Christmas Suite, A

From Wind Repertory Project
Alfred Reed

Alfred Reed

Subtitle: For Brass, Bells, Chimes, and Percussion

General Info

Year: 1974
Duration: c. 15:25
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Edward B. Marks
Cost: Score and Parts - Out of Print


1. Intrada
2. Carol
3. Processional
4. Noel
5. Postlude


Full Score
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Trombone I-II
Tuba (optional)
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bells (2 players, if possible, except on passages marked "solo")
  • Chimes I-II
  • Tabor (or Snare Drum or Field Drum)
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

A Christmas Suite was originally written for the annual Madrigal Dinner presentation at Illinois State University, Normal Illinois, and was first performed there in December, 1972. In its original form the score included only the first, third, and fifth movements, together with a short, independent fanfare. For publication, however, with the possibility of concert rather than (or in addition to) dramatic performances, the fanfare was eliminated and two additional, contrasting movements (the second and the fourth) were added, giving the work its present form.

First Movement: Intrada is intended to represent the unbounded joy of Christmas Day, with all the bells in Christendom ringing in gay abandon. The introduction is followed by a quiet, contemplative section derived from the old Lute-Book Lullaby, which, in turn, is succeeded by a merry tune played first on bells and based on the ancient Gloucestershire Wassail. A return to the opening section completes the musical form with a burst of brass against the combined ringing of chimes and bells.

Second Movement: Carol, for brass alone, is slow and sustained, based on the carol The Moon Shines Bright, re-set for the modern brass choir.

Third Movement: Processional pictures the ornate procession of medieval lords and ladies, guests, servants and retainers to the banquet hall to celebrate the Christmas feast with food, drink and song. Together with the brass and chimes, the score calls for tabor. This medieval drum, whose sound is approximately between the modern snare drum and tenor (field) drum, was used to mark time in singing and dancing in very much the same way as the modern drums do today!

Fourth Movement: Noel is again a contrasting one for brass alone, developed from another medieval carol, Noel! Noel! The melody is modal rather than tonal, and the unexpected harmonizations lend piquancy and novelty to the overall effect.

The final movement Postlude is a summation of the entire work. A fanfare leads into another march-like section and then culminates in an epilogue which hearkens back to the first movement, concluding the suite on a note of triumphant joy.

For Edward Livingston and the Illinois State University Madrigal Brass and Percussion.

- Program Note from score


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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  • Reed, A. (1974). A Christmas Suite : For Brass, Bells, Chimes, and Percussion [score]. E.B. Marks: [s.l.].