Symphony in B-flat for Band (Hindemith)
Symphony in B-flat for Band was written by the German composer Paul Hindemith in 1951. It was premiered on April 5 of that year by the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" with the composer conducting (Miles, et al. 2010, 953).
The Symphony is scored for:
- Woodwind: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, E-flat clarinet, 4 B-flat clarinets, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 2 alto saxophones, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
- Brass: 4 cornets, 2 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones, euphonium, tuba
- Percussion: timpani, bass drum, cymbals, glockenspiel, snare drum, tambourine, triangle
The contrapuntal textures used by Hindemith throughout the symphony highlight many instruments individually. This writing takes advantage of the vast color palette that this combination of instruments offers (Sharp 2011, 212).
Richard Franko Goldman, a bandmaster himself and a music critic of the mid-20th century, called the piece "singularly dead". He states that composing for band is difficult because "the agglomeration of instruments is irrational and exasperating". He previously lamented that the piece falls "between the effort to be popular and obvious, and the intention to remain unsmiling and uncorrupted" (Goldman 1958, 127–28)
- The first Boston-area performance of the Symphony in B-flat for Band was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on May 13, 1955 with conductor John Corley (MIT Concert Band 2007).
- There are two recordings of this piece conducted by composer: Philharmonia Orchestra (1956, EMI, issued 1958 as Angel LP 35489) and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (recorded at the Herkulessaal der Müncher Residenz, 8 October 1959, issued 1989 as ORFEO cassette tape).
- Goldman, Richard Franko. 1958. [Untitled record review of Hindemith, Symphony in B-Flat for Concert Band; Schoenberg, Theme and Variations, Opus 43 A; Stravinsky, Symphonies of Wind Instruments. Eastman Symphonic Wind Ensemble, cond. Frederick Fennell. 12" LP. Mercury MG 50143]. The Musical Quarterly 44, no. 1 (January): 126–28.
- Miles, Richard, Larry Blocher, Eugene Migliaro Corporon, Ray Cramer, Tim Lautzenheiser, and Edward S. Lisk. 2010. Teaching Music through Performance in Band, Volume 1, second edition. [S.l.]: GIA Publications, Inc. ISBN 978-1-57999-788-5.
- MIT Concert Band. 2007. "MIT Concert Band, Director: Thomas Reynolds; Assistant Conductor: Stephen Babineau. Winter Concert, Saturday, December 15, 2007, 8:00pm, Kresge Auditorium". MIT Concert Band website (accessed 14 May 2014).
- Sharp, Chris. 2011. "A Study of Orchestration Techniques for the Wind Ensemble/Wind Band as Demonstrated in Seminal Works". PhD diss. Gainesville: University of Florida (accessed 25 April 2016).
- Anon. n.d. "Symphony in B flat (1951) for Concert Band". Paul Hindemit.org (archive from 26 October 2009, accessed 6 February 2015).
- Hindemith, Paul. 1951. Symphony in B flat for Concert Band (Score). Edition Schott 4063. Mainz: B. Schott's Söhne; New York: Schott Music Corp./Associated Music Publishers.
- Morgan, Robert P. 1991. Twentieth-Century Music. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
- Weiss, Scott A. 2006. "Paul Hindemith and the Genesis of the Symphony in B flat for Concert Band". In Kongressbericht Oberwölz/Steiermark 2004, edited by Bernhard Habla, 379–88. Alta Musica: Eine Publikation der Internationalen Gesellschaft zur Erforschung und Förderung der Blasmusik 25. Tutzing: Schneider. ISBN 3-7952-1203-0.