A Colchester Suite (1982)
2222/21(2)0/2perc/str. 15 mins.
Commissioned by the Colchester Youth Chamber Orchestra (conductor Nigel Hildreth), first performed in Colchester, 3 June 1983: subsequently performed on Anglia TV conducted by George Reynolds. Four movements depict aspects of life in Colchester past and present, with an optional short narration.
`A work of immediate appeal’ – East Anglian Daily Times
On hire from the composer
Film Clip with visuals: Liz Mullen of the Anglia TV programme ‘Folio’ introduces the Colchester Youth Chamber Orchestra (director George Reynolds) playing the first movement only, in 1983.
Alan Bullard’s Colchester Suite was commissioned in 1982 by the Colchester Youth Chamber Orchestra, with funds from the Eastern Arts Association, and it comprises four movements with optional linking narrative, which is printed below:
1. Saturday Market: We begin on an early Saturday morning in the High Street, outside the Moot Hall, as the traders gradually arrive and set up their market stalls, complete with each other to sell their goods, and finally, as evening comes, take down their stalls and return home.
2. Hilly Fields: Only a few minutes away from the busy town, we escape to the tranquil countryside of Hilly Fields as the gorse comes into flower, with the peaceful sound of the birds singing, the insects humming, and all the time the skyline of Colchester almost within reach.
3. The Hythe: Before the days of container loads, the port of the Hythe was a peaceful place; with sailing ships gently coming and going laden with coals from Newcastle, fish from Yarmouth, and grain, dairy produce and cloth bound for London.
4. Old King Cole: Legend has it that the King of England in the 3rd century was Cole, Duke of Colchester. In his song, Old King Cole calls for his fiddlers, his harps, his pipes and his drums; we offer you today a fantasia on the well-known tune played on a wider variety of instruments.