Journey of the Lone Wolf tells the story of the hungarian composer Béla Bartók. It was commissioned by Dr. Nicholas Childs for Black Dyke Band, who gave the first performance on Sunday 26 January 2014 at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester as part of the Royal Northern College of Music Festival of Brass.
The composer's programme notes for each movement:
1. Capturing the Peasants Song
After the upheaval of moving to Budapest the young Béla Bartók meets Zoltán Kodály and the pair embark on summertime adventures throughout the Hungarian countryside to collect and catalogue the astonishing variety (both harmonically and rhythmically) of gypsy and folk music heard in the Balkans. The arrival of WW1 plunges Bartók's beloved Hungary into chaos.
2. Night Music
Bartók was at times a cold man, aloof and lonely. The odd moments of tenderness he showed are portrayed here in a series of evocative solos. His brief but intense affairs speak of a love he could only long for. Jazz is my night music and here there are hints of what Bartók may have heard in the USA later in his life.
3. Flight and Fight
Having been forced by the world's evils to leave his homeland of Hungary for America, Bartók, the anti-fascist, felt isolated and angry. In this movement we hear his longing for a simpler time of gypsy folk dances as well as his maturity and depth as a composer finally exploring deeper colours and darker themes.