A set of five Russian folk song miniatures inspired by our trips to Russia in 1997 and 2007. Some of the tunes are taken from a late 19th century compilation by Tchaikovsky, the last two from other finds, ending with the ubiquitous “Kalinka.” The title, Baboushkas, is after the name of the headscarf worn by working women in Eastern Europe and is also a term of endearment for for older women, particularly grandmothers. Grade 4, 8:20. Listen to a midi recording of Baboushkas on the Recordings page below. Click on the link below to view the score to Baboushkas.
A major work for mature ensembles with complete instrumentation. Written for the 2012 composition contest of the Union Musical Torrevejense, Alicante, España, Rasputin is a four movement work depicting some of the life events of the rather despicable character Gregorii Rasputin. Part 1, The Mad Monk, has some manic moments balanced by an Orthodox hymn, the two representing the dichotomy of his life. English Horn plays the first version of Rasputin’s theme in a somewhat haunting setting. Part 2, The Entry of Czar Nicholas and His Court, is a processional fanfare incorporating the well know Hymn to the Czar used by Tchaikovsky in 1812 and March Slav. Bright and dramatic, it also has a very active horn melody. Part 3, The Mesmerization of Czarina Alexandria, for woodwinds and percussion, is an etherial whole-tone color canvas with metal percussion instruments providing mystery and shimmer. Solo flute and bassoon interact in the hypnotizing and changing of Alexandria. Part 4, 30 December 1916, The Death of Rasputin, is a portrayal of the demise of Rasputin at the hands of member of the Romanov family. He was so despised by them that they plotted for his elimination. They poisoned him, beat him, shot him and, still alive, then pushed him under the ice on a canal off the Neva River in St. Petersburg. Grade 5-6, 15:30. Listen to a midi recording of all four movements of Rasputin on the Recordings page below. Click on the link below to view the score to Rasputin.
Quintalos was written at the request of the elementary instrumental music teachers of the Roseville, MI, schools for their 2013 Band-O-Rama. In wanting to avoid the piece sounding like most other grade 1.5 works and to provide an opportunity to expand the musical experiences of the students, Quintalos is in 5-4 throughout and uses quintile harmony in the opening and closing sections. The asymmetric 5-4 meter is no more or less difficult for young players than 3-4. They have an analog for the meter every time they look at their hand. There are several percussion parts calling for the percussionists to think tonally. A work sheet for working on the 5-4 concept is included. Grade 1.5, 3:30. Listen to a midi recording of Quintalos on the Recordings page below. Clink on the link below to view the score to Quintalos.
Nothing Is Worth More Than This Day
Written for the Central Michigan University Alumni Concert Band, This Day is written in memory of Jack Saunders, former assistant director of bands at CMU and my teacher, mentor, colleague and friend for many years. Much is playful, tongue in cheek and light hearted, as was Jack. This Day was premiered in June of 2012 by the CMU Alumni Concert Band. Grade 4.5, 5:40. Listen to a midi recording of This Day on the Recordings page below. Click on the link below to view the score to This Day.
Baksheesh, the Arabic word for “tip” or “bribe,” is Middle Eastern in flavor and based on an Algerian octatonic scale with intervals of 1-1/2-1-1/2-1/2-1/2-1 1/2-1/2. It also utilizes authentic Middle Eastern percussion instruments to establish the sense of being in that part of the world in much the same way that a film score sets the locale. While the harmonic content is primarily Western, the melodic flavor is that of the East and the meter a comfortable 13-8 in much of the piece. There are brief flute, oboe (cued in alto sax) and euphonium solos and a flute-horn duet. Grade 4-4.5, 5:15. Baksheesh was played at Midwest in December 2011 by the VanderCook College of Music Symphonic Band, Stacey Larson conducting, to a very enthusiastic audience response. The first purchase inquiry came during the concert by email from one of the attendees! Comments included: “I am thrilled to see quality literature infused with a ‘world’ flavor that is both magical and, unfortunately, rare.” ”I had a student two years ago ask why there was no music from India or the Middle East for wind ensemble. The answer: you hadn’t written it yet!” “I am a band director who attended Midwest and heard Baksheesh. I program diverse music and my Arabic students have been begging me for a piece like this! I love this piece and it’s perfect for my band.” Listen to the Midwest performance of Baksheesh on the Recordings page below. Click on the link below to view the score of Baksheesh.
The Bizarre Bazaar
A piece for better middle school or growing ability high school groups, Bazaar is a place to introduce asymmetric meter, a regular 7-8 in this case, with the added interest of a Persian scale. It is interesting for the players and audience while providing a solid teaching tool for feeling comfortable in “irregular” meter. The Persian scale and use of Middle Eastern and African percussion instruments give the work an exotic flavor. The work has tuba and flute solos and active, meaningful, ethnic percussion. Grade 3, 4:15. Listen to a reading demo of The Bizarre Bazaar on the Recordings page below. Click on the link below to view the score of The Bizarre Bazaar.
A gentle and melodic setting of a simple Flemish children’s song that my grandmother would sing with my sisters and me as she did with my father a generation before. Neycha begins with a statement of the tune in solo clarinet before launching into variations and fantasy on the subject melody. It is at times whimsical and playful while at others, more somber and reflective. The dramatic climax comes at the intertwining of the children’s song with a hymn tune sung at my father’s memorial service. The work ends with a simple statement of the original tune in toy piano or/and keyboard percussion. Grade 4-4.5, 5:00. Listen to a midi rendition of Neycha on the Recordings page below. Click on the link below to view the score of Neycha.
A concerto for trumpet (in C) and wind band, Dribble Drabble is a three-movement work for professional level trumpet player and advanced ensemble. There is considerable musical interaction between the soloist and other instrumentalists. The first movement is angular with frequently changing meter, active rhythmic interplay and contains a cadenza. The second movement is balladic in style and in a consistent three. It contrasts harmonically (more tonal) and melodically (more lyrical) with the outer movements. The third movement is in straight-forward simple meter and is sub-titled “Doppleganger,” as the tune turns back on itself at times. The solo is grade 6 and the accompaniment grade 5. First movement runs 5:00, second 3:35, third 3:30. Dribble Drabble was completed in February of 2009 and given its premiere by Dr. Mark Ponzo, trumpet, of Northern Illinois University accompanied by the NIU Wind Symphony, Dr. Thomas Bough, conductor, in April of 2010. Listen to a recording of Dribble Drabble on the Recordings page below. Click on the links below to view scores to each movement of Dribble Drabble. A version for trumpet solo with piano and percussionist is also available.
Subtitled “I should worry?” was completed in December, 2008. This satirical work starts with a rubato duet between the baritone saxophone and timpani (I did say that I strive to make my music somewhat unusual) before plunging into a twelve-eight romp with the angular tune first stated in solo clarinet. Later there is a solo statement of the melody in euphonium with percussion accompaniment. An excursion into active simple meter precedes the work’s return to twelve-eight for the conclusion. It ends with a quiet, active moment. Players are called upon to use the full compass of their instruments. This can be a lot of fun! Grade 5, 5:00. Listen to a midi rendition of Ishkabibble on the Recordings page below. Click on the link below to view the score of Ishkabibble.
A set of variations on a very prosaic subject, which is never stated in its original form in the piece. The variations create opportunities to disguise the subject and logically provide a great deal of variety in a relatively short amount of time. My favorites are the off-kilter waltz and the tango, the latter being a musical seduction between the oboe and bassoon. Several of the variations are derived from motives within the subject. All sections of the band are required to make significant contribution. Dybbuk is published by Hal Leonard. Grade 5, 6:45. Listen to a full length recording on halleonard.com . See The Instrumentalist review of Dybbuk on the Reviews page.
“Scaramouch”, Symphony No. 3 for Winds and Percussion
Composed in 1971, Scaramouch was the winner of the CBDNA award for the best original manuscript for band for the biennium 1971-1973. It is a four-movement work, the first and fourth being for full band. The second movement is for five-part flutes (including alto flute) and metal percussion instruments and has been performed as a stand-alone piece. The third movement is entirely wood and membranophone non-pitched percussion. Grade 6, 17:00. Listen to the EKU recording of Scaramouch on the Recordings page below. See The Instrumentalist review of Scaramouch by John Paynter on the Reviews page.
I was able to negotiate the return of the rights to the work in 2018. I have since done a new edition that resolves some of the harmonic and rhythmic ambiguities, added a trombone part (4), changed some orchestration and "improved" a few spots. The new edition is available with a full score and part pdfs. The two editions are not compatible. If you prefer the original, I can help you with any replacement parts you may need. Click on the link below to view the score of the new edition of Scaramouch.
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Babooshkas mp3 (mp3)Download
05 Baksheesh 1 (mp3)Download
02 Scaramouch, Mvt I 1 (mp3)Download
03 Scaramouch, Mvt II 1 (mp3)Download
04 Scaramouch, Mvt III 1 (mp3)Download
05 Scaramouch, Mvt IV 1 (mp3)Download
Bizarre Bazaar, The (mp3)Download
Neycha Edit (midi) (mp3)Download
Ishkabibble (midi) (mp3)Download
04 Dribble Drabble 1 (mp3)Download
05 Dribble Drabble 2 (mp3)Download
06 Dribble Drabble 3 (mp3)Download
Quintalos Score (pdf)Download
Baboushkas Score (pdf)Download
Baksheesh Score (pdf)Download
Bizarre Bazaar Score (pdf)Download
Neycha Score (pdf)Download
Dribble 1st mvt Score (pdf)Download
Dribble 2nd met Score (pdf)Download
Dribble 3rd mvt Score (pdf)Download
Ishkabibble Score (pdf)Download
Rasputin Score US (pdf)Download