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Music Program Notes for
Band and Wind Ensemble Music


Larry Daehn

Larry Daehn was born in Rosendale, Wisconsin, in 1939 and grew up on the farms of that state. He received a B.A. in Musical Education from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh in 1964 and his Masters degree in 1976 from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville. He has been a teacher of music for 35 years; the last 29 of them at the New Glaris (WI) High School. A past president of the Wisconsin chapter of Phi Beta Mu, he was honored by that organization as Outstanding Bandmaster. Daehn has composed With Quiet Courage, in memory of his mother, and As Summer Was Just Beginning. An avid admirer of Percy Grainger, he has written several arrangements of that composer's melodies and an article on the Grainger Museum. He is the owner of Daehn Publications.

As Summer Was Just Beginning

Larry Daehn composed this work as a memorial to actor James Dean whose tragic and untimely death affected many. Daehn wrote:

James Byron Dean (1931 - 1955) experienced the brightest and briefest movie career ever. In 16 months he made three movies: East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. Only the first had been released when he was killed in a car accident at age 24. His death on September 30, 1955, sparked an unparalleled outpouring of sorrow. For three years after his death, Warner Brothers received more letters to him than to any living actor.

A bronze bust of James Dean by artist Kenneth Kendall stands near Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, California. There is a Greek inscription on the right shoulder which, when translated reads, “As Summer Was Just Beginning.” This sentiment, from a painting by John La Farge, is a Greek epitaph concerning the death of a young person. I chose it as the title for this piece.

With Quiet Courage

Her life was heroic, but without fanfare.
She worked and hoped and inspired.
She loved and was loved.
Her life was a noble song of quiet courage.

With those words, Larry Daehn dedicated this composition to the memory of his mother. He describes her as a brave woman who raised her family through the hardships of farm life in Wisconsin. Despite the loss of both legs due to diabetes, she lived with nobility and quiet courage. She loved to sing. These qualities are evident in this composition, which was written in the summer of 1995 following Lois Daehn's death. It is a song that is passed between the horns, saxophones, a solo trumpet, percussion, and finally to the full ensemble. Building from a quiet pianissimo to the strength of a fortissimo, it concludes with the gentle chords symbolic of the open Wisconsin farmland and a full and rewarding life. With Quiet Courage was premiered by the U.S. Navy Band in our nation's capital in 1995.

Johan de Meij

Johan de Meij was born November 23, 1953 in Voorburg, Holland. He received his musical education at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, where he studied band conducting and trombone. After his graduation, he gained an international reputation as an arranger of classical and popular works. His first composition for symphonic band, Symphony No. 1 ``The Lord of the Rings'', was awarded the first prize at the prestigious Sudler International Wind Band Composition Competition 1989 in Chicago. He has also written the symphonic poem Loch Ness and, for fanfare band, the work Pentagram. Johan de Meij is an accomplished musician, performing on trombone and euphonium in groups such as the Dutch Brass Sextet, the Amsterdam Trombone Quartet, and the Amsterdam Wind Orchestra.

Polish Christmas Music (Part I)

Polish christmas carols are almost all anonymous and have a folk song feeling, making them national in character. Johan de Meij has taken five of these traditional carols and composed this suite after he attended a Christmas service while on holiday in Poland. The opening carol is Poklon Jezusowi (Homage to Jesus) whose bright rhythm is slowed for the rich and reverent Mizerna, cicha (Poor and Quiet). Trumpets announce Aniol pasterzom mówil (An Angel Told the Shepherds), followed by a staccato treatment of Gdy sliczna Panna (When the Lovely Virgin). Rich bell tones complement the melody of Jam jest dudka (I am the musician of the Lord).

Symphony No. 1, "The Lord of the Rings",  V. Hobbits

Johan de Meij's first symphony, The Lord of the Rings, is based on the trilogy of that name by J.R.R. Tolkein. This book has fascinated millions of readers since its publication in 1955. Tolkein made up the story of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who went with the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves to steal the treasure of the dragon Smaug, to tell to his children at bedtime. In essence a story of the ancient battle between light and darkness, it has been embraced by children and adults who fell in love with the hobbits, those little people with big, hairy feet and a passion for good food, pipe smoking, and comfort. The symphony, composed in 1988, consists of five movements, each illustrating a personage or an important episode from the book. The final movement, Hobbits, first expresses the carefree and optimistic character of the Hobbits in a happy folk dance. The following hymn is symbolic of the determination and nobility of the Hobbit folk. The symphony does not end on an exuberant note, but concludes peacefully and resigned, in keeping with the symbolic mood of the last chapter ``The Grey Havens'' in which Frodo and Gandalf sail away in a white ship and disappear slowly beyond the horizon.

Claude Debussy

Achille-Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918) was born into a modest home in St. Germaine, a suburb of Paris. He began piano lessons at age seven and was admitted to the Conservatory when he was ten and began composing two years later. In 1880, Madame von Meck, Tchaikovsky’s patron, hired Debussy to tutor her children in piano. He traveled with her family through Italy and Austria and spent two years at her estate in Russia. His composition The Prodigal Son won the Prix de Rome in 1884. He immersed himself in Wagner’s works, like the rest of the world, but found a need for a “purer” form of music. He found inspiration in Mussorgsky’s works. He wrote: “I am more and more convinced that music, by its very nature, is something that cannot be cast into a traditional and fixed form. It is made up of colors and rhythms.” He developed a friendship with Erik Satie and began to develop his distinctive style for works for piano and orchestra. His opera Pélleas et Mélisande (1902) led to great controversy with the playwright, Maurice Maeterlinck. The public either loved Debussy’s music or hated it. His piano and symphonic works won the acclaim of the public. Notable are Estampes (1903), La Mer (1905), Children’s Corner (1908), The Martyr of Saint Sébastien (1911), and Préludes (1910 & 1912).

Golliwog's Cakewalk From "Children's Corner Suite"

This selection is one of six included in the Suite, which Debussy (1862 - 1918) dedicated to his five year old daughter. The titles have been explained as suggesting the games played by a French girl with an English governess. Debussy had great enthusiasm for the American cakewalk, here presented with much rhythm and vitality. The tune itself is said to be one Debussy heard played by the Grenedier Guards in London, but it is doubtless made more brusque and jaunty by his droll, even gawkish treatment of it.

Petite Suite

Originally written as a piano duet, the Petite Suite has become better known in its transcription by Henri Busser. With four hands at his disposal, Debussy was able to experiment more easily with unusual textures. The Menuet contains two beautiful passages where melodies are doubled at the 10th below. The final Ballet is uncharacteristic of Debussy at any period, exhibiting a festive bluntness that might have been modeled after the works of Chabrier.

Suite, The Children's Corner

Claude Debussy dedicated this suite of songs to his five-year old daughter, Claude-Emma, whom he affectionately called “Chou-Chou.” Three of the original six selections are included in this arrangement. The titles have been explained as suggesting the games with dolls and other toys played with by a French girl with an English governess. The Serenade for the Doll brings forth an image of a little girl softly singing to her favorite companion; the animation of the piece follows the changes in the imagination of the child. The Little Shepherd depicts a toy vignette, with a shepherd and sheep; the oboe and flute echo the sounds of the field and forest. Debussy had great enthusiasm for the American cakewalk, here presented in Golliwogg's Cake Walk with much rhythm and vitality. The tune itself is said to be one Debussy heard played by the Grenadier Guards in London, but it is doubtless made more brusque and jaunty by his droll, even gawkish treatment of it, befitting the description of a golliwogg as a grotesque doll or figure.

Elliot Del Borgo

With an impressive list of over 600 compositions for wind band, orchestra, and chorus, Elliot Del Borgo is well respected in the music world. Born Octover 27, 1938, in Port Chester, New York, Del Borgo earned a B.S. degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) (1960), an Ed.M. degree from Temple University (1962), and a M.M degree from the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music (1962). His principal instructors were Vincent Persichetti and Robert Washburn for composition, Gilber Johnson for trumpet, Morris Shotock for violin, and Harry I. Phillips and N. Brock McElheran for conducting. In 1993, he was granted the doctoral equivalency by SUNY. From 1961-1966, Del Borgo taught instrumental music in the public schools in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1966 to 1995, he was a Professor of Music and held administrative positions at SUNY Crane School of Music. In his retirement, he is sought out as a lecturer, clinician, and adjudicator. His energetic and firm, but humorous, style makes him welcome by middle and high school students. His willingness to share of his musical experience is welcomed by teachers and performers. He runs his publishing and clinic operations seasonally from North Port, Florida, and Cape Vincent, New York.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

The Dylan Thomas poem of the same title was the motivation for Del Borgo’s composition. It does not attempt to be a musical representation of the poem, but it attempts to capture the moods, joys, and struggles it contains. The poem expresses a son’s love for his father. Thomas’ father was very ill and nearing the end of his life. Although his father would never see the poem, in Thomas’ mind he implores him to fight against his illness and to treasure the happiness that life can give. People of action would grieve before their leaving and rage for not finishing all they could have done. He wishes for his father’s blessing, but understands the father’s curses of jealousy for the son’s continuing to live.

Stanza 1    Do not go gentle into that good night,
                 Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
                 Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Stanza 6    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
                Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
                Do not go gentle into that good night.
                Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Davide Delle Cese

Italian composer Davide Delle Cese (1856 - 1938) received his initial musical instruction from his godfather, Antonio Geminiani, a theater conductor in Rome. He received formal musical training at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella in Naples. After more than 3 years of work and at age 26, Delle Cese had scored for wind band all of the known national anthems. Following military service, he led bands in Pontecorvo, Venice, and San Leo, finally settling in the port of Bitonto where he became resident band­master. He wrote more than 35 pieces for band including marches, lyric works, waltzes, and mazurkas.

Little English Girl (L'Inglesina)

This symphonic march was composed in 1897 and has been ranked as the 10th most popular march in the world. It begins with a lilting melody, remi­niscent of L’Inglesina. The march contains sweet melodies, just like arias in an opera. Once heard, played, or conducted, it becomes a part of you and the measure for others of the classic Italian marcia simfonico style.

Norman Dello Joio

Norman Dello Joio descends from a long line of Italian church organists. Born in New York City in 1913, he received his musical training from his father, an organist and a coach for the Metropolitan Opera. Dello Joio recalls growing up surrounded by musicians and music in his home. He began working as a church organist and choirmaster at the age of 12. In 1939, he received a scholarship to study at the Juilliard School of Music. Believing that composition suited his interests better than being an organist, Dello Joio studied under Paul Hindemith at Tanglewood and the Yale School of Music. He began his teaching career at Sarah Lawrence College, became a professor of composition at Mannes College (1956-72), and professor of music and dean of the Fine and Applied Arts School of Boston University (1972-9). Hindemith praised the lyrical nature of Dello Joio’s music. A prolific composer, Dello Joio has written for chorus, orchestra, and band, along with many works for solo instruments. His accolades include the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 for Meditations on Ecclesiastes and an Emmy Award for The Louvre in 1965. He was musically active until his death on July 23, 2008 at his home in East Hampton, NY.

Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn

Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn was commissioned by the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association in 1968 in honor of the retirement of Leonard Falcone, Director of Bands at Michigan State University, and in recognition of his devoted service to music, to education and to his colleagues. Dello Joio commented:

This work for band is based on a theme from a composition for piano by Joseph Haydn. The subtly conceived theme, I concluded, offered an opportunity to fantasize in the musical language of today. The three movements are a constantly varied examination of Haydn’s basic idea. The bubbling humor of the first and third fantasies flank a second which is intensely lyric. In the final sense, it is my homage to a composer who will always remain contemporary.

From Every Horizon

Native New Yorker Norman Dello Joio composed the score for one of the films, entitled “From Every Horizon,” featured at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. These multi-media presentations were designed to educate the public and give a glimpse of the benefits that technology would bring for the future. A sense of optimism pervaded the exhibits of computers, communications, the space program, and new energy sources. Subtitled A Tone Poem to New York, Dello Joio’s composition is in three movements. The first opens and closes in a pastoral mood that portrays the slower pace at the edges of town; the hustle and bustle of the daily commute into the big city marks the center of a typical day. The short adagio second movement reflects the nature of an evening – generally tranquil, but interrupted by natural and man-made sounds. Flowing without interruption into the third movement, the vibrant energy of this metropolis bursts forth. There is the decisive flow of commuters on foot, cars, and public transit. Deliveries are made to businesses and ships move about the harbor. The tired tourist seeks out one more show or landmark.

Satiric Dances

Satiric Dances was commissioned by the Concord Band, Concord, Massachusetts, to commemorate the Bicentennial of April 19, 1775, the day that launched the American War for Independence. At the North Bridge, in what is now Minute Man National Historical Park, the first ordered firing upon British Regulars by Colonial militiamen resulted in ``the shot heard `round the world.'' Dello Joio, then Dean of Boston University's School for the Arts, agreed to do the commission, but stipulated it would be based on a piece he had used as background music for a comedy by Aristophanes. The most famous comic dramatist of ancient Greece, Aristophanes was born an Athenian citizen about 445 BC. His plays commented on the political and social issues of fifth century Athens and frequently employed satire.

The first dance movement is annotated as allegro pesante. The brass entry signifies the importance of the work, but the brisk tempo keeps the simplicity of ``peasantry'' from being ponderous. Taking a much slower adagio mesto tempo, the second dance begins with a melancholy tune from the flutes and low brass. The movement has light and delicate features that are quite exposed. Its central theme might evoke thoughts of a dance in a meadow that eventually reverts into a more solemn theme. Without a break in the music, the final movement is introduced by rolls from the snare drum. The tempo is indicated as allegro spumante and is the fastest of the composition. The quick turns and dynamics evoke images of the objects that were the titles of Aristophanes' plays: Clouds, Wasps, and Birds.

Scenes from "The Louvre"

This band version of Scenes from “The Louvre” is taken from the original score of the NBC television special that was first broadcast nationally in November 1964. The composer received the Emmy Award for that season’s most outstanding musical score written for television. Bearing the subtitle “based on Ancient Airs,” the five movements of this suite cover the period of the famous Paris museum’s development during the Renaissance and are based on themes from composers of that period. The Portals begins with a low brass choir and evokes notions of the grandeur of the Louvre. The light, delicate staccato playing of the clarinets conveys the gaiety of children at play in the Children’s Gallery. Visions of state occasions and courtly dances evolve from the brass’ contrapuntal parts in The Kings of France. The religious theme In Dulci Jubilo appears in Nativity Paintings and features the solo clarinet and oboe. The Finale is introduced by a royal fanfare and bears the pomp and elegance of the era as the ensemble brings the work to a noble conclusion.

Variants on a Mediaeval Tune

After a bold introduction led by a cornet fanfare, Dello Joio introduces the theme that forms the basis of these Variants, composed in 1963. The mel­ody of In dulci jubilo is often associated with the Christmas carol Good Christian Men, Rejoice, but it has been dated back to the early 16th century and Martin Luther, who probably borrowed it from older non-liturgical music. The first variation (Allegro deciso) rushes by with such speed that it is hard to recognize that it is based on notes two through five of the melody. The trumpets announce the peasant style of the next variation (Lento, pesante), with the theme being found in the woodwinds and low brass. The rapidly articulated notes of the clarinets hide the theme in the third variation (Allegro spumante). This contrasts with the rich, dark quality of the bassoons and bass clarinets in the next variation (Andante). An increase in dynamic level gives the brass a turn with the theme until it slowly fades away. The final variation (Allegro glorioso) is a spirited proclamation of the theme and conclusion of the work.

Luigi Denza

Luigi Denza was born in Castellammare, Italy, on February 24, 1846. He studied at the Naples Conservatory. He settled in London in 1887 and became a professor of singing at the Royal Academy of Music in 1898. He wrote one opera, Wallenstein, and over 600 songs. Many of his songs became popular, but could not match the success of Funiculi, Funicula. Denza died in London on January 26, 1922.

Yo Goto was born in Akita, Japan, in 1958. In 1975, while still a student at Yokote High School, his Sokkyo kyoku (Improvisation) was chosen to be a test piece for a band competition the following year. After graduating from Yamagata University as a music education major, he studied with Shinichiro Ikebe and Joju Kaneda at the Tokyo College of Music, graduating as a Specialist of Composition. Goto has composed and arranged a number of works, many of which are useful in teaching music education. He is an active music critic, clinician, and researcher. He is a board member of the Academic Society for Winds, Percussion, and Band.

Funiculi - Funicula Rhapsody

This Rhapsody is a delightful set of variations on the famous melody written by Luigi Denza. Following a fanfare introduction, the composition transitions to a tarantella led by the trombones. Each section of the ensemble gets a turn at interpreting the melody and dynamics. Polyrhythms give way to a simple, slow romantic rendering. The listener is returned to the excitement and vibrancy of the original melody in an effective finale. The words to Funiculi, Funicula were written by journalist Peppino Turco and set to music by Luigi Denza in 1880 on the occasion of the opening of the first funicular railway on Mt. Vesuvius. Although the song was composed in only a few hours, it has remained popular for more than a century. Even Richard Strauss included the tune in the fourth movement of his Aus Italien (1886), believing it to be a popular Neapolitan folk tune.

Carmen Dragon

Carmen Dragon is a conductor, composer, arranger, music educator, and a radio and television personality -- a complete musician. As music director-conductor of the Glendale, California, Symphony Orchestra, he has brought new excitement and personality to the Los Angeles concert scene. He has composed and conducted scores to thirty motion pictures and has released fifty-seven best-selling record albums. Personable, gregarious, at home in all areas of public performance, at ease before audiences young and old, Dragon is among the nation's most respected and beloved musicians.

Paul Dukas

Parisian Paul Dukas (1865 - 1935) possessed great talent and was deemed a bright prospect, but he wrote sparingly. He was interested in music at a young age, but Dukas' family was too poor to afford lessons. He entered the Paris Conservatory in 1882, where his musical appetite could be satisfied. After serving in the Army, he found an early musical career as a critic and orchestrator. His fame was established with the orchestral scherzo The Sorcerer's Apprentice and, later, his opera La Péri. He wrote a few other large compositions in the last years of his life, but his critical sense led him to destroy them because he felt they did not meet the standard set by his earlier works.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The basis of this scherzo was a ballad by Goethe, based on a tale by the Greek poet Lucian (120- 180 AD). This timeless story depicts a young magician's apprentice who tries to lighten his workload by experimenting with magic spells he has seen his master use. When the boy is alone, he commands a broom to go to the well to fetch water for the house. The broom obliges all too well and the apprentice finds that he does not know how to command the broom to stop, when the basin begins to overflow, soon filling the room with water. In desperation, the boy uses an axe to stop the broom's progress, but instead he creates two slaves bent on fulfilling the task. Near to drowning, the apprentice calls for help. The sorcerer arrives and takes command of the scene with a few magic words; both parts of the broom fly back into the corner, the waters  recede, and peace returns to the scene. Premiered in Paris in 1897, the work became a favorite of audiences. Walt Disney's casting of Mickey Mouse in the role of the apprentice in the film Fantasia gained an even wider audience for this moral lesson.

Charles E. Duble

Charles Edward Duble was born in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1884. He had a stong talent for music and he became proficient on the trombone. His first march, Floral City, was composed in 1905 and he published 11 more be for he began his professional career as trombonist in 1909, when he joined the Sun Brothers Circus. His most famous marches are Bravura (1918), Battle of the Winds (1917), The Circus King (1916), Under White Tents (1908), and Wizard of the West (1908). He completed his composing career in 1928 with a total of 31 marches and two waltzes. Duble’s role as a circus musician spanned 23 years and included more than a score of circuses, shows, and wild west acts that included the Gentry Brothers Famous Dog & Pony Show and ended in the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows under the direction of Merle Evans. He wrote many articles for “Bandwagon,” the Journal of the Circus Historical Society, also serving as Associate Editor.  His dedication to preserving the history of circus music continued to his death in 1960 in his home town, where he spent many of his later years. Windjammers Unlimited, a circus historical society, honored Charles Duble as the 10th inductee into their Hall of Fame.


Bravura is the most famous of Charles Edward Duble’s thirty-one marches.  As the title announces, it declares the show of daring, exceptional ability, and technical skill that is displayed by circus performers and musicians. Written in 1918 while Duble was playing trombone with the Sells-Floto Circus, it is a much enjoyed circus “screamer” that was suitable for the opening parade of performers, a wild animal act, or or for aerialists swinging under the great white tents. Listen for the important passages that he wrote for the brass sections.

Antonin Dvorak

Greatest of the Czech composers, Antonin Dvorak (1841 - 1904) brought to fruition the nationalism pioneered by Bedrich Smetana. Son of an innkeeper and butcher, he received his initial musical education from the local cantor, Josef Spitz. In his sixteenth year, he undertook systematic study in Prague. By 1866, he was an orchestral viola player and had already composed several chamber works, two symphonies, a Mass, a cello concerto, and a set of love songs. He received a prize in 1874 from the Austrian government, which led him to meet Brahms, from whose friendship he greatly profited. His Slavonic Dances, in which he first made use of the national idiom, established his reputation as a composer and gained the attention of the musical community. In 1892, Dvorak accepted the position of Director of the National Conservatory in New York, where he served until 1895, when he returned to Bohemia to head the Prague Conservatory.

Festival March

Premiered on April 23, 1879 in Prague, Antonin Dvorak’s Festival March evokes both a celebratory and ceremonial character. This march was one of many original works and pageants that marked the silver wedding anniversary of Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth. A grand and stately procession of royalty and dignitaries is denoted by the opening fanfares from the brass. Both rapid and flowing themes from the woodwinds convey the festive spirit and graceful movements found in the grand ballrooms. The last significant Hapsburg monarch, Franz Joseph I died in 1916 after reigning almost 68 years.

Finale from The New World Symphony

This symphony was the first work that Dvorák composed after his arrival in New York to take up the post of Director of the National Conservatory of Music. It was written while the composer was separated from most of his family and all of his friends and he was trying to cope with a new culture. Although Dvorák encouraged the belief that his new symphony was to some extent “American,” for it does quote the Negro spiritual Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, it remains essentially a Czech work. This final movement recapitulates the material of the other movements of the symphony. The principal theme is announced in the brasses after a brief introduction. A lively bridge passage leads to the second theme, which is much quieter and more song-like in character. During the development, echoes of the themes of preceding movements are heard and the work finally reaches a thunderous climax.