top of page

Program Notes

Spoon River

By Percy Grainger

This American folk-dance set for concert band is based on the tune Spoon River, which a Captain Charles H. Robinson heard in 1857 being played by a rustic fiddler at a country dance in Brandford, Illinois. Passed to Grainger through poet Edgar Lee Masters in 1914, it is a very archaic tune in character; typically American, yet akin to certain Scottish and English dance-tune types. Grainger aims in his original setting at preserving a pioneer blend of lonesome wistfulness and sturdy persistence. This edition for band seeks to maintain the Grainger sound, while offering bands instrument substitutions for those that have become less common and making small additions such as clearer dynamics.


- Program note by publisher


By Alyssa Morris

A cryptid is a creature or plant whose existence has been suggested but not discovered or documented by the scientific community. Cryptids often appear in folklore and mythology, leading to stories and unfounded belief about their existence. This three-movement was a project for an orchestration class I took in 2014. It is six minutes in length. Movements include: Bigfoot, Loch Ness, and Abominable Snow Monster. Premiered in Fall of 2014 by the BYU Symphonic Band. Winner of the Winter 2017 CCM Composers Competition.


-Program note from the composer

Three Images for saxophone octet

By Joel Love

These three movements all explore their own sound worlds. The first movement, “Spring” begins with three simple melodic movements, is through- composed, and is meant to depict a verdant springtime landscape in which people/animals are playing. “The Golden Hour” is a meditation on the image of the sun setting (or rising). In photography, the term “the golden hour” refers to the time just before and after sunrise/sunset, during which daylight is reddish and soft. Lastly, “Bed Monsters” is an unbridled rondo that is evocative of someone or something being chased by a predator. The title comes from my wife, Amelia, who thought it sounded like a monster lurking under the bed (from her childhood...). 


This piece was premiered on March 12, 2016 at 11:20a in Hemmle Recital Hall at Texas Tech University during the 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance National Conference. It was commissioned by the Kenari and Barkada quartets.


-Program note from the composer


By Igor Stravinsky

The composer wrote, "The octet began with a dream, in which I saw myself in a small room surrounded by a small group of instrumentalists playing some attractive music ... I awoke from this little concert in a state of great delight and anticipation, and the next morning began to compose.” 


The premiere shocked many of the listeners who knew Stravinsky for his ballet commissions, and the work was not initially well received. Some audience members even thought that the work might have been a joke. But by 1924, with its performance at the Salzburg Festival, the work was being hailed for its dynamic shift in aesthetic as the “Seventh Brandenburg Concerto.” 


Aaron Copland, who attended the premiere, later wrote this of his experience with the work: 

“I can attest to the general feeling of mystification that followed the initial hearing. Here was Stravinsky. . . now suddenly, without any seeming explanation, making an about-face and presenting a piece to the public that bore no conceivable resemblance to the individual style with which he had hitherto been identified ... No one could possibly have foreseen ... that the Octet was destined to influence composers all over the world.” 


- Program Note by Michael Hoover

Short Ride in a Fast MAchine

By John Adams

Short Ride in a Fast Machine opens with a burst of barely contained exuberance: an insistent woodblock pounding out continuous quarter notes amid a whirling torrent of sound. The second of two fanfares (the other being Tromba Lontan or Distant Trumpet) composed in 1986, Short Ride in a Fast Machine has quickly become one of Adams’ most oft-performed works. A brilliant example of musical minimalism, the piece draws the audience in with a hypnotic, repetitive rhythm and subtly swerves through a complex series of harmonic shifts and instrumental color variations. A soaring trumpet fanfare in the midst of the mad rush of energy lends the composition a moment of ecstasy before rejoining the full-throttle race to the end. 


- Program Note by Andrew Skaggs for the U.S. Navy Band

Of Oblivion

By Kyle Rieger

bottom of page