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 at all familiar with BandMusicPDF, you realize 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 (Tchaikovsky): Arrangers: Laurendeau (Carl Fischer, 1904) and Tousignant (BandMusicPDF, 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) (Verdi): Arranger: 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 (Saint-Saëns). Arranger: Paul Hanna (BandMusicPDF). 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 (Luigini). Arranger: 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.
España Rhapsodie (Chabrier). Arranger: 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 (Offenbach). Arranger: Rollinson (Oliver Ditson Company, 1909). Grade = 4. Time = 7.00 minutes. Condensed score. 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.
Humoreske, Op 101, No 7 (Dvořák). Arranger: 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 (Gomes). Arranger: 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 (von Weber) Arranger: 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 (von Weber) Arranger: 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 (Rossini/Respighi) Arranger: 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!
Mignon Overture & Gavotte (Thomas) Arranger: Mackenzie Rogan (Kalmus). 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.
Queen of Sheba (Entrance and Procession from the opera) (Goldmark) Arranged: 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.
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.