Not Your Average Holiday Brass

Not Your Average Holiday Brass
© David R. Tribble

With the holidays upon us, we present a selection of brass-forward works for orchestra and ensemble. Please enjoy these alternatives to standard December fare; their geneses span from film scores (Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev) and Beatles songs (Per Nørgård) to 20th-century political unrest and solidarity (Julius Eastman, Joan Tower, Roy Harris).

Mature works by John Corigliano, Edward Gregson, John Harbison, Aram Khachaturian, and Poul Ruders revel in the musical possibilities of the brass section, while Thea Musgrave and André Previn's pieces date from the earlier years of their careers: the latter two composers celebrate their 90th birthdays this season. Interviews, Appreciations, Photographs, and Catalogues:
Thea Musgrave at Ninety and André Previn at Ninety

In symphonies from Nikos Skalkottas, Avet Terterian, and Galina Ustvolskaya, we encounter three radically different voices from Eastern Europe, all using their brass sections to distinct and compelling ends. Skalkottas' final work for large orchestra abandons the dodecaphony of his earlier music for a dramatically tonal style, and Terterian's Third spares no one from its relentless agony and foreboding. Ustvolskaya, the spiritual visionary and recluse who would have turned 100 in 2019, provides a more measured cry into the void for her Third Symphony; subtitled "Jesus Messiah, Save Us!", it may be evermore appropriate for Christmastimes to come.

John Corigliano
Fanfares to Music
Onstage = hn.2tpt.tbn.btbn; Offstage = 2hn.2pictpt.tbn.tba - 6'
Listen on Spotify

Julius Eastman
If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?
0000/2321/ - 24'
Listen on Spotify

Edward Gregson
Symphony in Two Movements (version for Symphonic Brass and Percussion)
0000/6(flg).4.3.euph.2/timp.2perc - 18'
Listen on YouTube (original brass band version)

John Harbison
Concerto for Double Brass Choir and Orchestra
Double Brass Choir ( total); - 20'
Listen on Spotify

Roy Harris
Symphony No. 11
3+pic.3+ca.3+bcl.4(cbn)/644(btbn)2(bar)/timp/perc/cel.hp/str - 19'
Listen on YouTube

Betsy Jolas
Lassus Ricercare
0000/0230/2perc/[=cel] - 10'

Aram Khachaturian
Symphony No. 3 (Symphony-Poem)
Solo Instruments: Organ, 15 solo trumpets
2+pic.2+ca.2.2/4331/timp.perc/hp/str - 25'
Listen on Spotify

Per Nørgård
Doing (after The Beatles)
0000/5.3+5cnt+flg.0.2+euph/timp.perc - 10'

Thea Musgrave
Brass Band – 7'
Listen on YouTube

André Previn
Triolet for Brass - 18'
Listen on Spotify

Sergei Prokofiev
Pushkiniana, Op. 70
233.tsx.2/4231/timp.perc.chm.glock.xyl/ - 18'
Listen on Spotify

Poul Ruders
Fanfares & Chorales
4hn.3tpt.2cnt.1flg.3tbn.euph.2tba - 14'

Nikos Skalkottas
Classical Symphony in A
6453/6.3+cnt.4.2/timp.perc/2hp/8db - 37'
Listen on YouTube

Dmitri Shostakovich
Golden Mountains, Op. 30
333.ssx+asx+tsx.3/8442/timp.perc.glock.xyl/2hp.Hawaiian gtr/str - 27'
Listen on Spotify

Avet Terterian
Symphony No. 3
3(pic)3(ca)43(cbn)/6331/timp.perc.xyl.3zurnas.2duduks/2pf/str(; additional 6hn - 26'
Listen on Spotify

Joan Tower
Second Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
0000/4331/timp.3perc - 5'
Listen on YouTube

Galina Ustvolskaya
Symphony No. 3, "Jesus Messiah, Save Us!"
0500/0513/3perc/pf/5db - 15'
Listen on YouTube

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