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ClassicsOnline Home » MONUMENTAL WORKS FOR WINDS
Monumental Works for Winds is a collection of some of the greatest pieces ever written for wind band. Persichetti’s 1956 Symphony for Band, Op. 69 is not only one of his greatest works, but has become one of the most frequently performed original American works for wind band. Stravinsky’s strikingly original and rhythmically vital Symphonies of Wind Instruments is one of his most adventurous pieces in neo-classical style. Copland’s technically challenging Emblems, is the composer’s only work for band, its eleven minute span bursting with folk melodies, dissonance, waltzes and elements of jazz.
Monumental Works for Winds
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901): Aida: Triumphal March, arr. Creatore
Truly grandiose, the Triumphal March comes from Giuseppe Verdi's popular opera Aida. This setting was transcribed by Giuseppe Creatore, a trombonist in the Royal Marine Band of Italy, who went on to a great career as a famed bandleader, moving to America and touring coast to coast. He went on to settle in New York where he worked with several opera companies and continued conducting band concerts up until his death in 1952. After his migration to New York in the early 1900s, he transcribed the Triumphal March from Aida, which has gone on to be one of his most loved and highly recognized works.
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971): Symphonies of Wind Instruments
Symphonies of Wind Instruments was composed by Igor Stravinsky in the summer of 1920 and revised from 1945-47. The work is heard on this recording in its original 1920 scoring for 23 wind and brass players (three flutes, alto flute, two oboes, cor anglais, clarinet, three bassoons (the third doubling contrabassoon), four horns, three trumpets, three trombones and tuba).
Its first unannounced performance "was received by a large audience with a good deal of applause, in which some hisses mingled" (The Times). The work has only recently gained its present status as a classic of the Wind Ensemble genre. According to the musicologist Richard Taruskin, the influence for Symphonies lay not in the symphonic styles of the time, but in the Russian Orthodox service for the dead. The work was dedicated to the memory of Debussy, who had died in Paris two years earlier.
Vincent Persichetti (1915-87): Symphony for Band (Symphony No. 6), Op. 69
Vincent Persichetti composed Symphony for Band in 1956. This phenomenal piece was the result of a commission by Washington University in St. Louis for a single-movement work for band. As Persichetti neared completion of the work, he quickly realized that the original format would not accommodate all of his musical themes and ideas. The original commission was, therefore, renegotiated and he set about finishing what would become known as one of his greatest works.
Persichetti composed the Symphony No. 6 while he was at the height of his career. He incorporated two major characteristics into his compositions; Grace and Grit. This work no doubt includes a little of both, with the grit filling the outer movements and the grace surfacing in the second and third movements. This composition has become one of the most frequently performed original works for band ever written.
Jaromír Weinberger (1896-1967): Schwanda the Bagpiper: Polka and Fugue, arr. Bainum
Polka and Fugue comes from Jaromír Weinberger's successful opera, Schwanda the Bagpiper. The opera was completed in 1927 and had its premier the same year. Glenn Cliffe Bainum, Director of Bands at Northwestern University, completed this setting in 1934. It is important to note that this was one of the early transcriptions for band written not by a professional musician, but by a music educator. This was no doubt a sign of the rising influence collegiate educators and musicians would have over the band world.
Aaron Copland (1900-90): Emblems
Aaron Copland writes, "An emblem stands for something-it is a symbol". This is the definition Copland turns to in the preface of his masterwork Emblems for wind band. This great work comes from a 1963 commission by the College Band Director's National Association (CBDNA). Copland remarked of the composition, "the purpose of this commission is to enrich the band repertory with music that is representative of the composer's best work, and not one written with all sorts of technical and practical limitations".
Percy Grainger (1882-1961): Over the Hills and Far Away – Children's March
Children's March was written by Percy Aldridge Grainger while he was serving in the US Army as a member of the Coast Artillery Band. At a time when he preferred to transcribe his early piano works for the band, this was the only original work for band he completed during this period. This composition resembles many of Grainger's other great folk-song settings. It features not only the traditional wind band instrumentation, but also incorporates a prominent piano part, great use of the double reeds, and a bass saxophone. In addition to this added instrumentation, Grainger also wrote an optional vocal part to be performed by the band. The band setting of this piece was first given by the Goldman Band under the baton of the composer himself in June 1919.
Sir William Walton (1902-83): Crown Imperial, trans. Duthoit
Crown Imperial is a grand march originally written by Sir William Walton for the coronation of England's King George VI. The present transcription for band was written by W.J. Duthoit in 1937. Duthoit was most notably the chief arranger for the Chappell Army Journal from 1938 to 1964. Although he wrote hundreds of orchestral transcriptions for band, this is probably his best and most remembered effort. This powerful flourish for band makes a great addition to this collection of monumental works for winds and leaves the listener with a true appreciation of the power of band music.
with assistance from "The President's Own" United States Marine Band
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MONUMENTAL WORKS FOR WINDS