The 12 Year Old Symphony
for concert band
Grade 2 +
I wrote this work dedicated to my new band program at Compass Public Charter School in Meridian, Idaho. In the Fall of 2018 I started a new band and choir program at this school and wanted to commemorate this special number to my students.
This is a work that falls within the American Band College’s Band Music Level 2 difficulty level, but is a bit more demanding as the entire work takes 12-14 minutes, spread out over three different movements. Too often, there is not enough serious literature available that really stretches a young band program. While the lighthearted title gives this music the illusion that it is for children, a serious conductor will try and pull some serious emotion out of the notes. Done well, this can be a powerful work that inspires the younger generation to want more of our rich band heritage in America.
The first movement starts off quietly with horn and euphonium singing the main theme in D minor. This is then refrained by the upper woodwinds, then trumpets. After a development section, this music transitions into a quick beat, with quotes of Dies Irae and Overture to Egmont by Beethoven. This movement ends as it began, quietly and sad.
Movement two was inspired by some piano playing my 6 year old son was playing on the piano one evening. I decided to steal the theme and use it as the basis for the main theme of the 2nd movement. A familiar 007 motif can be heard throughout this work, as well as bits of material taken from my 2nd symphony. Great care should be taken to balance the flute and bass clarinet at the end of the movement.
The third movement start on a fun, lighthearted 6/8 theme played by the alto saxophone. It is answered by the piccolo and triangle. In the case a piccolo is not available, it should be played on the flute, with the flute player being told “sound like a piccolo, but play in tune instead.” The 2/4 section played by brass and timpani should compliment the style and emotion played by the saxophone/piccolo section, but with marked accents on the louder notes.
The refrain from Movement I should be played very grandiose in style, signaling a return to the overarching form of the entire work. The end of this movement is a joyous celebration, celebrating new life and new beginnings, much in the spirit of a new music program 🙂