Admiral's Overture

Symphonic Band (3:41) - March 1996


This piece was commissioned by the band director of the Francis C. Hammond Middle School Band for their spring concert. I tried to make the parts interesting to play and listen to, as well as easy enough for younger players to play without frustration.

The introduction was the hardest part of the piece because of sixteenth-note runs, key changes, and large interval leaps. Strains of "Anchors Aweigh," the school song, appear scattered across various instruments.

As the band fades away, the french horns take up the melody, supported by a timpanist using the wooden ends of the mallets. The whole band takes this melody in bell tones and comes to rest over the parallel low brass line.

In the minor section, the low brass and percussion provide a catchy counter-rhythm under a flute and clarinet solo section. Ending with a brassy fanfare, the piece moves into a bright, bouncy feel.

"Anchors Aweigh" is played in unison by the upper woodwinds and then harmony is added layer by layer. Finally, with a timpani ring, both themes are played in counterpoint to the grand finale.

In my senior year of high school, I guest conducted this piece as a former graduate of the school. I managed to keep things together, even though the only conducting training I'd had was for field conducting as a drum major. Things went spendidly right up to the end where I cued the first flute and knocked everything off her stand. It didn't hurt the music or the applause though...

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