The Red Balloon
Band Group 1
Anne McGinty is considered one of the most prolific female wind band
composers today, and has written works for young beginner’s ensembles as well as
works for the highly mature wind band. In total, McGinty has composed over 200
published works. These pieces range from beginning band to string orchestra to
flute ensemble pieces. Notably, McGinty was the first female composer
commissioned to write an original work for the United States Army Band. Her work
is lauded as being both entertaining as well as highly educational.
McGinty, a native of Findlay, Ohio, studied at Ohio State University for a short while under the direction of Donald McGinnis before pursuing flute performance in
a professional setting. She played principal flute with the Tucson Symphony
Orchestra, the Tucson Pops Orchestra, and the TSO Woodwind Quintet. McGinty
finally returned to college and after graduating summa cum laude, continued to
pursue her master’s degree in Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
McGinty served on the Board of Directors of the National Flute Association, and,
while she no longer plays flute professionally, has taught flute at several Midwest
colleges. McGinty is the co-founder of Queenwood Publications, which was absorbed
by Kjos Music Company in 2002. During her time with Queenwood, McGinty
produced 11 full band methods books.
The Red Balloon is a piece in one movement with minimal polyphony. Most of the piece is structured like an expanded melody with accompaniment that is passed around the ensemble. As it is a beginning band piece, many parts are optional or easily expanded if the ensemble is large. For example, McGinty included a “Low Brass & Woodwinds” part, so a conductor could place either one or several students on a single part if need be. The horn and tenor sax parts are optional, as well. In fact, the only parts deemed necessary by the composer are the flute, oboe, Bb clarinets, Eb alto saxophones, cornets/trumpets, and general percussion.
Historical and Stylistic Information:
The Red Balloon is based on a painting McGinty once saw. The painting
depicts a grandfather and child in black and white. The only color in the pictures a red balloon which the child is holding. The piece itself depicts the balloon
floating in the air. With this in mind, it is important to keep the legato nature of
this piece as a top priority. The music must have a light and “floaty” nature, and
cannot be executed too heavily. In addition to this, many small entrances (especially
percussion) are meant to serve as color changes, so they must be understated
instead of at the forefront. Special care must be taken to ensure that phrases are
passed between instruments smoothly – there should be no gaps or unwritten rests
in performance. A part of the “Developing Band” Series – use this as an educational tool, not as an ultimate expression of art!
Throughout piece, dotted quarters and half notes are played by different instruments – these may be difficult to line up correctly
Understanding of consistent four-bar phrases
Intonation is important – mm. 17-24 melody in octaves
Clarinets have to cross the break – be wary of this if playing with very young
Must keep the “floaty” – sustained melodies and phrases
Cannot allow sound to “break” while being passed between instrument
Highly legato nature of piece may prove hard stylistically for both
conductor and students
Dynamic shifts are subtle and may have to be exaggerated to be convincing in a
Allow for color changes within the music to shine through without being too
overpowering – this applies specifically to percussion parts throughout
Due to the disjunct nature of the percussion parts, it is advisable to cue the
membranic percussion (i.e. the snare drum and tambourine) at their first
Warn the band members of the B natural and E natural since there is no key
signature in the piece
Must maintain energy throughout each sustained note (of which there are many)
Theme (m. 1-8)
Theme in flute and oboe, countermelody in clarinet 1 (G major scale)
Sustained pitches in clarinet 2, alto sax, and glockenspiel (C Major)
Rising and falling melody line
Melody in flute, broken chords in clarinet 1, sustained pitches in clarinet 2
and alto sax, ornamentation in glockenspiel (fills the gap)
Triangle hits on beat two of alternating measures
Snare drum and suspended cymbal enters on beat 4 of m. 16
Theme in oboe, clarinets, horn, and glockenspiel (D Major scale)
Four-part chords in flute, a. sax, trumpets, and low brass/woodwinds (G
major) Slurred melody
Theme in trumpets, countermelody in clarinet 1 (Ab Major scale)
Sustained chords in clarinet 2, a. sax, low brass/woodwinds, and bells (Db
4 bar interlude –call and response (D Major), moving line in clarinet 1
Claves and Tambourine
m. 37 –theme in low brass/woodwinds (Eb Major scale)
Sustained chords in flute, oboe clarinets, alto saxes, trumpets, horn (Eb7
4 bar phrase with 2 bar extension –ritardando to A Tempo at m. 47
Continuation of theme in low brass/woodwinds
Theme in alto sax, countermelody in clarinet 1
Flutes join melody at m. 51 (F Major scale)
Sustained chords in clarinet and low brass/woodwinds (Bb Major)
Leading into return of theme in m. 63
Crescendo at m. 62
First entrance of bass and snare drums
Theme in winds, French horn, and glockenspiel
Theme in solo trumpet - extension
Chords in low brass/woodwinds, a. sax, and clarinets
2 bar extension building to theme in m. 81
Last 4 bars ends with solo in glockenspiel accompanied by chord in the oboe,
clarinets, a. sax, and low brass/woodwinds
Anne McGinty, Legend of the Eagle, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugV3WFlQtRU
CCSU Wind Ensemble, N. Dello Joio, Scenes From the Louvre, http://
Anne McGinty, ‘Tis a Gift, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHCpZeUPOUs
"ANNE MCGINTY(Findlay, Ohio; June 29, 1945)." Anne McGinty.
Music Program Notes for Band and Wind Ensemble, http://windband.org/foothill/pgm_note/notes_mn.htm#McGinty
Neil A. Kjos Music Company, http://www.kjos.com/detail.php?division=1&table=author&auth_id=798
“The Concordia College Band Tour” Program Notes
Jacob de Haan
Band Group 1
Jacob de Haan was born on March 28th, 1959 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. He received piano instruction at a young age, and continued on to study at the State Conservatoire in Leeuwarden after high school. He majored in “school music” and organ while at the Conservatoire. In addition, he minored in “trumpet and fanfare and wind band direction.” He taught arranging at the same conservatoire after graduation, and continues to arrange and compose now.
De Hann is one of the most popular and most played wind music composers
of this time and his works are known worldwide. His compositions are mostly
written on commission and he has noted works that are based on film-music-
like combinations of styles. He composes concert works are of varying difficulty,
short concertante works, didatic material for beginners, entertainment music, and
marches. De Haan regularly acts as a guest conductor with performances of his
own works in Europe, Australia, and the United States. He lectures in arranging
at the Music Academy Leeuwarden and he his a jury member at international
Ammerland takes the listener through a journey through the enchanting
region of Zwischenahner Lake. De Hann considers the region especially beautiful,
and so he strove to display the beauty of the area through this piece. The music
should evoke images of fields of flowers, lush meadows, seemingly endless country
roads, and an exquisite lakeside. To this end, the piece is simple, stropic, and rather
consonant in nature. Ammerland is commissioned by the Basorchester “Brass Sax”
on the occasion of it’s 5th anniversary.
Historical and Stylistic Information:
“Ammerland” comes from the 10th century, and is derived from the word
“Ameri,” a word describing a swamp. Ammerland is a rural area in the lower part of
West Germany that is known for its flat countryside, many windmills and distinct
Frisian influence. The rural country area of Ammerland is a beautiful nature area
with brilliant colors of unique landscapes. Today, Ammerland stands as an
attractive parkland often visited for it’s ideal cycling paths and beautiful scenery. It
is full of windmills, which serve as a symbol for the district.
The composer says this about the piece with regards to the Ammerland
district: “Get an impression of this enchanting region by the Zwischenahner Lake!
The rural parts of Ammerland combine fields covered with yellow rape blossoms,
lush meadows, seemingly endless country roads, and an exquisite lakeside. Let
yourself be lured away on a short musical trip to beautiful Ammerland. Enjoy
nature, the lakeside, and the brilliant colors of a unique landscape.” While the
harmony is simple, there is a warmth and darkness to the melody that invokes the
grandeur of such a landscape. Low brass play a rather prevalent role in the melodic
content of this work, and the piece must be played in a very legato fashion.
Grade 2 1⁄2 work – not very many pitfalls from a technical standpoint
Dynamics sometimes independent of phrases (which tend to be in four-
Director is highly encouraged to cue percussion due to their minimal parts
Ensemble entrances (i.e. m. 16) must feel like “arrival points”, so attention
must be paid to the material immediately preceding and following those
Relative dynamics – tutti ensemble is playing at m. 16, but is only at a mezzo
forte. At m. 31, tutti ensemble is playing at forte – must be relatively louder
Third statement of the melody is fairly rhythimicized and warrants greater
attention to vertical placement
Creating a difference between each statement of the melody.
For a grade 1 work, the flute line gets really high in register at the end.
Fingerings and intonation will be an issue. It will also be a challenge for
young flute players to have the breath support to make it through the phrasing and slur those high passages.
Carrying through the line –breath support
Dialogue between instruments
Balance between melody and countermelody
Ammerland is essentially a theme and variation with a 14 bar melody that
breaks down into 4+10 that is traded around to different instruments. The piece is
really short and only includes 3 full statements of the melody with short 1 bar
increments that segue into each new section. At only 47 measures long, the piece is
over and done with before you know it!
Theme 1 (1-15)
Key: Eb Major
Suspended cymbal on m. 15 –poco rallantando
1 – 4 Melody begins in clarinets / tenor sax / euphonium
5 – 15 Horn joins melody and continues throughout section
Theme 2 (16-30)
Addition of flutes, oboe, Eb clarinet, and trumpet to melody
m. 30 poco rallantando and crescendo into key change
16–23 Shared melody between high WW and trumpet, euphonium countermelody
24–27 Melody in clarinet / alto sax / trumpets / horn
28–30Tutti ensemble joins and completes theme melody
Theme 3 – (31-47)
Key: C major
Use of upper register in winds
Molto rallantando to end
31 – 39 Tutti ensemble melody besides counterpoint – trumpets / clarinets,
euphonium becomes countermelody over time
40 – 47 Melody in high WW / trumpet / euphonium / glockenspiel, trombones /
euphonium / horn / alto join melody to closing
Jacob de Haan, Virginia, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tia28IWM8Ec
James Barnes, Yorkshire Ballad, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNRKRUIo80I
Führs & Fröhling, Ammerland, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCtaDVkuu4w
De Haan’s website has 2 demo tracks that are both of high quality, http://
Filarmonica di Tresigallo, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYmS9cBe9Cw
Ammerland, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammerland
2. J.W. Pepper, Ammerland, http://www.jwpepper.com/2473070.item
3. Jacob de Haan, official homepage, http://www.jacobdehaan.com/
4. University of Arkansas Program Notes, Ammerland, http://bands.uark.edu/Band/Media_Gallery_files/Campus%3ASymphonic Concert.pdf
Down A Country Lane
Aaron Copland/trans. Merlin Patterson
Aaron Copland was born on November 14, 1900 in Brooklyn, New York. He spent over twenty years studying composition with Nadia Boulanger and during part of that time he studied at the American Conservatorie of Music in Paris, France. Even though he was the son of immigrant parents from Russia, and underwent intensive training in Paris, Copland is one of the most prominent American composers who established the 20th century American style. Though his life was littered with unfortunate public attention due to his homosexual relationship and socialist sympathies, he rose to international attention for his compositions, conducting and educational contributions. He strived to create music that resonated with the common man and he successfully accomplished that. Down a Country Lane falls in the genre of folk music which is one in which Copland was well versed. Copland passed away in 1990.
Merlin Patterson was born in 1955 in Galena Park, Texas. After developing a love for music, he attended college at Sam Houston State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in conducting. He developed an acute skill for arranging and during his twenty-eight years of teaching he arranged dozens of musical standards for band, one of which was Copland’s Down A Country Lane.
Down a Country Lane was commissioned by Life Magazine and published on June 29, 1962. The goal was to create legitimate music that was accessible to the common pianist and musician. A quote from the article states the “Down a Country Lane fills a musical gap-it is among the few modern pieces specially written for young piano students by a major composer,” and “Even third-year students will have to practice before trying it in public.” After becoming popular, Copland himself arranged it for youth orchestra. Characteristic of his writing, Copland based the music upon some of the material that he composed for a 1945 war documentary entitled The Cummington Story. The theme for the noble Cummington is the particular motive that he draws on for Down a Country Lane. Patterson later transcribed the piano version and arranged it for band one year after Copland’s death in 1991.
Historical and Stylistic Information:
Down a Country Lane fills a gap in the standard piano repertoire for intermediate pianists. Originally part of a film score, Copland wrote it originally for the piano. Later he arranged it for a youth orchestra. After his death, it was arranged by Merlin Patterson for symphonic band and continues to be performed internationally. Aaron Copland is one of the masters of American composition and this piece gives a look into the tradition and history of American music. Down a Country Lane was titled after the composition was completed. Copland is quoted as saying that ‘just happened to fit its flowing quality’. This piece was originally written with young players in mind and it gives bands both young and old the chance to grow musically from one of the greatest American composers.
Technical Information :
This piece is based on two scales, F major and D-flat major.
Instrument range is quite manageable for the intermediate band. Occasionally there are octave jumps in flute, clarinet, and trombone one parts which might be difficult for player to play in tune.
Time signature stays in 4/4 time and there is very little tempo changing.
Trumpets will need cup mutes, could potentially lead to intonation and balance issues.
This piece should be performed very legato which will expose intonation and air-support issues.
Formal Analysis below.
Humboldt State University Symphonic Band: Down A Country Lane https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x23nB7_IRHI
Loyola Wind Ensemble: Down A Country Lane https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQVxtThumWE
Original piano version: Down a Country Lane http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfWdsOt-Yks
New York Philharmonic: Fanfare for the Common Man https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqaP373oLnk
Prideaux, Tom. "'One and two and. . . ' That old refrain as the joys of the piano sweep across the land.." Life 29 June 1962: 38-50. Google Books. Web. 3 Mar. 2013.
Michael Colgrass was born in Chicago in 1932 and even though he was born in America he is considered a Canadian composer. Colgrass began his career as a jazz drummer in Chicago from 1944-49. In 1954 he graduated from the University of Illinois in 1954 with degrees in performance and composition. Colgrass has studied with Darius Milhaud, Wallingford Riegger and Lukas Foss, and has performed with several high-class ensembles and orchestras. He has received commissions from major orchestras and symphonies across the nation.
Major works of his include Déjà vu (for which he received a Pulitzer Prize in 1978), Crossworlds, Zululand, Pan Trio, and Side by Side, all commissioned and premiered by universities and performers.
According to Michael Colgrass, Old Churches is one of the most challenging pieces he’s written. He wrote it specifically for younger bands, but in such a way so it would still be challenging and expressive. Old Churches is written to emulate Gregorian chant, and he uses graphic notation and unconventional techniques/instruments to help create the image of voices and bells echoing in a monastery.
Historical and Stylistic Information:
Colgrass wrote this piece with Gregorian chant in mind. Gregorian chant dates back to the 9th and 10th centuries, and was developed as a monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song of Western Christian Churches. This idea explains why Colgrass uses a single-line motive in a lot of the piece. Colgrass’ use of graphic notation with the pots and later murmuring in woodwinds is similar to the early use of neumes in Gregorian music.
Colgrass has a few videos on his use of graphic notation, some of which involve working with kids. In the video linked below, he encourages the kids to notate what they’re hearing in their heads on a chalkboard. The kids go up one by one and talk through what they’re hearing, and together as a small group they try and figure out how best to notate it. It’s pretty interesting to watch (although it is short and doesn’t give much of Colgrass’s method at all), but the students all clearly have a sound in their head of what they want to hear and have no problem notating or describing it.
Technical Information :
-Interpreting the graphic notation, and knowing when to cut off or play your next passage. Sometimes the graphic notation only lasts two bars, and I know that sometimes I get caught up in figuring out what to play rather than paying attention to how many beats have gone by already, so that would be something to look out for as a potential issue.
-Figuring out how to play the pots would be another issue, as that is not really a normal instrument in a middle school band. There are plenty of videos about it on youtube though.
-The ending would take some work on the directors’ part. It says that the conductor starts each flute, and then he would also have to cue in each next group of players while demonstrating the fade necessary for low woodwinds and brass, and maintaining the murmurs.
-Entrances, and making sure your kids are paying attention to durations.
-Flutes begin with cluster chords, alternating long and short (legato) notes for 6 measures.
-Kitchen pots are also being used for the same 6 measures.
-Clarinets 2 and 3 enter with alternating chords beginning in m. 3 and ending in m. 8.
-Clarinet 1 comes in with the main melody at m. 6.
-In m. 8, bassoon, bass clarinet come in with “murmuring” passage for three measures (just one in bassoon).
-m. 9-10 bassoon, Tenor sax, horn and baritone play a new variation of the main melody.
-Trombones, tuba and trumpet 1/2 play an accompaniment pattern or chords in m. 9-10.
-Ensemble diminuendo to m. 12, Clarinets pick up flutes beginning motive (fluttering notes) and the pots come back into play from m. 12-14.
-m. 13, flute comes in with another variation on the main motive. Alto sax comes in with chords.