Rosace de Notre Dame

for brass and organ

Stephen Roberts

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for brass and organ

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Composer Stephen Roberts
Year of Composition 2014
Duration ca.4'
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-sr1rdnd1


Rosace de Notre Dame was written for Henry Fairs and the Birmingham Symphonic Brass to celebrate the inauguration of the new Garnier organ in the Bramall Concert Hall at the University of Birmingham on 21st November 2014.

The performance was conducted by the composer.

It celebrates the famous rose window of the eponymous cathedral in Paris. It is set in medieval rondeau form with the organ embellishing and colouring the brass to represent the play of light through glass.

I wanted to capture the spirit of the inauguration of a new organ built on historic principles, but with modern technology. Thus the music recalls Guillaume de Machaut who composed in Notre Dame in the 14th century.

The organ part takes advantage of its mechanical action with toccata-like passagework and the registrations, based on colours, reflect the hues of the rose window. Meanwhile the brass parts allude to the space of Notre Dame and its historical resonances.

The Birmingham Post described the work as, ‘utterly fascinating’.