New Wind Band Repertoire 2022-23


The summer holidays are a great time to review new music for groups prior to the new season/academic year.

Although new publications for wind bands are starting to emerge, following COVID lockdowns, the field is rather limited compared to pre-lockdown times. I’m sure that this will improve over the next few years. However there are still a good number of pieces being added to our Repertoire List for this coming year.

Starting with British composers, James Rae continues to add to the repertoire at Grade 1.5 with his accessible and attractive ’Tomahawk Rock’ and ‘A Royal Portait’, published by Universal.

At Grade 3 level Duncan Stubbs’ ‘A Little Latin’ (Studio) is a great programme choice to lighten the mood and Tom Davoren’s American flavoured Merrill Jones Composition Competition winner, ‘A Midwest Suite’ (look for the performance by The University of Kansas Wind Ensemble on YouTube) is attractive and has plenty to challenge bands at this level.

At Grade 3.5 Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s own wind band arrangement of his hugely successful brass band number ‘Pound The Streets’ will bring excitement to any programme.

Martin Ellerby continues to compose pieces that are attractive to both performers and audiences, with plenty to challenge individual band members. Published by Cane River Music, and both at Grade 4 level, we are pleased to include ‘Wassail Dances’ (a Regional programme number?) and ‘Five Manx Romances’ in the latest list.

With the same publisher, we also include Kit Turnbull’s art inspired Grade 5 level ‘Everything Starts From A Dot’. Well worth looking at for the more accomplished band, as is Kit’s ‘1534: A King’s Symphony’, published by Murphy Music Press, at the same difficulty level.

Band’s looking for a similar level challenge should take a look at a clutch of publications from Maecenas Music. At Grade 4.5 we have experienced Wind Band Director and Composer Keiron Anderson’s very attractive ‘Reunited’ (a performance by Pro Arts Wind Symphony conducted by the composer is easily found on YouTube). Daniel Basford’s latest offering is the aptly titled ‘Scherzo Frenetico’, while Paul Vowles literary-influenced ‘Tainted Beauty: Persephon’s Story’ provides imaginative textures and challenges across the band.

As usual, there is the usual high quality contributions to the repertoire from across the pond. I just love John Mackey’s Grade 4 tribute to Frank Ticheli, ‘Let Me Be Frank With You’. Humorous, quirky and uplifting by turn, in the style of a hoe-down (and circus march?) it’s a great closer or encore number and is guaranteed to have audiences leaving your performance with a smile on their faces. Listen to some fine examples on YouTube. Three and a half minutes of pure joy!

In total contrast John’s very moving Grade 3.5 ‘Some Treasures Are Heavy With Human Tears’ can provide a moment (well, six and a half minutes!) of serious contemplation. Slower, controlled playing is a challenge to bands at any level and this is a great addition that will develop all aspects of intonation, balance, rhythmic control and dynamic contrast. You can easily find a scrolling score of this number on YouTube. I loved including numbers like this in my programme choices, a favourite of mine at the same level being ’I Am’ by Andrew Boysen Jnr. Very atmospheric!

Frank Ticheli continues to produce works of high musical quality. This year we are including two of his higher grade compositions - the sumptuous, slowly developing, soundscape that is ’Lux Perpetua’ at Grade 5 (watch the University of North Texas performance under Eugene Corporon) and the exciting ‘Bash’ at Grade 6. Yes, Manhattan Beach music is on the expensive side, but the quality of publication and music is well worth the expense.

Carol Brittin Chambers ‘Rhythmania!’, at Grade 1.5, and ‘Byzantine Dances’, at Grade 2, provide excellent challenges for bands in the early stages of development as does Jennifer E. Rose’s highly original Grade 2.5 ‘Bitscapes’ for concert band and fixed media.

At the other end of the ability range, highly experienced composer Julie Giroux provides ‘Fields of Gold’, telling the early story of Superman, at Grade 4 and the driving Jewish/Greek/Hungarian (!) sounding ’Paprikash’ at Grade 6.

Brian Balmages continues to compose exciting pieces at all levels. This year we include his Grade 3 ‘To Dance Among The Stars’ and his challenging Grade 5.5 ‘Stages’. Other composers, popular with players and listeners alike at the medium difficulty level, are Randall D Standridge (Grade 2.5: ‘Earthdawn’) and Rosanna Gallante (Grade3: ‘The Wishing Well’). Check out more of their work included in the Repertoire List already as well as visiting their respective publisher’s web sites and YouTube videos.

Happy reviewing and hoping to hear some of your band’s featuring some of these new additions in their programmes next year.

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