We have been encouraging band directors, music librarians and others to share their suggestions for Golden Age band music that is fun to play and pleasing to audiences. Here are favorites from Marcus L. Neiman, conductor of the Medina Community Band.
If you are familiar with BandMusicPDF, you have noticed that many of the selections were published with only a solo cornet/conductor part. Scores (usually condensed) are the exception, and full scores are a rarity. This installment features larger works from the site that have either condensed or full scores.
1812 Overture (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) Arrangers: Laurendeau (Carl Fischer, 1904) and Tousignant (BandMusic PDF Library, 2012). Grade = 5; Time = 15 minutes. The Laurendeau arrangement contains a condensed score while the Tousignant has a full score (which he suggests printing to 11″ x 17″). With or without cannons & explosions, Tchaikovsky’s classic is worth the time and effort from a musical or educational standpoint.
Aida (Selections) (Giuseppe Verdi, arr. Laurendeau) Carl Fischer, 1907. Grade = 4; Time = 7 minutes. Verdi’s opera in four acts provides many familiar selections for students and audience. Laurendeau’s arrangement is well done and worth reading.
Bacchanale from Samson & Delilah (Camille Saint-Saëns, arr. Paul Hanna) BandMusic PDF Library. Grade = 5; Time = 7.40 minutes. Like so many of the standard repertoire selections, the story about the conception and first performances of the 1877 selection are as interesting as playing the piece. Working on a classic like the Saint-Saëns with a full score is a real treat! Hanna’s arrangement is well done and well worth the read.
Ballet Egyptien (Alexandre Luigini, arr. Laurendeau) Carl Fischer, 1903. Grade = 5; Time = 12.15 minutes. Condensed score. The 1875 selection is the best known of composer Alexandre Luigini and part of the standard orchestra repertoire. Any, or all, of the four movements in Luigini’s suite are playable. Not all are grade five, and any would be a great addition to a spring or summer concert.
Caprice Italien (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, arr. Laurendeau) Carl Fischer, 1903. Grade – 5; Time – 16 minutes. Condensed piano score. Modern instrumentation. A great Italian classic bandstration. Not for the faint of heart – this one is a challenge.
Cloth of Gold (Fred Jewell) Carl Fischer, 1922. Grade – 3; Time – 4.00 minutes. This was evidently one of Jewell’s most popular pieces during the 1920s and 1930s. Very accessible and worth performing.
España Rhapsodie (Emmanuel Chabrier, arr. Safranek) Carl Fischer, 1911. Grade = 5. Time = 7.00 minutes. Condensed score. If you have a group needing a challenge, this might be what you are seeking. It is the most famous composition of French composer Emmanuel Chabrier, written after an 1883 trip to Spain.
Fantasia from Grand Duchess (Jacques Offenbach, arr. Rollinson) Oliver Ditson Company, 1909. Grade = 4. Time = 7.00 minutes. Condensed score. Seeking EbA3/4. Composed in 1867 following Offenbach’s success with Le Belle Hélène (1864) and La vie parisienne (1866), La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (1867) was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Less familiar today, it deserves attention and playing.
Fingal’s Cave (Felix Mendelssohn, arr. Safranek) Carl Fischer, 1905. Grade – 4; Time – 11.00 minutes. Piano score. Also known as The Hebrides, this is an extraordinarily successful, and perhaps unequaled, example of the use of music to depict something of the physical world.
Folk Song Suite (Ralph Vaughan Williams) Boosey & Co., 1924. Grade – 5; Time – 10 minutes. Condensed score. Written with Sea Songs. The ‘score and parts’ PDF includes a condensed score. The ‘score’ PDF is a separate full score. A British band classic and staple of the band repertoire.
The Golden Dragon (Karl L. King) C.L. Barnhouse, 1917. Grade 3. Time – 12.00 minutes. Piano score. Dedicated to Charles Kanally. Generally considered the finest overture King ever wrote, The Golden Dragon, which, despite its oriental sound, was really named after a famous circus wagon used in parades whenever the circus came to town. This overture was one of King’s best-selling compositions and was widely performed by the finest bands in the nation. Lots of solos throughout.
Humoreske, Op 101, No 7 (Antonin Dvořák, arr. Safranek) Carl Fischer, 1909. Grade = 4. Time = 3.40 minutes. Condensed score. Most familiar to those who have studied piano, this 1894 composition is probably one of the most famous from Dvořák’s pen. Safranek’s arrangement is tasteful and timeless.
Il Guarany Overture (Antonio Carlos Gomes, arr. Clarke) Carl Fischer, 1904/1931. Grade = 5. Time = 8.30 minutes. Condensed score. Antônio Carlos Gomes’ 1870 opera is the first Brazilian opera to gain acclaim outside Brazil. The overture was popular with concert bands of the great era and was performed by Sousa’s Band numerous times. A ‘barn-burner!’
Invitation to the Waltz (Carl Maria von Weber, arr. Meyrelles/Katz) Carl Fischer, 1891. Grade 5. Time: 9.30 minutes. Condensed score. Carl Maria von Weber’s 1819 original is probably better remembered with the 1841 Hector Berlioz orchestration. It was written for listening, rather than for dancing and was one of the first programmatic descriptive pieces of the dance form. This arrangement is challenging, but well worth the time and effort to bring it to your audience.
Jubel Overture (Carl Maria von Weber, arr. Tobani ) Carl Fischer, 1898. Grade = 5. Time = 7.50 minutes. Condensed score. Carl Maria von Weber’s 1818 overture exists as an independent concert work without relationship to Jubel-Kantate Overture. The work is very much in the style of the composer.
La Boutique Fantasque (Gioachino Rossini/Ottorino Respighi, arr. Godfrey) Chappell, 1922. Grade = 5. Time = 21.04 minutes. Condensed score. Also known as “The Magic Toyshop.” A delightful addition to a winter/holiday concert. The Godfrey arrangement offers a number of the better known and most popular movements from the original 1919 orchestral suite. If you have done Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker,” you will enjoy this work. Selected movements or the entire suite will work well for a holiday, spring, or summer concert!
Light Cavalry (Franz von Suppé, arr. Henry Fillmore). Fillmore Brothers. Co, 1922. Grade – 4; Time – 6.45 minutes. Condensed piano score. Although originally from an operetta, the overture has reached standalone status as a concert work. Cartoon music at it’s best!
Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture (Felix Mendelssohn, arr. Laurendeau). Carl Fischer, 1909. Grade – 4; Time – 12 minutes. Condensed piano score.
Mignon Overture & Gavotte (Ambroise Thomas, arr. Mackenzie Rogan) Chappell, 1896. Grade = 5. Time = 8.00 minutes. Conductor/solo clarinet; condensed score. The opera Mignon was premiered in 1866. Both the opera and the overture to the opera were extremely successful all over Europe and the overture was part of the standard repertoire in America.
Orpheus (Orphée aux Enfers) (Jacques Offenbach, arr. Laurendeau) Carl Fischer, 1899. Grade – 4; Time – 10.13 minutes. Conductor/piano score. Modern instrumentation. The library also has the 1886 D.W. Reeves transcription.
Princess of India Overture (Karl L. King) C.L. Barnhouse, 1912. Grade – 3; Time – 8:15. Score/piano score. Modern instrumentation. At the time the overture was published King had just signed on as a baritone player for the Sells-Floto circus under the direction of W.P. English. It is logical to assume that the overture was composed for the pre-show concert.
Poet and Peasant (Franz von Suppé, arr. Henry Fillmore) Carl Fischer, 1922. Grade – 4; Time – 9:50 minutes. Condensed score. Another of the favorite cartoon classic overtures. (The library has five arrangements of this overture, as well as Fillmore’s parody, The Poet, Peasant and Light Calvaryman March).
Queen of Sheba. Entrance and Procession from the opera. (Carl Goldmark, arr. Tom Clark) G. Schirmer, 1918. Grade = 4. Time = 7.42 minutes. Condensed score. Goldmark’s opera premiered in 1875 and became his most famous opera. This could well be used for commencement processional or recessional.
Raymond (The Queen’s Secret) Overture (Ambroise Thomas, arr. Safranek) Carl Fischer, 1912. Grade – 5; Time – 8:45 minutes. Condensed Score. Spoiler : the queen’s secret was that she smoked!
Symphony No. 4 in f minor – Finale (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, arr. Safranek) Carl Fischer, 1912. Grade 5; Time – 7 minutes. Modern instrumentation.
Zampa (Ferdinand Hérold, arr. Safranek) Carl Fischer, 1912. Grade – 4; Time – 8:20 minutes. One of Hérold’s great overtures in a brilliant transcription for band. “Zampa, ou La fiancée de marbre (Zampa, or the Marble Bride)” is an opéra comique from 1831. The library has three arrangements of the overture, by Meyrelles, Safranek, and Tousignant. One of my favorites and one the audience really likes!
Marcus Neiman is a retired high school band director and arts education administrator. He has conducted the Medina Community Band since September of 1972, and is currently on the music education faculty at Kent State University.