50 Influential Band Works

August 4, 2017 | Author: saxgoldie | Category: Composers, Symphony, Jazz, Pop Culture, Variation (Music)
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50 Influential Band Works, each with a brief description...


The Solitary Dancer

Very popular British composer along with Britten, this piece has such nice melodic material I had to include it on the list One of the first pieces to use "jazzy" elements in the concert band medium, sort of "cheesy" quasi-swing dotted eighth, sixteenth patterns Minimalistic, very exposed playing, serious subject matter (assassination of JFK), difficult to execute the very slow tempo, harp solo Very exposed parts, written for a smaller ensemble, similar to a chamber work, requires very skilled woodwind playes and a good trumpet soloist

The Passing Bell

Very ethereal sounding, again very exposed playing as in Benson's other works on this list, requires advanced ensemble skills such as the ability to maintain the intensity with a slow tempo

Arnold, Malcolm

Four Scottish Dances

Bennett, Robert Russell

Suite of Old American Dances

Benson, Warren

The Leaves are Falling

Bernstein, Leonard

Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs Profanation from Jerimiah Symphony No. 1

Colgrass, Michael

Winds of Nagual

Copland, Aaron

An Outdoor Overture Emblems

Dahl, Ingolf

Sinfonietta for Band

Dello Joio, Norman

Variants on a Medieval Tune

As the title would suggest, this piece combines elements of classical and jazz music; sounds improvisational despite it being written, almost like you would transcribe a jazz solo off a record, important piece in the repertoire especially for clarinet Programmatic work, composer struggle with faith, multi-meter demands on conductor and ensemble Programmatic work, used almost "leitmotifs" between two contrasting characters/themes Open harmonies, interesting contrasting melodic material, intricate rhythmic motives, disjunct melodic lines, needs strong trumpet soloist see notes for Outdoor Overture Orchestration allows for exposed playing, technically challenging at times, tonal work with hints of chromaticism, heavy woodwinds Lyrical, cantabile style, familiar melody that travels through a series of well thought out variations utilizing each section of the band to its fullest

Grainger, Percy

Lincolnshire Posy

Colonial Song

Irish Tune from County Derry

Large-scale multi-movement work (6 mvts), based on set of English folk songs, each a portrait of a folk singer who met with and sang for Grainger. Considered a masterwork for band. Mvt 5 presents dificulty for the conductor. Requires a great deal of musicianship to successfully perform Unlike other Grainger pieces, melodies are original. Several sections approachable by less advanced ensembles. However, there are many sections that are technically intricate. Several melodies have an almost recitative-like style that requires freedom of expression without compromising pulse concerns. All sections have a meaningful contribution Although not highly demanding, this piece has a beatutiful melody that is approachable by ensembles at varying levels…a real crowd pleaser

Second Suite in F

Early piece for band but orchestration sounds almost modern. Requires advanced musicians…melodies are of a soloist nature see above Complex, controlled harmonies; exposed brass harmonies, mature balance must be achieved Important work for high school bands, tonal harmonies scored tutti, rhythmic challenges with changing meters, great for teaching contrasting articulations Great counterpoint, melodies develop masterfully, complex variations of rhythm. Composer of serious merit writing for wind band Very early work for the wind band medium, established an early validity for the medium Very early work for the wind band medium, established an early validity for the medium


Players must demonstrate control, requires advanced soloists (bassoon, F Horn, flute, tuba), two conrasting themes

Hill Song No. 1 Hill Song No. 2 Gould

West Point Symphony

Hanson, Howard

Chorale and Alleluia

Hindemith, Paul

Symphony in Bb

Holst, Gustav

First Suite in Eb

Husa, Karel

Music for Prague

Suite Francaise

Very contemporary sounding, use of choir requires sensitive balance, exposed parts present intonation concerns, large-scale work in 3 mvts, huge dynamic range, requires advanced musicians Very contemporary sounding, explores different colors that can be found in the wind ensemble, exposed parts, difficult to grasp harmonic concepts require precise intonation Early work for band, gives the band the opportunity to play in a Renaissance style, very logical, lyrical scoring Technically demanding, ensemble must set a dark, somber-like mood, complex/exposed orchestration Challenging to maintain ensemble intensity for a work of over 25 minutes, challenging demands on every section, huge dynamic contrasts that need to be controlled, utilization of church hymns and chorales as source material 5 mvt work, requires skillful playing in contrasting styles, oboe soloist, based on French folk tunes

Serenade No. 10 in B-Flat Trittico

Originally designed for "background music" many Serenades did not survive. The fact that Mozart's did is a testament to its quality Strong use of percussion

Apotheosis of this Earth

Les Couleura Fauves Jacob, Gordon

William Byrd Suite

Maslanka, David

A Child's Garden of Dreams

Symphony No. 4 Milhaud, Daris

Mozart, WA Nelhybel, Vaclav

Persichetti, Vincent

Reed, H. Owen

Very exposed playing, sensitive intonation, unusual use of harmony, extreme ranges

Divertimento for Band Masquerade for Band Symphony No. 6 Psalm for Band La Fiesta Mexicana

Persichetti's works employ a wide stylistic range from extreme diatonic simplicity to complex , contrapuntal atonality. Embraced the medium of the band and saw it as a vehicle for expression sepearate from the orchestra but not subordinate to it

Multi-movement work for band, individual responsibilities high demand

Schmitt, Florent


Schoenberg, Arnold Schuman, William

Theme and Variations George Washington Bridge New England Triptych

Schwantner, Joseph

…and the mountains rising nowhere From a Dark Millenium

Large-scale work. Features almost chamber-like playing within the larger ensemble. Extreme range demands Schwantner's first work for band, extremely significant, no real time signature, utilizes unusual elements in a band work such as crystal flutes, singing, and amplified piano

Toccata Marziale

Written in standard notation, complex meter changes, difficult rhythms, extremely contemporart Extreme range, exposed playing, unusual harmonies yet still tonal, "serious" composer writing for the wind band Prolific contemporary composer Early use of multi meter, almost like a theme and variations, important because of old source material…bands don't often get to play in the genre Significant composer of serious music, strong oboe or trumpet needed for exposed solo, rather repetititive so performers must take advantage of nuance in this work Contrapuntal masterpiece for wind band, rhythmic figures predominate the work, brilliant scoring highlights the colors available to the wind ensemble

Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral*

Although technical difficulty is minimal, consistency of tone quality is difficult at this slow tempo. A great exercise in restraint

Recoil Stravinsky, Igor Ticheli, Frank

Symphonies of Wind Instruments Symphony No. 2

Tull, Fisher

Sketches on a Tudor Psalm

Vaughan Williams, Ralph

English Folk Song Suite

Wagner, Richard

For such an early work (1914), it sounds very contemporary, technically challenging, reminiscent of the Firebird (to my knowledge) the only piece Schoenberg wrote for the wind band…not in the 12 tone style. Technically very demanding, piece develops contrapuntally

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