Wildfire                                                                                                                                                                John Pickard (b.1963)

Wildfire was commissioned by the National Youth Brass Band of Wales, who gave the first performance in 1991, conducted by Bramwell Tovey. It was my first composition for brass band and eventually formed the second part of my Gaia Symphony – an hour-long four part work that takes the four classical elements as its starting point, the constituent movements all performable as separate pieces.

The immediate stimulus for Wildfire came from reading a report in a local newspaper about a forest fire that had apparently begun in two separate areas, the walls of flame then moving towards each other.

The piece is a scherzo of great collective virtuosity, whose fast tempo is established at the outset and never relents for a single bar. It begins with just a flicker of activity and moves through a series of climaxes. Half way through, the music restarts but then progresses in quite a different direction, culminating (I hope!) in a raging furnace.

John Pickard