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Words of Othello
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Fergal Carroll

Words of Othello

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  • Composer Biog
  • Instrumentation

Instrument: brass quintet (score and parts)
Grade: slightly difficult
Catalogue No: 9519
ISMN No: 9790570275908

Composed for brass quintet, Words of Othello consists of five short movements, each of which illustrates a quotation spoken by the character Othello in the play. As there are 5 quotations each of the movements can be preceded by a different member of the quintet reciting the quote, if desired.

Act 1, scene 2: "I fetch my life and being, from men of Royal siege.
And my demerits may speak to as proud a fortune
as this I have reached."

The opening movement is in the style of a fanfare. It is quite aggressive with the various parts alternating between passages of imitation and homophony.

Act 1, scene 3: "Upon this hint I spake,
She lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd,
And I lov'd her, that she did pity them."

The second movement is much slower, with the harmonic language leaning towards F major. Notes are layered to form chords, and suspensions are a key feature of the harmony here.

Act 2, scene 2: "Now by Heaven, My blood begins my safer guides to rule,
And passion assays to lead the way."

With the third movement we return to the aggressive feel of the opening. The style is of an atonal fugato, built around the motif of a rising second followed by a falling semitone. When all 5 instruments have stated the subject of the fugue it is stated one last time by them all in octaves.

Act 2, scene 1: "I cannot speak enough of this content,
It stops me here: it is too much of joy.
And this, and this is the greatest discords be
That e'er our hearts shall make."

The fourth movement is much more relaxed, almost like a lullaby in style. It is scored essentially as melody and accompaniment; the 2nd trumpet has the tune initially, followed by the trombone.

Act 5, scene 2: "O perjur'd woman, thou dost stone my heart,
And makes me call, what I intend to do,
A murther, which I thought a sacrifice."

A relentless pulse of discordant quavers is present for most of the final fifth movement. Against this the other instruments state figures over additive rhythms. When the quaver pulse stops each instrument gives a short fragment or motif, always interrupted by the chord stated by the rest of the ensemble. The pulse returns near the end and the piece finishes with rapidly falling figures in all parts.
Fergal Carroll
Fergal Carroll was born in Clonmel. He studied music at the Waterford Institute of Technology and in 2000 he graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, with a Master of Music degree in composition. His teachers have included Eric Sweeney, Anthony Gilbert and Adam Gorb.

He has been commissioned by various organisations including RTÉ lyric fm, “The Rescue” (2007), the Association for Music in International Schools, “A New Song’s Measure” (2009) and Warrington Borough Council, “Winter Dances” (2002). His music has been performed in significant venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, New York; the KKL, Lucerne; St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney and Ford Hall, Ithaca, New York.

Many of his works have been recorded commercially and are available on the Klavier, Mark Custom and Amos labels. Since 2005 Fergal Carroll has served as a band officer/conductor with the Irish Defence Forces and is currently based in Dublin as staff conductor of the Army No. 1 Band.
Instrumentation Sample

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