Netherlands: Groot repertorium Brass Band 1e Divisie
Hostile Skies began its gestation after the composer, Richard Grantham read an article in a national newspaper about an RAF aircraft being shot down over Iraq. This led to thoughts about military flight both in technical terms and in terms of the brave pilots who have experienced not only the exhilaration of flight, but also the danger and indeed fear of aerial combat.
The work opens dramatically with a short statement of the main thematic material before it quickly develops into a heroic theme. A more subdued melodic interlude treated canonically, reflects on the underlying danger of military flight but this is soon pushed aside as the main theme asserts itself once more.
A slow mournful section follows which reflects on absent comrades lost in action. However, a sense of hope is never far from the minds of those involved in conflict and a solo trombone issues a ”call to arms” which begins a build up of excitement as we once more take to the skies. The main theme defiantly returns in a blaze of colour.
A busy fugue-like passage, based on elements of the main theme is interspersed with hymn-like fragments signifying the tension between stoic resolve and danger which as at the heart of the work. The material goes through a number of metamorphoses before a triumphant and joyful finale resolves many of the melodic and rhythmic tensions. Hope is fully restored and the work ends with a truly ecstatic victory fly-past.
Hostile Skies pays tribute to the countless number of men and women pilots who have risked their lives to protect others. It is also a celebration of flight itself which like music, is a result of mankind’s unlimited imagination and desire.