build a repertoire which when recorded expressed something of a manifesto for brass chamber music in the twenty-first century. For this to be possible it was necessary to accept that the project would be for some time an open-ended search: not all of the new music performed by Alba Brass since 2010 has been recorded on this album, we have selected the pieces that we kept returning to, the pieces that our audiences over the years have been most intrigued by.

Martin Green – Souch (2012)

-Movement one: Gallus
-Movement two: Fair Peched
-Movement three: Bonnie and Radge


n. The sound of the wind, a light breeze, the rushing, roaring or murmuring of water, a whizzing blow. A deep sigh or gasp, heavy breathing, panting. A song, strain, tune, melody. Gossip, rumour, report, scandal. A hubbub, uproar, fuss, to-do. 
v. Of the wind: to make a rushing, moaning, murmuring sound. To blow or drive like the wind, to speed on one's way. Of leaves or water etc. moved by the wind: to rustle, whisper, ripple, gurgle, lap, make a slapping sound. To breathe heavily, sigh, puff, pant, wheeze, splutter, choke, bubble, gurgle. To sing softly, to hum, to whistle. 

Programme note by Martin Green

All three movements of Souch are named after Scots words. I moved to Scotland in 2005 and one of the many things I love is a number of new words I have learnt, many of which have no direct English translation. I am a traditional musician by upbringing and it is very much through the ear, rather than the written page that I approach all music making. Alba Brass allowed me access to enough rehearsal time to try various sketches before I before I began to score the piece for real. These experiments involved extended techniques, and some guided improvisations. I recorded all of these sessions and from the experiments that were deemed successful, I had a pallet of ideas to start scoring in a more conventional sense. I must mention at this point Jane Gardner, who has done a huge amount of work assisting getting these ideas from concept to page, both through transcription, and invaluable suggestions on orchestration. This had felt like a collaborative journey and having access to players to experiment has made this extremely educational for me as a composer.

Ryan Quigley – Shorthand of Emotion (2012)

Ryan Quigley is best known as a trumpeter and band leader. As a composer, his work reflects a deep sensitivity for brass and much skill in synthesising elements of jazz improvisation within notated music. Shorthand of Emotion is titled after Tolstoy’s remark that ‘music is the shorthand of emotion.’ Quigley writes that for him ‘this phrase perfectly sums up the power of music. Music elates, excites and pulls at the heart strings as no other art form can.’

Steve Forman – UnPlanFares (2010)
Five Etic Impressions of Glasgow for brass quintet and Glasgow ensemble

-Movement one: Glass and Stone
-Movement two: Cobbles and Tarmac
-Movement three: Whiskey and Rain
-Movement four: Carillons
-Movement five: Leave to Remain

Accordion: John Somerville, Border Pipes and Guitar: Ali Hutton, Fiddle and Guitar: Innes Watson, Bodhrán: Steve Forman

Programme note by Steve Forman

Unplanfares is my very personal take on Glasgow though expatriate eyes and ears, an amalgamation of melting fanfares, mixed metaphors, mystical insight and hopeless delusion – all of it unfurling in a variety of incongruous vernaculars awash in whisky and rain. Confused yet?  Good, you're perfectly prepared.

Eddie McGuire – Auriga (2004)
The Five Stars

Auriga was commissioned and premiered by Fine Arts Brass at the Carlisle International Summer Festival in 2004. The Scottish premiere was given by Alba Brass at the 2013 Cottiers Chamber Project.

Programme note by Eddie McGuire

While I have endeavoured to create a quintet enjoyable entirely through its musical discourse, the listener may be intrigued to know why the piece is impelled in certain directions by the title and its subject matter . The seed of the idea lay in the notion of ‘five stars’ and in discussion with Judith Peacock (a harpist with a predilection for astronomy). She drew my attention to ‘Auriga – the Charioteer’. Science writer Duncan Lunan then revealed to me the myths and characters of this constellation of stars. Its mythology was already ancient when mentioned by Eudoxus (4th century BC) symbolising the crippled son of Vulcan and Minerva and immortalising his invention of the chariot to achieve mobility. Older myths saw a picture of a goat carrier with two kids which commemorated the feeding of the infant Jupiter by the daughters of the King of Crete. All this inspired music that mixes striving, poignancy, tenderness, mystery and energy. Often each instrument represents a star of Auriga: with the first trumpet as Capella (Little Goat) a hot active binary that suddenly flares up: trumpet two as Menkalina (Arabic for Shoulder of Reinbolder) fainter and hence muted; the horn as El Nath (Heel of the Reinholder), trombone as Praja-Pati (force of creation in Hindu cosmology) with hints of Indian scales, and the tuba as Al Ma’az (the he-goat) periodically eclipsed by a mystery dark object and believed to be a giant star 120,000 times the luminosity of the sun.

Terry John’s – Paolozzi’s Windows (2010) Piano solo: John Cameron

Programme note by Terry Johns

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi was born in 1924 in Leith near Edinburgh and was interned at Saughton prison when Italy declared war on Britain in 1940. While he was a prisoner, his father, his grandfather and his uncle lost their lives when the Arandora Star, on its voyage to Canada was sunk by a German U boat in the Atlantic. The Paolozzi’s were a family of ice cream makers who owned a fish and chip shop in Leith, and who, much like the Italians in the Welsh valleys were totally accepted as members of strong and close communities. Many Italian families in Britain were left in peace, by and large by the local police at the declaration of war, and in many cases orders that had been issued to arrest people who were often family friends or even relatives by marriage were simply ignored. But Paolozzi and his family were unable to escape the consequences of the war which were particularly cruel for them However, Eduardo was greatly and appropriately honoured during his lifetime, having been Her Majesty's sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland from 1986 until his death in 2005. Here in Edinburgh the Millenium Window in St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral at Palmerston Place is truly a glittering example of his genius. It illuminates the south transept from the south wall. This piece was written specially to be performed at a midday concert in the light of the window.

About the performers:

Alba Brass are one of the most long-standing and active brass quintets in Scotland. Since their 2004 debut at the Aracena International Chamber Music Competition in Spain they have performed throughout Scotland and the United Kingdom, as well as undertaking several international tours. In addition to performing the standard brass quintet repertoire, Alba Brass have commissioned much new work that includes vocal, jazz and folk elements. Their concert programmes are often genre-bending, juxtaposing old and new, traditional and contemporary, as well as fun and serious. The group are frequently recorded for the BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’.

New Zealand-born trumpeter and conductor Bede Williams trained as an ABRSM International Scholar at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he graduated with the highest honours and all the major prizes. Making his concerto debut at the age of 17 with the Auckland Philharmonia, Bede has appeared as a soloist throughout New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He is a founder member of Alba Brass. He is currently Head of Instrumental Studies at the University of St Andrews. For more information visit

Since graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2009 with a Masters in Music, Vicky Williams has enjoyed a varied career as a freelance trumpet player with Scotland’s major orchestras whilst also developing her skills as a teacher and chamber musician. Vicky started working with the charity Sistema Scotland in 2010 and was part of the original team who developed the wind, brass and percussion programme before taking up her current position as Team Leader of Big Noise Raploch in 2014.

Jamie Shield studied the French horn at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, graduating with a first-class honours degree and postgraduate diploma with distinction. He won the prestigious Governors Recital Prize for Brass and was awarded both the Robert McCreath Memorial Prize and the Blair Memorial Prize for excellence in brass. Now a busy freelancer, Jamie works regularly with all of the major Scottish orchestras as well as others further afield including the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Manchester Camerata, Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Philharmonia Orchestra and the Malta Philharmonic. He has also enjoyed having the opportunity to perform alongside artists such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ben Folds, Texas and Burt Bacharach as well as a brief time touring with Disney’s The Lion King show.

Andrew McKreel trained at Hochschule fur Musik in Koln, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal Scottish Academy of Music, Glasgow. He was a member of HM Band of the Scots Guards 2000-03. He has also played with Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ballet Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Northern Ballet Orchestra, Berliner Symphoniker, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie and Bochumer Symphoniker. In addition to his orchestral playing he has considerable experience in the folk and jazz fields and has recorded and performed live with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra with Tommy Smith, Dave Liebman, Gunther Schuller and Bill Evans, the BBC Big Band with Billy May, the Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra with Bob Brookmeyer and Lee Konitz and the Edinburgh Festival Jazz Orchestra with Tim Hagans, the Grit Orchestra, the True North Orchestra, the Martin Green Machine, and singer/songwriters such as Justin Currie, Eddie Reader and Colin MacIntyre.

Alba Brass would like to thank Bryan Allen (trumpet) and Patrick Broderick (horn) for their seamless integration into some of the recording sessions for this album.



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