Turbulence, Tide and Torque can be considered to be a companion piece to my 2008 Euphonium Concerto In League with Extraordinary Gentlemen, and indeed can be performed on Euphonium (vintage or medium bore instrument preferred). Whereas the gentlemen in question in the latter work were fictional (e.g. Sherlock Holmes and Phileas Fogg), the former pays tribute to three real life women who were very much true pioneers and heroines of their age.
Turbulence: Harriet Quimby (b. 1875) was one of the world’s best woman aviators, her significant and historic achievement being the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Sadly, in her lifetime very few people were aware of her 1912 accomplishment; potential press coverage was dominated by the sinking of The Titanic only two days before.
Grace Darling (b. 1815) is a name much more familiar to the public today, and in her lifetime she was lauded as a national heroine. A humble lighthouse keeper’s daughter from Northumberland, her participation in the rescue of survivors from the wrecked paddle-steamer Forfarshire is well documented (a museum dedicated to her achievements located in Bamburgh, the town of her birth). This movement, Tide, develops a main theme from my large scale work Harrison’s Dream, reflecting on the souls lost in the disaster.
The final movement Torque, opens with a sudden gear change such as might have been undertaken by Dorothy Levitt (b. 1882), the woman’s world land speed record holder, in her Napier racing car. Levitt, who following her 1906 record-breaking achievement was described as the Fastest Girl on Earth, went on to write extensively about her experiences, encouraging females to take up motoring through her articles in The Graphic newpaper.
Turbulence, Tide and Torque was commissioned by and is dedicated to Katrina Marzella as part of an Arts Council of England funded residency I was awarded with the Black Dyke Band in 2018.