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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, March 12, 2007


The PMC Quick Note is a weekly service provided to all area directors.  It is part of our mission to support the lives of band directors across the Midwest.  The weekly Quick Note contains helpful tips and suggestions from area directors, spotlights on area college and university band programs, calendars of upcoming events, advocacy articles promoting music education, links to helpful web resources, and much more.  Comments, suggestions, ideas, and articles are always welcome.


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Artistic Music for Young Band (Grade II and III) by Dr. Brian Hopwood
The following is an annotated list of works for young band. The music was selected using the “criteria for choosing music” mentioned in the previous article (see “Band Repertoire”).

Flourish for Wind Band (1939) Ralph Vaughan Williams
Grade III 1:40 Oxford
This “fanfare” works best as a concert opener and includes a legato middle section. The music is excellent for developing ensemble sound and sonority; it is recommended for any level. Except for the high A in the first trumpet part, a most playable work by a major composer.

Fanfare, Ode & Festival (1982) Bob Margolis (after C. Gervaise)
Grade III 4:00 Manhattan Beach
This is an arrangement of three Renaissance dances from a collection entitled Danceries by Pierre Attaignant. The music is not “watered down” or diluted in order to match the abilities of young players. It is music that is appropriate for the technical level of the young band and arranged masterfully. The musicality of this arrangement does not give the impression of being “simple music”; indeed, it might be appropriate for a high school or college band! (1) Fanfare is a spirited, rhythmic eighth-note tune played by the first trumpets and accompanied by brass choir and snare. Woodwinds play a repeat of the tune followed by the return of the first trumpets punctuated by woodwinds and percussion; (2) Ode is a contrasting slow movement requiring control and good tone quality; (3) Festival again features trumpets on the opening melody followed by woodwind fragments. The piece is headed for a “bang-up” finish, but diverts to a soft, delicate cadence. The tempo is quick and the style is light. Program notes are included in the conductor's score.

Air for Band (1956) Frank Erickson
Grade II 3:15 Bourne
A band “classic,” Air for Band represents an ideal medium for teaching phrasing, balance, blend, legato style, tone quality, and intonation. The work opens softly in C minor with the melody played by unison clarinets. Through gradual instrument additions and increases in range and dynamics a climax is reached midway. Development of earlier motives is followed by a modulation to C major and a maestoso ending.

Ballad (1976) Vaclav Nelhybel
Grade II 8:30 J. Christopher
Ballad, a theme and variations, is scored in typical Nelhybel style through alternate use of the band's three instrumental groups (woodwind, brass, percussion) in the opening theme. Subsequent variations feature different instrumental combinations: (1) Espressivo, for two clarinets and alto saxophone; (2) Religioso, for woodwinds and percussion; (3) Marcato, for brass and percussion; (4) Cantabile, for clarinet choir and low brass; and (5) Misterioso, for flute, clarinet, and percussion. The work concludes with a return to the theme. Soloists will be challenged musically along with the ensemble's ability to play in tune (many unison passages); nonetheless, in the hands of a serious conductor, this music can provide young players with many expressive moments.

Sinfonia VI (1982) Timothy Broege
Grade III 6:00 Manhattan Beach
This original four-movement work is highly recommended for young bands. (1) Andante features a solo group of three clarinets playing music of a melancholy character answered by both small groups and full band; (2) Allegretto consists of solo baritone horn performing a playful tune in changing meters with a light accompaniment; (3) Andante is a somber duet between solo alto saxophone and trumpet answered by full band accompaniment; and (4) Allegro features the percussion section in a boisterous style with effective contrasts in dynamics and rhythm. Sinfonia Six is a major work for young band.

Canto (1978) W. Francis McBeth
Grade II 4:30 Southern
This work was commissioned by and dedicated to the All-Japan Association on the occasion of their fortieth anniversary. The composition is based loosely on the melody Sakura, a well-known Japanese folk song. Alternate use of the dorian mode and the pentatonic scale (Hirajoshi) characterizes the melodic/harmonic framework. The major rehearsal problems will be the proper execution of the accents and rushing of the eighth note passages. The first trumpet part also includes some G's and A's above the staff. The composer provides helpful performance suggestions regarding the percussion in the score. Hand-clapping by different sections of the band is vital to the rhythmic movement of the piece and combined with various percussion effects provides an interesting and enjoyable work for the player and listener.

The Battle Pavane (1551) Tielman Susato/Bob Margolis
Grade III 3:00 Manhattan Beach
This is a wonderful work that requires maturity of tone, legato tonguing style, dynamic sensitivity, and solid rhythm. The main challenge is in building the rather calm opening into a broad and intense climax. The arranging is brilliant and makes the desired musical result possible. From four to eight percussionists can be used because of the flexible scoring. The score also contains excellent program and rehearsal notes. This piece represents serious, worthwhile literature for the young band.

Ye Banks and Braes O' Bonnie Doon (1949) Percy Grainger
Grade III 2:45 G. Schirmer
Grainger's original setting of this was done in 1901 for men's chorus and whistlers. Only thirty measures in length, this band classic poses musical challenges for any ensemble. The tune is a Scottish folk song and requires beautiful tone quality, intonation, balance, blend, phrasing, and tempo flexibility. The only technical problems are the sustained high G in the horn part and the high A (space above the fourth leger line) in the first clarinet part. The horn note is essential, but the clarinet, because it doubles the flute, could be reassigned an octave lower. A “must” for every band library.

Three Ayres From Gloucester (1964) Hugh Stuart
Grade III 4:30 Shawnee Press
Set in the style of early English folk songs, this suite consists of three contrasting movements: (1) The Jolly Earl of Cholmondeley includes solos for clarinet and trumpet and is in a light-hearted style; (2) Ayre for Eventide features the horn section on a warm, lyrical melody (including a high G); (3) The Fiefs of Wembley is a 6/8 dance utilizing contrasting material between the woodwinds and brass. This is an excellent piece for teaching style in addition to musical fundamentals.

Belle Qui Tiens Ma Vie (1589) Thoinot Arbeau/Bob Margolis
Grade II 2:45 Manhattan Beach
This beautiful and stately Renaissance pavane is arranged for band in a technically easy version; however, it contains enough musical substance to challenge more mature groups. The moderate tempo and wide dynamic range require good control from the players who must also strive for a sustained, cantabile style throughout. The arrangement includes a facsimile of the original 16th-century song in addition to extensive rehearsal and program notes.

Early English Suite arr. Walter Finlayson
Grade II 7:50 Boosey & Hawkes
This four-movement suite, scored and arranged sensitively for young band, requires only modest technique but has many worthwhile musical demands. Trumpet Menuet by Duncombe features a fanfare-like figure answered by a legato phrase; Sonatina by Duncombe consists of a lyrical melody scored mostly for woodwinds; Menuett by Hook has effective dynamic contrasts within a legato melody; Hunting Jig by Duncombe is in 6/8 and utilizes a trumpet marcato motive in contrast with a lilting legato part in the woodwinds. There is minimal percussion scoring.

Variation Overture (1962) Clifton Williams
Grade III 5:45 Ludwig
This theme and variations was written within the framework of the concert overture form and consists of a theme, based on the first three notes of the major scale, altered into four different settings: waltz, chorale, fanfare, and march styles. The technical demands lie mainly in the fanfare and march sections and may be coupled with problems of endurance for the young player. This is a challenging, but musical composition by a respected band composer.

Dr. Brian Hopwood teaches symphonic winds, chamber orchestra, conducting, instrumental fundamentals, applied trumpet, and methods of teaching instrumental music at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. Hopwood earned a Bachelor of Music Education at Oral Roberts University, a Master of Music Education from the University of Colorado, a Diploma of the Faculty Fine Arts in Music from the University of Calgary, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Arizona State University. Hopwood has 27 years of teaching experience in the public schools of Colorado, the last 23 years at Manitou Springs High School, in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Contact Your Local Palen Music Center

Can we assist you with anything?  Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.


(417) 882-7000
Bob Hopkins and Mike Brown
Springfield North (417) 862-2700 Burl Williams
Columbia (573) 256-5555 Robert Pitts
Joplin (417) 781-3100 Wayne Blades
Liberty (816) 792-8301 Ken Crisp


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