Samuel Headrick


Brass Quintet #1: Passages

Pasages Movement 1-Adagio (5:32) YouTube version

Passages Movement 2-Allegro(4:47) YouTube version

Passages was commissioned by Theodore Antoniou for a performance by the Atlantic Brass Quintet in January of 1997.  The first movement is in two parts, with the first section being slow and primarily contrapuntal.  The first trumpet begins alone, with a theme that then becomes the "ground bass" for the remainder of the section.  After the sixth statement of the "ground bass," the tuba and trombone play a pedal tone while the other instruments rise to the highest point, thus ending the section.  The second section begins immediately (following 3 or 4 seconds of silence for the climax chord of section one to reverberate), and is primarily chordal.  The movement ends quietly.

While the first movement is primarily slow and introspective, the second movement is fast and energetic.  The trumpets play an accompaniment of 32nd notes, while the horn, trombone, and tuba each have extended solos that are followed by a chordal theme for the full ensemble.  The low brass solos are then repeated, but this time the horn and trombone solos are played simultaneously, thus creating 2-part counterpoint.  The chordal material from the first movement is then presented in the low brass, but the fast tempo and fortissimo nature of the second movement contunues to prevail, and the trumpets continue with their 32nd note pedal tones against the corale in the low brass.  To finish the piece off,  the tuba has an extended solo, but the horn and trombone simultaneously play the solos one last time, thus forming 3-part counterpoint against the 32nd note accompaniment.  The 32nd notes continue, but finally disintegrate while the low brass play the final chords

The tile, Passages, has musical implications, but it was chosen primarily to indicate the "passages" of life that the composer was passing through, and that inspired the emotional content of the composltion.

                                                                                                                              S. H.

“Samuel Headrick’s “Passages" provided some shrewdly turned, massive…vaguely William Schuman-like music for the Atlantic Brass to play.”   Richard Buell,  Boston Globe




Click here to go to to purchase the Atlantic Brass Quintet's CD entitled "Fanfares and Passages" (which includes this composition).


This is a CD that you are going to enjoy very much … imaginative, exciting original compositions for quintet make this CD a delightful mix of Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic, Contemporary....Calvin Smith, Magazine of the International Horn Society.