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A Celebration Of American Composers

Samuel Barber - born 1910 died 1981

  • Commando March Schirmer
  • Commando March Schirmer

Aaron Copland - born 1900 died 1990

  • Emblems Boosey
  • Red Pony Suite Boosey
  • Outdoor Overture Boosey
  • Shaker Variations Boosey

Ernst Krenek - born 1900 died 1991

  • Dream Sequence European American Music
  • Drei Lustige Marsche op 44 Universal
  • Kleine Blasmusik Universal
  • Kleine Sinfonie Universal
  • Pentagon for Winds ASCAP
  • Symphony for Winds & Percussion Universal

Wallingford Riegger - born 1885 died 1861

  • Dance Rhythms AMP
  • Introduction & Fugue Salabert
  • New Dance for Band AMP

Gunther Schuller - born 1925

  • Double Wind & Brass Quintet AMP
  • In Praise of Wind Margun
  • Study in Textures AMP

William Schuman - born 1910 died 1992

  • Chester Overture Presser
  • When Jesus Wept Presser
  • Be Glad, Then America Presser
  • George Washington Bridge Schirmer
  • Schirmer Schirmer

It is curious but convenient that we celebrate man's achievement decimally. From the age of fifty onwards, any artist, sports personality or statesman can expect to be lauded every five years with increasing extravagance, even if the intervening years are clouded by total obscurity. From eighty onwards, one achieves the status of Grand Old Man

Importance of Aaron Copland

Copland made the break that took American music away from tarnished provincialism into a powerful, modern, very personal kind of speech. He also helped break the stranglehold of the German domination on American Music. Harold C. Schonberg

Copland was certainly the leader in his generation; he put America on the musical map, partially through his own music and partially through his love and advocacy of the music of his colleagues, men like Roger Sessions, (with whom he ran a concert series to play American music), Roy Harris, Walter Piston, Virgil Thompson, William Schuman and Samuel Barber. Of Copland's music for band, Emblems is the only major original work, written 1963/1964 on commission from the CBDNA "to enrich the band repertory with music that is representative of the composer's best work An Outdoor Overturewas first written for orchestra in 1938, but was scored by Copland himself in 1941, and his interest in the medium is further shown by his Shaker Variations of 1956, written for John Paynter and the Northwestern University band. and by his own arrangement of the Red Pony Suitemade in 1969. Most of his music is challenging, about Grade V standard, though the Shaker Variations is Grade IV and would be an excellent introduction to his music for the band of average ability (Associated Board Grade 5/6)

Riegger, Krenek & Barber

The music of Riegger is little known in the UK, although he has a couple of works in the current catalogues. His works for wind ensemble or band include the Introduction and Fugue for cello, winds and timpani op 74, New Dance and Dance Rhythms.The latter is a relatively simple introduction to mixed metres, about Grade IV, and is available from Faber and Faber. Krenek is another European composer to have emigrated to the States; he has over 200 opus numbers to his credit, including the Jazz opera Jonny spielt auf,performed in the UK by Opera North, and several works for band. Unfortunately, Samuel Barber, who like Copland is one of the most accessible of the American composers, has only once turned to the medium. The Commandos March is an excellent (though very expensive) work.

Schuller & Schuman

Both Schuman and Schuller have been very active in the field of wind band and as heads of great conservatoires. Schuller was the former president of the New England Conservatory, Boston, where he introduced staff and students to a wide range of musical activity from Sousa to Schoenberg, Klezmer to Scott Joplin, and where he founded the Wind Ensemble programme under Frank Battisti. His most ambitious work is In Praise of Winds, a Symphony of forty minutes scored for over 90 players. His best known wind work is probably the Symphony for Brass.

William Schuman was for many years President of the Juillard School, and he has created seven works of considerable importance for band. Perhaps a good start would be with George Washington Bridge,which lasts about 7 minutes and is graded IV, but which needs a good band to play the rhythms accurately and at tempo.