Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble to Give World Premiere of New Arrangement of Britten Work

The Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble will give the world premiere of a new arrangement of Benjamin Britten’s evocative Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from his dramatic opera Peter Grimes.

The arrangement, commissioned by the chamber ensemble and written by Craig Garner, is based on Britten’s own, widely performed orchestral version of the same music, which mirrors the plot and setting of a tragic story that unfolds in an English seacoast village.

The Gargoyle’s nautical-themed concert program, entitled Seascapes: Music from Britten’s Peter Grimes, will include the world premiere of another newly commissioned arrangement: Garner’s Suite from Water Music, based on G. F. Handel’s popular baroque masterpiece.

“Listeners will experience a deluge of water-themed delights,” says Rodney Holmes, artistic director of Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble.

In addition, the program will offer Claude Debussy’s French impressionist La cathédrale engloutie (The Sunken Cathedral), written for and performed on solo piano; and the Russian Sailor’s Dance from Reinhold Glière’s ballet The Red Poppy.

The Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble takes its whimsical name from the stone figures atop gothic buildings at the University of the Chicago, where the now-professional ensemble got its start in 1992 as a brass quintet of faculty and students.  Under its founder and artistic director, Holmes, it has evolved over the decades into an independent organization of classically trained musicians that focuses on commissioning and performing groundbreaking new works and arrangements for brass and pipe organ.

Concerts take place Sunday, February 21, at First United Church of Oak Park (848 Lake St, Oak Park); 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 4, at First Congregational United Church of Christ (256 Chicago St., Elgin); and 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, at St. Michael Catholic Church (310 S. Wheaton Ave., Wheaton).

Admission to the Elgin and Wheaton concerts is free to the general public. Tickets to the Oak Park performance can be purchased through the ensemble’s website,

Members of the Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble (photo courtesy of the ensemble).