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Rocket Man

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Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) was an English engineer, who, with his father George, designed and built railways, bridges and tunnels, not least of which was the famous Rocket locomotive.

The music in this quartet also reflects Stephenson's roots and work in Newcastle upon Tyne. He was born in Willington Quay, Wallsend, near the Keelmans' Hospital, and would most likely have known the famous sea-song: The Keel Row – which is a running motif of the piece. It opens simply, reflecting his humble beginnings, and The Keel Row further sets the scene, where his father was a colliery engine brakesman, but soon showed burgeoning prowess as an engineer.

Rhythms become more definite and bold as the pace of progress takes on new dimensions and Robert followed his father into the business of building locomotives. A new intensity springs up, 7/8 time, heralding the emergence of something pioneering and exciting.

The iconic and legendary Rocket took steam locomotion, to which George and Robert had already contributed significantly, to new and innovative levels and formed the basis of locomotive design for the next 150 years. The music now moves into more adventurous realms of rhythm and harmony to portray the journey of its development and success.

This was not without set-back, as reflected in the more turbulent moments, but nothing can halt the build-up of pace, energy and intensity. The familiar refrains of The Keel Row now return with more vigour to conclude the piece in a spirit of enduring achievement.

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Cat No. RM515
Supplier Code RM515
Price £12.50
ComposerTony Osborne
CategoryDouble Bass Quartet
PublisherRecital Music
Difficulty level8, Advanced
ISMN 979-0-57045-515-7
EAN-13 9790570455157
Weight 130 grams
Published 29th December 2013
Availability 5 in stock
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