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American Games

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Nicholas Maw

Nicholas Maw

General Info

Year: 1991
Duration: c. 20:20
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Faber Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $99.00   |  Score Only - $24.95


Full Score
Flute I-II (II doubles Alto Flute)
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bassoon I-II
Eb Alto Saxophone
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Tuba I-II
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Claves
  • Cymbals (crash and suspended (md and lg))
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong (Tam-tam)
  • Rattle
  • Side Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Tenor Drum
  • Triangle
  • Whip
  • Woodblock


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

American Games was commissioned by the BBC for the 1991 Promenade Concerts. Affectionately inscribed to our friends in Washington, D.C. It was premiered on July 23, 1991, by the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Band, Timothy Reynish, conductor on the BBC Promenade Concert, Royal Albert Hall, London.

- "Program Note from score"

When Nicholas Maw was asked to write a work for wind band, the medium suggested to him associations with American youth and vigor, city and small-town life, sporting events and other outdoor occasions, and in more general terms the sense which the United States can still convey of unlimited space and boundless possibilities. At the same time, there are only a few elements of American Games that belong to specifically American musical traditions: what Maw calls a “whiff of marching bands” in the first movement, a few hints here and there of the harmonies and voicing of jazz arrangers, and, in the sixth movement, a chorale which the composer describes as “my version of a Baptist hymn”.

As for the other half of the title, the word “games” indicates that this was a work which was enjoyable to write: by Maw’s standards, it was finished unusually quickly. It is also intended to provide enjoyment for its players and for its audiences. The different sections of the symphonic wind ensemble are highlighted in turn in seven strongly characterized movements, the last an extended quick finale. These are framed by an introduction and coda, and the whole work is played in a continuous sequence lasting about 20 minutes.

- Program Note by Erin Petti for the State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble concert program, 25 February 2017

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Massachusetts: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of North Florida (Jacksonville) Wind Symphony (Erin Bodnar, conductor) – 19 February 2020
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) – 25 February 2017
  • Satellite High School Wind Ensemble - 2010

Works for Winds by this Composer

None discovered thus far.