EXCELSIOR! is undergoing a major re-write at the moment and has been withdrawn for sale as of January 2nd 2016.

It will be available again within months. Our apologies for any inconvenience.



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Commissioned by Lynda Nicholson and the St Helen's Youth Brass Band, EXCELSIOR! is dedicated to them and also to the memory of St Helen's most famous musical son Sir Thomas Beecham. It was first performed in May 1999 by the Band, conducted by the Composer.

The title EXCELSIOR! means 'Ever Upwards'. It is a traditional motto which I have used here to represent the striving of young musicians towards an ever improving expression of their talents. The first movement, a forthright FANFARE, leads directly into the second, OVERTURE, while the third, SOUVENIRS is an evocation of aspects of lighter French music, so beloved of Sir Thomas. After a short pause, the fourth movement commences. Its sub-title is 'ex terra lucem', the motto of St Helen's itself, which can be translated 'and from the earth comes light', referring to the town's long-established industry of glass-making. The play of sun and light through stained glass was in my mind during the composing of this movement.

EXCELSIOR! has been recorded by St Helen's Youth Band conducted by Lynda Nicholson on Amadeus AMS CD 033. The duration of the complete work is approximately fourteen and a half minutes.