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short chamber orchestra score

Tones of Blue     4'10"
A contemporary English blues for chamber orchestra

General Information

Tones of Blue concentrates intense emotion into a short space and catches the sorrows of the blues in a polite English way i.e. with a certain restraint and a careful release of emotion.

It is one long, continuous, seamless and passionate rising curve with a climax full of romantic longing that melts away in the strings at the end.

Scored for chamber orchestra without heavy brass it is in effect a short orchestral overture.

Like a blues Tones of Blue is a set of variations on a chord sequence. At the same time and independently it is also a set of variations on their underlying rhythm.

Tones of Blue was premiered by Elgar Howarth conducting The Orchestra of Opera North at The University of York.


"David Charles Martin..in his brief Tones of Blue clearly revelled in...orchestral excursions."
Martin Dreyer, York Evening Press. May 2005

Exact Forces

2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, 2 horns, timpani & strings


Each variation on the chords has its own orchestration:

Theme: flutes and clarinets play a straight statement of the chords and rhythm.
Variation 1: strings and bassoons joined near the end by a solo oboe.
Variation 2: solo horns dominate a variation that grows louder.
Variation 3: trumpets continue the climaxing in a very quick statement.
Variation 4: the real climax – a romantically orchestrated variation for full orchestra ending with a solo woodwind cadence.
Variation 5: strings end the piece very quietly.

Score Extract and Listen

Click to read and listen

Extract 1

A page at a glance: Score in C.

The opening chord sequence.

short chamber orchestra score


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