Composer: Ryan Linham (2023)
Duration: 3 movements ~ 11’00
Instrumentation: Brass Trio: Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone
‘A Strange Thing Happened’ is a quirky and delightful Brass Trio written in 2023 from multiple fragments of discarded compositions in my back catalogue. Writing this piece began as a personal practice exercise, fortunately the strength of the concept and music quickly snowballed into fully formed themes, developments and movements.
The composition’s essence embodies a distinctive style of my own creation, affectionately dubbed ‘Neo-Lux’ music. Within this genre, I seamlessly blend familiar light-music elements with contrasting influences drawn from my background in performing contemporary musical works. The fusion of these divergent styles gives rise to a buoyant and eccentric musical piece, one that presents both challenges and enjoyment for performers while offering a novel and aesthetically pleasing listening experience for the audience.
The piece is in 3 movements telling a short story that shall never be revealed, all but for the cryptic titles:
1. ‘How Odd’
An angular and exciting piece in a first movement style, semi-quaver lines and chromatic language feature heavily in this loose theme-and-variations. Multiple meter changes and rhythmic quirks keep the music limping along with each instrument swapping the main theme.
2. ‘It’s a Mystery’
A calm yet unsettling slow movement, each muted instrument creepily meanders through their own legato theme. The general shapes and lines begin to overlap and make more harmonic sense as the piece grows, yet the mutes help distort any real warmth to the locrian harmonic language. This movement also acts as a ‘chop-saver’, as Brass Trio performances are always a very hard blow!
3. ‘We’ll Laugh about it Later’
This finale movement is a humorous scherzo with a bouncing rhythmic tempo and almost catchy main theme. There is a brass band style nimble nature in play here. As the piece develops, a fughetta quickly builds to become a comical backing for a familiar theme from movement 1, before returning to the opening scherzo motifs. It dies away to a comical and very cheeky ending.
The concept is simple, that the audience can work out their own narrative from the odd and mysterious melodic motifs and rhythmic patterns in the work.
Although envisaged for Bb Trumpet, F French Horn and Concert pitch Trombone, I have included alternate parts for C Trumpet, Eb Horn and Brass Band Bb Treble Clef Trombone.
Sample (Transposed) Score: