recommended by Ken T., Band Education Specialist
Burnished Brass by James Barnes, Grade 4
Written in a quick two, this “Show-Style Opener” lives up to its title with much of the thematic materials in the opening theme falling to the brass, while the woodwinds interject flourishes and counterpoints. The woodwinds come to the fore during the middle section until the brass take over again when the original theme returns, leading to a rousing finish.
Joyful Variants arr. Naoya Wada, Grade 3
Celebrate and praise this legendary composer! “Joyful Variants” is a powerful setting using the famous theme of “Ode to Joy” from the ninth symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. This joyous work includes quotations of melodies from other Beethoven works, cleverly hidden. Find them all, and then you will be a Beethoven master! An excellent choice for Concert opener or encore piece. Brilliant and exciting music!
Kvetchers by Laura Estes, Grade 2.5
“Kvetchers” (translation: complainers) is a fun and quirky concert march in the style of a musical joke. Wonderfully scored, each section has its own “surprise,” perfect for working independent section playing. Audiences will really enjoy this one!
Lorva Horovel (from Armenian Dances, Part II) by Alfred Reed/arr. Rob Romeyn, Grade 3
This artistic and brilliant arrangement Alfred Reed’s “Armenian Dances, Part 2,” a monumental Band work, is an abridged version of the third movement that encapsulates the most exciting parts of the piece, all while making the music much more practical and accessible to developing bands. Smaller and less experienced groups can now experience the genius of one of Alfred Reed’s most popular works, with reduced instrumentation that is carefully respectful of the original. An exciting addition to any concert or festival program. Thrilling!
A Maid in Bedlam arr. Randall D. Standridge, Grade 3
A stunningly beautiful Scottish folk song that tells a tale of longing, loss, and redemption. This arrangement starts in the style of an intriguing folk dance that evolves into a mournful, lyrical moment. Then taking on a more familiar character, the music pays homage to the sound of classic British folk song settings by generations of composers, helping to preserve great music from our world’s history.
Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin/arr. Robert Longfield, Grade 4
George Gershwin’s iconic masterpiece is now available in this well-paced, abridged arrangement by Robert Longfield for concert band and piano soloist. Since its premiere in 1924, “Rhapsody In Blue” has become one of the most popular and beloved American concert works. Its jazzy themes have been featured on the concert stage as well as in movies and commercials. One of the finest musical works ever produced in America, “Rhapsody In Blue” is a classic that will enthrall your audience. Superb!
Side Partners by Herbert L. Clarke/arr. Andrew Glover, Grade 3
The era of old-time concerts in the park comes back to life with “Side Partners.” Composed by cornet virtuoso, Herbert L. Clarke, for himself and his long-time friend, Sousa Band trombonist Frank Holton, this delightful piece can be played by two cornets/trumpets, two trombones, two euphoniums, or any combination of these instruments. Feature your two outstanding brass players in this charming work. The accompaniment requires a minimum of rehearsal, and the solo parts are flashy without being overly demanding. An excellent choice also for community bands. Delightful music!
We Shall Overcome arr. Lisa Galvin, Grade 3
The beloved gospel song, “We Shall Overcome,” which became the great anthem of the civil rights movement, is now available in this inspiring and very playable arrangement by Lisa Galvin. Providing an inspiring backdrop for healing and triumph, this timely piece is appropriate for any performance, and can offer a number of learning opportunities across the curriculum. Whatever life’s obstacles may be, your advancing musicians can help conjure a sense of hope and fortitude with lush harmonies and expressive transitions that build to an exuberant finish. Powerful!
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About the Author:
A former band director, Ken taught grade 5-12 band and music appreciation in both public and parochial schools in central Ohio, and has been at Stanton’s since 2004. His iPod ranges from jazz and funk to classic and alternative rock, and symphonies. His interests include reading, history, traditional amusement parks, the Muppets, and hockey (especially the Penguins).
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