Opus number: 47

Title: Short Symphony for Band

Instrumentation: picc., 2 fl, 2 ob, cln in Eb, cln 1,2,3,, alto cl, 2 bssn., alto sax.1,2, tenor sax, baritone sax, 3 cornets in Bb, 2 trpts in Bb, Euphonium, 2 ten tbs, 1 bass tb, tuba, 3 perc

Date written: 1999, Boston

Length: twelve minutes

Commissioner and dedicatee: Jordan Winds, William Drury, conductor

Publisher:  Ione Press, a Division of ECS Publishing

Premiere performance: November 22, 1999, William Drury, conducting The Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble

Recordings: North.South Recordings CD (1031) The Sentimental Muse. William Drury, conductor, Jordan Winds at New England Conservatory

Program notes: The composer writes, “Short Symphony for Band was completed in the winter of 1999 and was written for William Drury and the Jordan Winds. The title is derived from two pieces that I have long admired: Short Symphony, by Aaron Copland and Symphony for Band by my teacher Vincent Persichetti.

“As in my first two symphonies this work was developed from my own vocal music. ‘A Cry Against the Twilight’ eight madrigals (SSATB) written in 1996 furnishes the primary thematic material for this four-movement work.

“The form of the ‘Short Symphony for Band’ resembles a classical symphony in its movement order: sonata, scherzo, slow movement, and rondo. In addition, the second theme group of the first movement foreshadows the third movement. The trio of the scherzo returns just before the climax of the finale.

“The use of one player per part gives this symphony a sonority much like chamber music, a quality somewhat different from what one usually associates with music for band.”

Reviews: Short Symphony for Band, recording

The Short Symphony for Band was written in 1999 for the Jordan Winds, who perform it here. They do a handsome job on a piece that deserves a wide audience. It is by turns dark and mysterious, then bright and lively. (Bell’s) music is tonal, tuneful, and enjoyable. The sound in all four works is very good, never distracting one from the music. The presentation is attractive, notes (by the composer and his wife) are excellent.

-Thomas McClain-The American Record Guide