Through a student, Jürg Meili, from my first year at the Winterthur Conservatory, I was invited to work with children and teachers in Wattwil, Toggenburg. This led to a “river” tape-piece for a Toggenburg Festival plus some short canons for Flute, Oboe and Bassoon which Hermann Ostendarp conducted. Hermann was also conductor of a youth orchestra, il mosaico and later asked me for a work for percussion and orchestra, which he could take on a tour of France and Spain.

On the same program would be the Händel Dettinger Te Deum, and it would therefore be interesting if my work had a thematic connection to the Te Deum. This idea attracted me and in fact all three movements (traditional fast, slow, fast) have such connections. In particular rhythmic similarities, because pitch relationships were distorted. The percussion group was centred in Chur (the teacher, Eckart Fritz-Schocher, also taught in Wattwil) and I made a couple of trips there to hear their rehearsals – very lively events, since all five were very enthusiastic.

I heard the work on two occasions in Switzerland (March, 1998, in Chur and in Jona) and they did it very well. In the summer of that year, the projected tour took place. A curious coincidence led to our friends, Gennie and Rick Donald, hearing a performance in Barcelona, an account of which is given in Rick’s book: French Leave.

Concerto for 5 Percussionists and Orchestra (1. movement) - Hermann Ostendarp (conductor) il mosaico