Commissioned by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
for orchestra [3(III=picc).3.3(III=bcl).3(III=cbsn) - 188.8.131.52 - perc(2) - harp - strings]
Brothers was commissioned by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as part of their Olympic Commissioning Project.
On the 16th of February 1928, an unseasonable warm spell in St. Moritz, Switzerland forced the postponement of the skeleton race at the second Olympic Winter Games. It was rescheduled for eight o'clock the following morning in hopes of avoiding the melting of too much of the ice on the fabled course known as the Cresta Run. Earlier in the week, David Ludovic George Hopetoun Carnegie, 11th Earl of Northesk had broken the track record and he entered proceedings that morning as the solid favourite for the gold medal. His main rival in the event should have been John Theodore Cuthbert Moore-Brabazon, 1st Baron Brabazon of Tara, a pioneer of English aviation and later the British Minister of Transport and Aircraft Production during World War II. However, Moore-Brabazon had crashed his sled on a practice run breaking several ribs and severely lacerating his face and was unable to participate, leaving the Earl of Northesk as the clear frontrunner. Unfortunately for the Earl, on his first of four runs he made a crucial mistake and snapped one of his brakes, a mistake from which he was unable to recover. With the race favourite severely hampered by his damaged sled, two wealthy American brothers from New Haven, Connecticut, Jennison and Jack Heaton, seized the opportunity and placed first and second with the Earl finishing a distant third.
Jennison and Jack Heaton were not the only brothers to finish one-two in the olympics. It's happened on five other occasions, including alpine skiers Phil and Steve Mahre at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo. Nor are they the only Heaton Brothers to make a name for themselves. There were John and William Heaton of Birmingham, England, pioneers of the steam automobile and inventors, in 1833, of the 'Heaton Brothers' Steam-Drag'. Or 'Crazy' Dan and James Heaton who in 1835 built the Cuyahoga Steam Furnace and launched the Cleveland Iron boom. Or the Heaton Brothers of Victoria, Texas, who in the afternoon edition of The Daily Advocate, September 27, 1904, guaranteed their spectacles for both usefulness and quality. But it is Jennison and Jack Heaton who inspired this work with the image of two brothers hurtling head-first down a track of ice, each trying to best the other in a display of sibling rivalry on an olympic scale.
April 10, 2010 - Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey, conductor, Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Canada