Saturday, March 7, 2015

Symphony for Band No. 4 (West Point)

Morton Gould composed many works for symphonic band, but his Symphony for Band No. 4 (West Point) is widely considered one of the earliest symphonies composed for modern concert band. The work was written for and performed at the West Point US Military Academy’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1952. The second movement, “Marches”, opens with a whimsical clarinet motif punctuated with cymbal and bass drum, a signal of what lies ahead with the upcoming call and response between winds and percussion. The first syncopated march theme is introduced by the flutes and oboes and soon developed through rapid-fire sixteenth note passages in each instrument section. The cleverly assembled development section combines martial flavored thematic material punctuated with presto rhythmic passages and contrasting legato musical material. Ending with a skillfully crafted fugue, the first march segues to the second march theme in 6/8 time, gradually pressing forward with faster and faster tempo to a very exciting finale. (Source: James Robert O’Dell)

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