AN IDEAL WORK FOR LOCK DOWN.
Premiere of Mr Burgess’s Almanack by Anthony Burgess
Anthony Burgess was invited to write this work by the American double bassist, Jonathan Haskell, in the Suisse Romande Orchestra, and Haskell conducted the premiere on 11th April 1988. Mr Burgess’s Almanack is scored for woodwind octet, horn, trumpet, timpani, 2 percussion and piano.
The work has been edited by Paul Phillips, Director of Orchestral Studies and Associate Professor of music at Stanford University
Anthony Burgess explained in his book You’ve had your Time:
“The Corriere della Sera has announced that I am giving up the novel for music. This was in connection with the performance of a work of mine in Geneva….called Mr. Burgess’s Almanack, a British enough title, and he seemed to think that I was impressionistically painting the running of the English year. But the title is a trick. The calendar and the chromatic scale have in common a division into twelve. As the year moves from January to December, so in my work the musical intervals I exploit harmonically run from the minor second to the octave.”
CHAMBER MUSIC TO EXPLORE NEXT SEASON
A former colleague asked me through FaceBook about wind repertoire of up to 20 players, to be programmed with social distancing between the players. I thought my response to him might be of use to other colleagues who are facing the restrictions of Covid-19 in the forthcoming year. This homepage is to reintroduce those articles dating back to 2004 and now sadly out of date, but they will give you a basis for further research. It is essential that you buy Rodney Winther’s Guide, a great resource.
AN ANNOTATED GUIDE TO WIND CHAMBER MUSIC by RODNEY WINTHER for six to eighteen players
This is a must for every library, a superb compendium of works known and recommended by Rodney with superb programme notes. Rodney’s opening author’s notes are a brilliant guide to the repertoire: “I became exposed to the wind music of the great masters – Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak, Strauss, Stravinsky, Hindemith.
Gradually my knowledge came to include that second tier of works by Weber, Hummel, Krommmer, Myslivacek, Gounod, Mendelssohn, Lachner, Jacob, Walton, Milhaud, Varese, Weill and Kurka.
Little by little I became exposed to composers whose music fascinated me, but of whom I had little prior knowledge – Berg, Bernard, Bird, Dubois, Enesco, Francaix, Hahn, Hartmann, d’Indy, Ives, van Otterloo, Poulenc, Raff, Reinecke, Schmitt and Spohr.
Currently my thirst for repertoire is more on the international scale: Yun, Chou, Tcherepnin, Pärt, Arrieu, Andriessen, Bozza, Caturla, Davies, Schulz, Gerhard, Keuris, Koetsier, Lazarof, Perle Revueltas and so many others.”
Rodney includes a splendid list of his top 101 works. He points out that any list of repertoire is out-of-date immediately, but this serves as a magnificent starting point for further research. Below are links to three articles on my web pages which concentrate on this genre.
Recommendations of works which possibly need a conductor. Directed Chamber Music published In the United Kingdom. An introduction to a catalogue devised by Leroy Osmon of large-scale wind chamber music.
CHAMBER MUSIC REPERTOIRE LIST
This catalogue contains works predominantly for 7 or more wind and brass instruments - compiled by the composer, Leroy Osmon, reproduced here with his permission.
WORKS FOR DOUBLE WIND QUINTET
Recommended Wind Decets and a link to the world's most complete listing of works for double quintet, a website developed by Cathy Gerhart. At last count, she lists about 360 for regular double wind quintet and about 127 pieces for related instrumentation.
THREE MAJOR WORKS, BUT TOO BIG
My immediate reaction was to base my ideas on the Stravinsky Symphonies of Wind but it is slightly too big. There are two other works which I would put alongside the Stravinsky as major works of this century, well worth trying to find a large enough space to play them, works to test the finest players.
IGOR STRAVINSKY SYMPHONIES OF WIND INSTRUMENTS (1920)
MAGNUS LINDBERG GRAN DUO (2000)
STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI MUSIC FOR WINDS (2001)
3(2.afl,3.pic).3.3(3.bcl).3(3.cbsn)-3.3.3.btbn.1-timp.3perc(bng, tom-t, tempbl, mar, vib, chimes, xyl, glsp, piatti, tamb)-hp.pno(cel)
WORKS FOR ORCHESTRAL WIND AND BRASS
PETER RACINE FRICKER SINFONIA 3232:422
EDWARD GREGSON CELEBRATION 2222:4331;T P Hp
ELIZABETH MACONCHY MUSIC FOR WIND AND BRASS 2222:4331:t
MICHAEL TIPPETT MOSAIC 2222:3221:t 2p pft hp
LEO SMIT is a major find I feel. He lived in Paris for a time, AND HIS MUSIC REFLECTS THE INFLUENCES OF Stravinsky, Poulenc, Milhaud and Ravel. He moved back to Amsterdam unwisely in 1937, and was murdered by the Nazis in 1943.
LEO SMIT (1900 – 1943) PIANO CONCERTO 2222:31111:t vc cb
LEO SMIT 6TET FOR PIANO AND WIND 1111:1 PNO
MY FAVORITES WITH A FEW ADDITIONS
Rodney Winther points out that any list of repertoire is out-of-date immediately, but they do serve as a starting point. I have a few works to add which are favorite pieces and which I have programmed repeatedly, and one or two discoveries.
HANS GAL DIVERTIMENTO 1121:21
Virtually a Mahler Symphony for wind octet
HOWARD BLAKE OCTET 0222:2
This is an absolute charming Octet, beautifully crafted with a teasing use of mixed metres which makes it a first class work for a conducting class.
GUY WOOLFENDEN SUITE FRANCAISE 2222:0
Here is rare film of Guy conducting, an octet without horns!
GUY WOOLFENDEN SERENADE FOR SOPHIA 2222;2
This is Serenade no 1 written after the birth of his first grandchild
RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT REFLECTIONS ON A SIXTEENTH CENTURY TUNE
A magical reworking of a piece he wrote for string orchestra.
WILLEM VEN OTTERLOO SYMPHONIETTA FOR TRIPLE WIND AND FOUR HORNS
A major symphonic work to put alongside the Richard Strauss works for woodwind and four horns
WILLEM VEN OTTERLOO SERENADE FOR BRASS, HARP, CELESTE AND PERCUSSION
A complementary work for brass, harp celeste and percussion, sadly rarely played.
PIANO AND WIND SEXTETS
Just come across these pieces to go with the Poulenc Sextet
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEU1dQrS_r0 THEODOR BLUME SEXTET
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGCg-erZMao LOUISE FARRANC SEXTET
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0vP327urm4 LEO SMIT SEXTET
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze2Z8NUKYH8 ROUSSEL DIVERTISSEMENT
Finally a link developed by Nikk Pilato with a great deal of information
WIND REPERTORY PROJECT http://www.windrep.org/Main_Page
My colleague points out the major problem with this repertoire, that it leaves out the saxophones. I would be very grateful if any colleague can recommend any fine works for between 10 and 25 players, involving saxophones. Please send to my email address:
I hope that you can find something useful here or in past web pages.