The Suite para instrumentos de metal (Brass Suite) is a curious and rare example of ‘Harmoniemusik’ in Portuguese classical music. Originally intended for the Grupo de Metais de Lisboa, it is scored for septet (including 3 trumpets and 2 trombones), having been completed in the Autumn of 1985, it was premiered in the following May, at the Encontros Gulbenkian de Música Contemporânea, by the Ensemble de Sopros de Lisboa.
The Suite consists of three brief movements, with the fastest in the middle. The Moderato (in ABA form) is melodically driven by the trumpets (initial theme piano and con sordino) and the French horn, along with material of a chromatic nature, formed of small incisions, exploring contrasts (timbre, dynamics) in a nocturnal and mysterious environment. The Allegro is of a more clearly modal nature. It is divided into two halves, with an Introduction and Coda and an ‘Intermezzo’ to open the 2nd part. The Introduction (separated from the rest by a ‘general pause’) presents the material that will be explored in the rest of the piece, with the exception of the ‘Intermezzo’, in which a whole tone horn theme with a Gregorian profile dominates. The conclusive ‘Andante’ is the most interesting and elaborate of the three in terms of writing. It synthesizes the chromatic (1st mvt.) and the modal (2nd mvt.) within a formal organization, all of which is governed by the sectio aurea (golden mean), ending in a series of chords, culminating in the final Ab major.