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Grafenburg Variations


Genre: Band
# of Players: Standard
Level: 4 | Duration: 8:20
Publisher: C. Alan Publications | Copyright: 2009

Download mp3 | Click on images to left for score sample

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Notes & Instrumentation
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  • Notes & Instrumentation

    This theme and variations on the hymn tune 'Grafenburg' takes the listener on a journey through many styles and moods, including a vigorous barn dance, a dreamy lullaby, a blustering sea chanty and triumphant fanfares. Well-known for his choral works, Forrest shows off his mastery of thr wind band idiom.

    Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
    Level: 4 | Duration: 8:20

    Flute 1
    Flute 2
    Oboe 1
    Oboe 2
    Bassoon 1
    Bassoon 2
    Bb Clarinet 1
    Bb Clarinet 2
    Bb Clarinet 3
    Bb Bass Clarinet
    Eb Contralto Clarinet
    Eb Alto Saxophone 1
    Eb Alto Saxophone 2
    Bb Tenor Saxophone
    Eb Baritone Saxophone

    Bb Trumpet 1
    Bb Trumpet 2, 3
    F Horn 1, 2
    F Horn 3, 4
    Trombone 1, 2
    Trombone 3/Bass
    T.C. Baritone


    Timpani (4 drums)
    Percussion 1 (Vibraphone, Xylophone, Bells, Chimes)
    Percussion 2 (Bells, Vibraphone, Temple Blocks, Triangle, Xylophone)
    Percussion 3 (Triangle, Bell Tree, Snare Drum, Tambourine)
    Percussion 4 (Wood Block, Suspended Cymbal, Snare Drum, Crash Cymbals)
    Percussion 5 (Crash Cymbals, Bass Drum, Tam-Tam)

    Program Notes
    The wonderful hymn tune 'Grafenburg' (by Johann Crüger, published in 1647) provides all of the thematic material for this set of variations. Each variation features some fragment or aspect of the original hymn tune in a unique context. The variations are through-composed, yet divided into three main sections. The first section includes an introduction, a clear statement of the hymn tune, a vigorous “barn dance”, and a triumphant proclamation, before transitioning to the middle section. The middle section contains a dream and a lullaby, and includes a full statement of the theme, to keep it in the listener’s ear. The third section begins with a rude awakening from interrupting trumpets, which then give way to a blustering sea chanty in 6/8. Another variation then deconstructs the tune’s tonality, pulling it farther and farther away from its moorings. Before it can completely unravel, however, the full theme emerges as an “organ-pedal” tune, in augmentation. Triumph then gives way to rejoicing, as the “barn dance” returns and sweeps the listener along to the end.

    'Grafenburg' is often sung with the hymn text, “Come, Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs”, by Isaac Watts. The entire set of variations, then, should be thought of as a collection of “cheerful songs”, each drawing its character from the original, traveling farther and farther afield from the original, but then all returning to join in their merry dance together.

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