Fantastic Folk Song Settings for Concert Band

Folk songs have provided the basis for many classical compositions for centuries, a tradition that has carried over into the wind band world.  From settings by Percy Grainger, to the Holst Suites and Grundman Rhapsodies, folk song settings have become staples of band repertoire in individual arrangements, medleys, and original compositions.  There are a half-dozen good new arrangements and compositions incorporating folk songs for concert band this year running the gamut from a beautiful new setting of Shenandoah to the traditional Jewish Hava Nagila – be sure to check them out below!  For more information and analysis of folk song use in standard wind band repertoire check out the Catalog of Folk Song Settings for Wind Band.

Down in the Valley
arr. Pierre La Plante      Grade 3                        $76.00
The most well-known and beloved American mountain ballad in a beautiful, sensitive setting by master folksong tunesmith-arranger, Pierre LaPlante.

Hava Nagila
arr. David Bobrowitz     Grade 3                        $50.00
The excitement builds with the tempo in this wonderfully authentic arrangement of the traditional Hebrew song. Opening with a solo group consisting of flute, saxophone, euphonium, and bells, the unfolding musical tide gains momentum with each section, right through the boisterous, celebratory ending.

Poor Wayfaring Stranger
arr. Andrew Boysen, Jr.            Grade 4                        $70.00
The opening movement of Three Folk Song Settings for Band, “Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” is a dramatic and dark presentation of the well-known song.  Each movement opens with a similar motive of a rising fifth followed by a descending second.  This unifying motive is used both harmonically and melodically in each of the three movements and sets the foundation for the entire suite.

Saddle Up
arr. Clifton J. Jones       Grade 4                        $80.00
Check out this lively mix of traditional songs from the American West, colorfully scored for concert band including Red River Valley, a unique, bluesy setting of The Yellow Rose of Texas, a jaunty Whoopee Ti-Yi-Yo, and caps off with a bright, boot-scootin’ Cotton Eyed-Joe.

arr. Julian Bond             Grade 3                        $68.00
Julian Bond’s rich arrangement of this popular traditional American melody is aimed at developing a warm ensemble sound and expressive phrasing. The palette of colors changes throughout to allow each section to shine as the melodic responsibilities are passed around the ensemble. The piece ebbs and flows from subtle splashes of light to dramatic presentations of melody creating an overall effect that is contemporary and picturesque.

Within the Castle Walls
arr. Brian Balmages      Grade 3                        $80.00
Wielding these courageous Welsh folksongs, a portrait emerges of the many faces of war — bravery in battle, loneliness & longing, pride & national spirit — an inspiring, emotionally-charged and richly varied suite reminiscent of Grainger.

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Categories: Concert Band, Folk Music, Music Education, New Publications

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