Alchemy (Boysen)

From Wind Repertory Project
Andrew Boysen, Jr.

Andrew Boysen, Jr.

General Info

Year: 2008 / 2013
Duration: c. 5:30
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Neil A. Kjos Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $75.00   |   Score Only (print) - $8.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Brake Drum
  • Chimes
  • China Cymbals
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Ice Bell
  • Metal Music Stand
  • Orchestra Chimes
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal, small and large
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

I have long admired the masterful craftsmanship of Paul Hindemith's Symphony for Band, particularly the second movement, during which a beautiful slow melodic line is presented, followed immediately by a much faster scherzo-like section. It feels as though the listener has heard in one movement what should be both the traditional second and third movements of a symphony. However, at the end of the movement, Hindemith finally laces the entire first section on top of the entire section. It is a moment of sheer genius and I have always wanted to try to write something similar.

Alchemy is my attempt to create the same effect, although I must admit that I failed to achieve my ultimate goal! The piece begins with an oboe solo introducing the basic melodic material for the piece. Then the first main melodic statement begins in the saxophones, with a response from the full ensemble. After this slow opening, the piece becomes twice as fast, introducing new material that is built on the original melody. Eventually this faster material is repeated along with the return of the opening chorale on top of it, only in major instead of minor. I ultimately altered some of the first section material, unfortunately falling short in my attempt to replicate Hindemith's perfection.

The title of this piece refers to the idea that alchemy involves the attempt to combine and transform base metals into gold. In other words, in this piece I tried to take two individual sections and combine them to create a more perfect statement while also transforming them from a dark (minor) color to a bright (major) one. I also reinforced this concept by using only metallic instruments in the percussion section (other than timpani), including two suspended cymbals, tam-tam, china cymbal, triangle, finger cymbals, metal music stand, brake drum, ice bell, sleigh bells, snare drum (rim only), vibraphone, orchestra bells, and chimes.

Alchemy was commissioned by the Indiana Bandmasters Association for the 2008 All-District Honor Bands.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Maryland: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) University Band (Betsy McCann, conductor) – 30 October 2017
  • Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Craig V. Hamilton, conductor) – 1 November 2016
  • Campbell High School Concert Band - 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer