March Slav was composed in 1876 for a charity concert to support the war in the Balkans. It was completed in the remarkably short time of 5 days and was encored twice at its first performance! The themes are based loosely on Serbian folk songs and there is also a reference to the Russian national anthem. The mood is funereal in style at the opening but this gives way to a very triumphant style by the end.
Tchaikovsky's extremely popular ballet, The Nutcracker, was first performed in December 1892. Earlier in the same year the composer extracted several movements from the ballet to form a concert suite. The first performance of the suite was conducted by the composer and the suite was immediately received with huge enthusiasm.
In 1723 Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741) composed four concerti for violin and small orchestra entitled The Four Seasons. Winter is the fourth of these. Each concerto is comprised of three movements and paints sound pictures of the particular season. In this one we hear music describing harsh winter winds and icy snows, enough to make teeth chatter, in the first movement, a cosy scene by the fireside watching the falling rain (second movement) and the harsh winds, ice and snow return in movement 3.
The opera, Zampa, was first performed in Paris in 1831 and over the next 50 or so years enjoyed frequent performances and remained extremely popular. Since the dawn of the 20th century the popularity of the opera has waned somewhat but the overture has continued to be one of the composer's most famous works and is a staple of the orchestral repertoire.
The Carnival Of Venice is arguably everyone's favourite solo, especially the version by Arban (1820 - 1869), author of the famous brass-playing method book still in regular use today. Young soloists aspire to master the necessary techniques, accomplished soloists know that it is a "sure fire" winner with audiences and listeners love to be dazzled by a virtuoso display of variations on a theme they easily recognise.
From The Shores Of The Mighty Pacific is an all-time favourite rondo-caprice cornet solo and was first published in 1912. A brass band arrangement was requested by Chris Lichtler, principal cornet of Brass Band of the Western Reserve, musical director Dr. Keith M. Wilkinson. Chris has performed it many times with BBWR and it was recorded by them on the CD, Without Reserve!.
Herbert L Clarke (1867 - 1945) is regarded by many as one of the finest cornet players of all time, noted not only for his amazing technique but also for his warm, lyrical tone. He has left a multitude of cornet solos as well as collections of studies which are still very widely used. He was a member of The Sousa Band briefly in 1893 and then from 1898 to 1917 where he was not only the distinguished cornet soloist but also became assistant director.
The Maid Of The Mist dates from 1912 and is named after the famous sightseeing boat trips at Niagara Falls.
This traditional carol is arranged for band and chorus with optional bell choir. It was designed - and has been used effectively in this way - as a short encore to a Christmas concert. It is possible to invite the audience to join the final chorus (letter C).
The publisher permits the user to copy as many Choir and Bell Choir parts as necessary.
El Capitan was originally an operetta which was first produced in Boston in 1896. It was initially very popular and there are occasional revivals even to this day. The march of the same title uses themes from the opera and was also published in 1896. One notable feature - resulting from the use of themes from the operetta - is the abrupt transition from 6/8 to 2/4 half way through the march.
This march, written in 1893, was originally destined for inclusion in an operetta but after the composer had witnessed a spectacle called "America" in Chicago, which had as its backdrop a huge painting of the Liberty Bell, it was given the name by which it has become famous. Further recognition has come in more recent years by the adoption of the march as the signature tune for the popular TV programme, Monty Python.
This march, one of Sousa's most popular compositions, was written in 1889 and was dedicated to the Knights Templar of Washington, D.C. Sousa had been knighted by that organization three years earlier. The origins of the name of the march are unclear and the march is noteworthy not only for Sousa's usual creative skills but also for the use, in two sections of the march, of military-style percussion and, in the last section, of featured fanfares.
This march was written in 1888 and dedicated to the US Marine Corps, later being adopted as its official march. At the time of its composition Sousa was director of the US Marine Band.
This brass band version contains a small amount of optional movement around the stage and a percussion feature. These will enhance the presentation.