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Symphonic Suite No 1 (Band Version)

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Symphonic Suite No. 1 is a collection of pieces I originally composed during my time at the University of Michigan.  I was constantly told by my good friends and Sinfonian fraternity brothers, Jamal Duncan, Armand Hall, and Damien Crutcher, to write for symphonic band.  I eventually drew upon my time at my alma mater to compose for this idiom, which gave me my love for playing, my love for classical music, and my desire to compose.

Chorale and Prelude was the last piece composed for this suite.  It was originally written as my final-exam project in my Baroque counterpoint class with Kevin Korsyn.  It was easily made into a piece for saxophone choir. After realizing the suite was incomplete with the later three movements (Marziale, Hymn, and Gigue), I composed additional material (F major) in 2012 to prolong the piece and give it more color. 

Marziale comes from my tuba-euphonium quartet, Quartet No 1, which was composed for three friends of mine: Kristof Schneider, Tony Halloin, and Todd Shafer. It was inspired by the Hindemith Trombone Sonata, which I first heard performed in 1994 by my brother, Bradford Mallory.

Hymn was originally written as “Jesus is Lord.”  It was commissioned as a band piece by Frank Perez and Graceland University and premiered December 8, 2011.   An alternate version with choir was premiered by Edward P. Quick and the Michigan State University New Horizons Band.

Gigue also comes from my tuba-euphonium quartet.  I loved Kristof’s sound on euphonium and was thoroughly impressed with Todd’s and Tony’s range on tuba.  Their abilities inspired me to compose habitually.  This piece was also inspired by the Violoncello Suites of Johann Sebastian Bach and Second Suite in F: Fantasia on a Dargason by Gustav Holst.



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Great stuff! I always love to hear well-crafted pieces written for the wind ensemble, and I really think it's a wonderful ensemble with so much hidden potential waiting to be brought out by great composers. I especially appreciate that you give creative, difficult parts to the low brass, since it seems the Euphonium and Tuba are always getting stuck with the most boring and unimaginative music.

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Your friends advised you well because you write so well for this ensemble. There is so much variety in color and mood. When I hear the woodwinds I am thinking, it could be strings, if you had strings, you know, for the contrast. I hear a little of John Barry and Goldfinger. Much drama and humor, it's really a b**in' work!

Edited by Ken320
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Always a great feeling to hear your pieces played by live musicians!

1st movement: I can definitely see a piece like this becoming a staple for high school symphonic bands. Obviously excellent control of harmony and excellent orchestration. I especially like the use of tuba against the woodwinds yet maintaining good balance. There is definitely potential for development and I feel the harmony could have been stretched a little bit more for dramatic effect, but as it is, the movement ends just before it gets stale.

2nd movement: Much more interesting harmony to start and a good use of percussion in the traditional band setting. Upon repeat of the initial motive, I wished there was a little more melodic motion - because there is constant motion underneath the treble voices it feels like a buildup might be in store but the singing voices keep stopping before their ideas can be fully fleshed out. It seems counterintuitive, but because the voices keep starting and stopping that disconnected me from the music and makes the music feel much more blocky. 

More in a little bit.

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