A musical tale for Brass Band,based on the 1886 Scottish novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
Kidnapped by Chris Brown is a musical tale loosely based on the 1886 Scottish Novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. This work was “highly commended” in the 2013 BandComposition.Com competition. The work has eight main contrasting sections performed as a continuous through composed work as follows :
1. The work opens with statements of the two main characters in the story – firstly a bold lively pentatonic fully scored statement of the David Balfour Theme, this quickly followed by the first appearance of the Alan Breck Theme ( letter A) , again lively but in the relative minor key and more thinly scored. The first sign of the tension which unfolds in this story comes just before letter B with tutti syncopated stab chords.
2. At letter C, we have arrived at the eerie House of Shaws, where David Balfour’s uncle Ebenezer sends David up to the top of the ruined house without a light to fetch a chest. David is forced to scale the stairs in the dark, and realizes that not only is the tower unfinished in some places, but that the steps simply end abruptly and fall into the abyss. The use of ascending diminished 7th. chords and dissonance greatly add to the drama here. David concludes that his uncle intended for him to have an "accident" so as not to have to give over his inheritance. The next morning David is duped into boarding a ship anchored in the nearby Firth O’ Forth by his uncle Ebeneezer. Once aboard he is then immediately struck senseless and made prisoner.
3. Third bar of Letter E sees David slowly waking up very groggily at sea a captive bound for work as a slave in the Carolinas.
4. Letter H A battle ensues aboard the ship where some of the crew try to take David’s money from him. However David’s captivity does not last long, and after a shipwreck David is free again on dry land, where he eventually meets up with Alan Breck.
5. As he continues his journey, David witnesses people being shipped abroad as part of the Highland Clearances – this is the beautiful reflective lyrical section “Lochaber No More” (Letter J) featuring euphonium and several other soloists in the band.
6. David eventually encounters none other than the Red Fox (Colin Roy) himself, who is accompanied by a lawyer, servant, and sheriff's officer. When David stops the Campbell man to ask him for directions, a hidden sniper kills the hated King's agent. David is denounced as a conspirator and flees for his life, but by chance reunites with Alan. The youth believes Alan Breck to be the assassin, but Alan denies responsibility.
7. Letter M is “The Flight Through the Heather” where David and Alan attempt to flee from the government redcoat solders who are chasing them. This very clever 6/8 version of the earlier themes is beautifully contrasted with a minor version of the Judas Maccabeus theme as a counter melody on trombones to represent the advancing government soldiers.
8. Letter Q is the unbridled joy of escape to freedom by David and Alan, and a return to David’ s country in the Scottish Lowlands as a man of wealth and property – a story which has a happy ending !
Music Editor January 2014