News & Views Thursday, September 20, 2018

Exciting New Programmatic Pieces for High School Band Tuesday, January 28, 2014

barn-012-4207-00-fAside from filling a unique role in your concert programming, programmatic works for band can be great for musical growth and development, fun and motivating for students, and provide points of imaginative thematic and sonic interest for your audience.  They also draw from a wide range of inspiration – from the literary (Call of the Wild) to the magical (Hocus Pocus), the mythical (The Phantom Herd Across the Western Sky) to the historical (The Ides of March; Voyage to the Edge of the World), fostering imagination and creativity within your students, and creating great cross-curricular connections.  Whatever your interest in programming any of these titles, our band staff enthusiastically recommends them for their musical and music teaching qualities alone.

Call of the Wild
Brian Balmages
Grade 3
Based on the novel by Jack London, this powerful work depicts a heroic dog’s struggle as he progressively moves from domesticated animal to a creature of the wild.  The powerful opening fanfare over dissonant woodwind trills moves into a fast-paced section as Buck has his brutal introduction into primitive law. The music becomes angrier as dramatic battles occur along with long journeys without adequate food and water. Eventually the music becomes heroic and resolute as Buck finally completes his transformation, returning to the wild.

Hocus Pocus
James Syler
Grade 3.5
Mischief and fun abound in this magical work that evokes images of some of our favorite young wizards, including the sorcerer’s apprentice. A mystical opening features flute and percussion before moving into a tarantella, a fast dance in 6/8 that almost has a delirious character to it. Themes collide, intensity rises, and pulse quickens as the music moves forward at a feverish rate. Let the magic begin!

The Ides of March
Sean O’Loughlin
Grade 3
Pulse-pounding and haunting, this dramatic composition celebrates the composer’s love of modern film music and displays an intriguing economy of musical material while remaining wonderfully melodic and elegant.

The Phantom Herd Across the Western Sky
Robert W. Smith
Grade 3
An exciting and intriguing work based on the legend of Texas ghost riders and a ghost herd as they embark on a dark and mysterious journey through the night.

Voyage to the Edge of the World
Larry Neeck
Grade 3
The global voyages of the great explorers are portrayed in this bold, adventurous overture.  Driving, themes depict tension and uncertainty, while subtler lyric melodies portray the wonders of the new world.

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