A Brother Abroad

for baritone with three instrumentalists

Martin Bussey

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for baritone with three instrumentalists

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Composer Martin Bussey
Year of Composition 2020-21
Duration ca.25'
Instrumentation Baritone, Horn In F, Percussion, Flute/Piccolo
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-mb2aba1


A Brother Abroad was commissioned for the 2021 Pinner Music Festival to mark the 700th anniversary of the dedication of Pinner Parish Church in Greater London.

The text, by Anthony Pinching, celebrates Bishop Peter of Corbavia who performed the dedication. A Benedictine, Peter grew up in Italy and worked at the Papal Court before coming to England. In England he worked on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury amongst other bishops, as a suffragan. As well as church affairs he experienced many adventures, sent to negotiate with Robert the Bruce in Scotland and being captured by outlaws on the journey. Yet at heart, and foremost in the piece, Bishop Peter demonstrated an intense spirituality.

How does a 14th century bishop speak to us today? What traits of his might we reflect? Overwhelmingly the emphasis is on integrity and inner peace.

The music, written for baritone, flute/piccolo, French horn and percussion, characterises this. The horn announces Peter’s arrival after his journey through the Archbishop’s hunting lands. The flute reminisces about Peter’s Italian life, the sun and the wine. The tuned timpani represent his turbulent political work while tubular bells and piccolo recreate the joyous crowds as he arrives in Pinner. Celebration mixes with spirituality and the real world of fourteenth century politics in a colourful but melodic score. The baritone voice reflects Peter’s strength and inner calm.

A Brother Abroad is to be premiered at Pinner Parish Church on June 12 2021.