It’s Darius Milhaud’s Birthday!

It’s Darius Milhaud’s birthday!  Born on this day in 1892, Milhaud grew up in Aix-en-Provence, France.  It’s not too late for you to program some of his works with your ensembles!  Wind Ensembles can always enjoy revisiting his Suite Française. And chamber groups will relish tackling Symphonie de chambre No. 5 “Dixtuor d’instruments à vent”, Op. 75; Le bœuf sur le toit, Op. 58; or my favorite, La création du monde, Op. 81.

Milhaud’s “La Création du Monde” Premiered Today in 1923!

On this day in 1923, Darius Milhaud’s ballet La Création du Monde premiered in Paris’ Théâtre des Champs Elysées. One of the earliest and most masterful blends of Western art music and American jazz, the work is a stunning synthesis! Check out my favorite recording on YouTube, with Leonard Bernstein conducting, or listen to me conduct the work in my recordings section! Finally, collegiate ensembles should think of programming the work, in which consider reading up and using the modern percussion edition in my analysis of the work!

It’s Darius Milhaud’s Birthday!

It’s Darius Milhaud’s birthday!  Born on this day in 1892, Milhaud grew up in Aix-en-Provence, France.  It’s not too late for you to program some of his works with your ensembles!  Wind Ensembles can always enjoy revisiting his Suite Française. And chamber groups will relish tackling Symphonie de chambre No. 5 “Dixtuor d’instruments à vent”, Op. 75; Le bœuf sur le toit, Op. 58; or my favorite, La création du monde, Op. 81.

In 1951 Hindemith’s Symphony in Bb Premiered Today

On April 5th, 1951, the band world eagerly awaited the premiere of Hindemith’s Symphony in Bb for wind band. The composer who had brought us Symphonic Metamorphosis and Mathis de Mahler was going to write an original work for the modern wind band. And the Symphony in Bb did not disappoint.
The work was premiered by the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” under the baton of the composer himself. Hindemith wrote the composition at the request of the Army Band’s conductor, Major Hugh Curry. The three-movement symphony showcased Hindemith’s mastery of counterpoint development of thematic material. The final movement culminates in an incredible double fugue, which is juxtaposed against the original theme from the first movement. Take a moment to listen to the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s performance of this masterwork for the wind band!

It’s Hector Berlioz’s Birthday!

On this day in 1803, Hector Berlioz was born in France at La Côte-Saint-André. A maverick and innovative compositional voice, Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works, and conducted several concerts with more than 1,000 musicians.

While he is best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts (Requiem), Berlioz also made a major contribution to wind literature with his Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale (Grand Funeral and Triumphal Symphony), op. 15, his fourth and final symphony. Berlioz scored the symphony for a large military or concert band, with optional choir and string instruments. First performed on July 28th, 1840 in Paris. The work is one of the earliest examples of a symphony composed for wind band.

Behold the ambitious scoring as you listen to this massive work in the video below!

  • piccolos (4 players)
  • flutes (5 players)
  • oboes (5 players)
  • E-flat clarinets (5 players)
  • 2 B-flat clarinets (26 players total)
  • bass clarinets (2 players)
  • bassoons (8 players)
  • contrabassoon (ad lib)
  • 6 horns in F, A-flat, E-flat, G, D and C (12 players total)
  • 4 trumpets in F, C and B-flat (8 players total)
  • 2 cornets in A-flat, G and B-flat (4 players total)
  • 3 trombones (3 tenors or alto and 2 tenors, 10 players total)
  • bass trombone (ad lib)
  • 2 ophicleides (6 players total)
  • 2 snare drums (8 players total)
  • timpani (ad lib)
  • cymbals (3 players)
  • bass drums, tam tam, turkish crescents
  • choir and strings (both ad lib)