I would like to congratulate violinist Hugo Ticciati and Hemvärnets Musikkår, Göteborg (Göteborg Symphonic Band) conducted by David Lundblad for the extraordinary performance that they gave of my symphonic drama for violin and wind orchestra `Black Fire’.

St Jacobs kyrka

The Swedish premiere was given little over a month ago in Göteborg by these wonderful musicians. I am thrilled that I was able to attend their concert in Stockholm on Friday 14 May in St Jacobs kyrka in the heart of the city. The performance was full of atmosphere, menace, passion and drama, and Hugo Ticciati and Hemvärnets Musikkår seemed to cast a spell over the audience. Hugo Ticciati is a wonderful talent who has a genuine love for contemporary music.

The other work, which was performed at this concert, was `Förkladd gud’ by the late Swedish composer Lars-Erik Larsson (1908-1986).

Hugo Ticciati

This impressive work was written for narrator, two singers, chorus and symphonic wind orchestra, though originally written for orchestra. It is a work that I would thoroughly recommend for performance and hope to hear again in the near future. This was my first experience of working with a Swedish wind orchestra, one I hope to repeat.

`Black Fire’ was originally written for Peter Sheppard Skaerved and the Alabama Wind Ensemble. It has been recorded on the Naxos label (Nigel Clarke 8.570429) by Peter Sheppard Skaerved and the Band of HM Royal Marines, Plymouth conducted by Lt. Col Chris Davis.

Hemvärnets Musikkår, Gotebörg / Gotebörg Symphonic Band

The Gothenburg Home Guard Band was founded in 1941 by professor Axel Romdal, who was head of the Gothenburg Art Museum at the time. In 1974 the band was extended to a full symphonic band, and the civil identity Göteborg Symphonic Band was added.

Today the band consists of some 55 musicians, who carry out some 40 rehearsals and 30 public performances annually, civilian as well as military.

The band takes an active part in the musical life in Gothenburg and has participated in for example the Gothenburg Horse Show, the World Championships in Ice Hockey and Athletics. Each year since 1975 the band performs well attended concerts in the Gothenburg Concert Hall, inspired by the famous ‘Last night of the Proms’ in London.

The Gothenburg Home Guard Band has also performed the ceremonial music at the Changing of the Guards at the Royal Palace in Stockholm one weekend every year since 1978. At these occasions concerts are also given, often in the Cathedral of Stockholm.

Concert-tours abroad have taken the band to Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Finland and Norway. In 1996 the band had contact with Russia for the first time ever, participating in the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Russian Navy in Kaliningrad. In 2005 the orchestra gave a joint concert with the Marine Band “Ostsee” of Kiel in Bonn, Germany, in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the German Army (Bundeswehr).

During the summer of 1997 the band had the honour of representing Sweden at the WASBE-conference in Schladming, Austria – an honour which was again bestowed on the band for the conference in July 2007 in Killarney, Ireland.

The Gothenburg Home Guard Band also includes a sextet which performs frequently at civilian and military arrangements such as weddings, dinners, and international gatherings. The sextet normally plays on modern instruments, but also occasionally on instruments up to 100 years old.

Information taken Gothenburg Home Guard Band webpage: www.hemvarnetsmusikkar.se/