Chivalry dates back to the medieval institution of knighthood; while its meaning has changed over time, Of Chivalry and Valor celebrates some of the central tenets deeply rooted in the original chivalric code. The militaristic opening depicts a courageous battle where knights demonstrated their loyalty, bravery, and valor, followed by softer and gentler values such as generosity and selflessness. For the finale we return to the battlefield to witness the chivalrous warriors' heroic triumph. Of Chivalry and Valor was commissioned and premiered by Anthony Rivera, Eastern Technical High School, Baltimore County Public Schools and won the National Band Association Merrill Jones Composition Contest in 2014.
On a Catalonian Carol is a setting of the traditional Catalan carol El Noi de la Mare (The Child of the Mother). This lyric carol originates from the Catalan region of Spain, and the stylish influences of that country are evident in the flowing lines of the touching melody. This setting is not a direct transcription of the song but rather a carefully scored rendition that supports and enhances the elements of the original, allowing the simple beauty of the melody to be placed on full display.
Power Play was commissioned by band director Robert Ball and the Mill Creek Middle School Band, Shawnee, Kansas. This exciting addition to young band repertoire was written to deliver an energetic element to concert programs. Pushing the tempo will help players develop their technique and, along with exaggerating the accents, will contribute to the driving force of the piece. While the overall effect sounds difficult, it is very playable by middle or high school bands and will be a reliable power source for your next performance.
"Parsifal", written in 1882, was the final opera by composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883). The prelude is a miniature masterpiece consisting of only 116 measures. The form of the prelude is similar to that of the classical three-movement overture and consists of four musical motives: the mystical realm of the Holy Grail; the Grail itself in the Dresden Amen; Faith, represented by the brass chorale; and the Agony of Amfortas. This transcription by John R. Bourgeois faithfully adheres to Wagner's intent both in key relationships and orchestration.
Relentless is an aggressive and hard-charging piece for concert band that was inspired by the belief that we all, in our own way, have the ability to be unstoppable if we choose to be. Inside everyone there is a pool of positive energy, determination, and drive that, when utilized, can overcome any obstacle or hardship. We must all call on this inner strength and resolve to be relentless in the pursuit of our dreams and convictions.
This tone poem evokes an imaginary saga of the rise to power of a medieval realm led by a valiant young knight against tyrannical forces. A dramatic and bold opening sets the stage as these warriors set out to deliver the peasants from despair and oppression. The action intensifies until the warriors bring the battle to a victorious conclusion with the land and people they fought for emerging to become The Rising Kingdom.
Rondeau Royale was carefully composed to address the needs of both advancing and developing band students. The melody, countermelody and accompaniment include varied articulations as well as changes in dynamics and texture. It's written in a rondo form where, after the introduction, the main theme is stated, followed by short episodes that change the texture and character of the piece. The title Rondeau Royale takes on the French spelling, essentially translating as a "royal" or "regal" rondo.
Spirit of Olympus was commissioned by director Elaine Wersky and the Olympus Music Program on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Olympus Junior High School. Wersky asked that the celebratory work also provide a middle section that could serve as an alma mater for the school. The true spirit of the student body is reflected in the great opening fanfare in the high brass with strong support from the percussion section. The alma mater is first presented by the full woodwind choir supported with glistening metallic percussion as accompaniment. A lush full-band treatment follows, emphasizing the majestic import of the meaningful melody. An energetic finale brings the work to a fittingly proud and regal close.
American pop culture is full of examples of the merging and melding of different artistic styles that end up with surprising and entertaining results. This work for young band is no exception as the timeless music of Tchaikovsky often heard at the holidays trades in ballet shoes for guiros and timbales. Many of the original rhythms of the ballet music have been altered to convey an authentic-sounding samba dance style. Holding true to the form of the original work, this setting of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy presents a decidedly different twist on a holiday classic, allowing students to learn to play a wonderful Latin dance style.
This touching folk song is also known as The Turtle Dove and it captures the essence of the Aeolion mode in a warm, somber, yet flowing melodic line. Appearing in numerous versions, the song is a musical gem that has been passed down in various forms from one folk singer to another. The song may have originated as a 17th century broadside; though many well-known composers have used it as inspiration, this version for band is completely fresh in conception.
The Thunderer was written by "The March King," John Philip Sousa, in 1889; it was said that it was Mrs. Sousa's favorite march. This well-known march is adapted here for young bands and still retains all the charm and appeal of the original. With the woodwind parts lowered and the rhythms and snare drum part simplified, it's very playable by most middle school bands. It's a great way for young musicians to experience the music of this famous composer while learning to play in classic march style with separation and dynamic contrast.
Franz von Suppe was born Francesco Ezechiele Ermenegildo Cavaliere di Suppe-Demielli on April 18, 1819. His father and grandfather were both civil servants, and he was distant relative of Gaetano Donizetti. He displayed his talent at an early age when he began to compose music as a young boy, but despite this he received no encouragement from his father to pursue a career in music. He went on to compose many operas, most of which remain relatively obscure; however, the overtures to "Poet and Peasant" and "Light Cavalry" are well known and have been quite popular in transcriptions for concert band and widely used in movies and cartoons. Highly exuberant and spirited, Vienna Jubilation Overture contains all the thrilling elements that are evident in all of von Suppe's remarkable overtures.