There are very few band programs with the musicianship, instrumental depth, and outright chops necessary to perform grade 4.5-5 literature, so we only promote a couple of titles at those levels each year. Nevertheless, our band staff enjoys checking out the new titles at this difficulty with an ear toward the best of them. To that end, we are happy to share the following titles as the best new pieces for advanced bands this year!
Alleluia – Samuel R. Hazo
Commissioned by the award-winning Kalamazoo (MI) Concert Band, Alleluia is a convergence of hauntingly emotive themes that culminate in breathtaking builds. The Kalamazoo Gazette described it as the “pinnacle of the concert” in which it was premiered, adding that the composition takes the listener from “…bells and chimes to full Hosannas…It first fades like a sunset, then explodes in white light…” Written for mature ensembles, this work will have a powerful impact on the performers as well as all who hear it.
Along an English Countryside – Richard Saucedo
An adept, energetic concert opener composed in tribute to Sir Malcolm Arnold and steeped in British flavour, lilting rhythms, and heartwarming, folklike melodies that dance and celebrate an incomparable musical tradition.
Ascension – Darren Mitchell
Best known for his video game music, Mitchell’s first published band work is a tightly knit composition characterized by upward major and minor thirds and creative use of triple meter. Sparkling scoring and rising lines propel this work toward its ultimate, exciting goal. This musical tour-de-force will help your advanced band ascend to new musical heights!
Conquest 1 – Kenneth Lampl
Bring the excitement and energy of a Hollywood film score to your next concert, and take your students on the epic musical adventure of “Conquest 1.” This non-stop musical juggernaut will get your heart pounding with a soul-stirring climax that will leave your audience breathless!
Metal – Brian Balmages
Inspired by both metallic sounds and heavy metal, this opener or closer is intense in every sense of the word! Aggressive multi-meter passages soon move into dazzling fanfares that play with shifting tonalities before eventually resolving to a brilliant and powerful final chord. Extremely intense and invigorating!
Symphonic Essay – James Barnes
Symphonic Essay is a dramatic work featuring brass fanfares, tonal pyramids, and startling polyharmonies. The mysterious undertones of the piece are interwoven with moments of lyricism, counterpoint, and a multiplicity of timbres and creative settings which culminate in a spectacular coda.
True Calling – Charles Rochester Young
This powerful and exhilarating concert opener depicts the struggle to honor one’s “true life calling.” The pulsating rhythmic elements alternate between 6/8 and 3/4, and on several occasions the two meters are juxtaposed.
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