Concerto for Percussion and Wind Ensemble (Husa)

From Wind Repertory Project
Karel Husa

Karel Husa

General Info

Year: 1971
Duration: c. 16:45
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Associated Music Publishers, Inc., through Hal Leonard
Cost: Score & Parts - $175.00   |   Study Score Only (print) - $40.00


1. Maestoso - 3:10
2. Moderato molto - 4:10
3. Allegro ma non troppo - 8:20


Full Score
Piccolo I-II
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional, doubling String Bass)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (optional, doubling Bass Saxophone)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone (optional, doubling Contrabass Clarinet)
Cornet or B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
Tuba I-II
String Bass (doubling Contrabassoon)
Percussion (5 players), including:

  • Antique Cymbals (or Crotales, pitched C, E, B)
  • Claves
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong (Tam-Tam, 3: small, medium, large)
  • Marimba
  • Sizzle Cymbal
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal (3: small, medium and large)
  • Tenor Drum
  • Timpani
  • Tom-Toms (3: small, medium, large)
  • Triangle (large)
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


In Score:

  • Introductory page...the instrument listing should read "Marimba," not "Xylorimba")
  • P.1, m.4,. The last 16th note of the first beat should be tied over to the eighth note of the second beat.
  • P.62, m.201: Marimba and Xylophone rhythms should be 4 sixteenths, a sixteenth rest, two sixteenths, and a sixteenth rest.
  • P.84, m.301: Vibraphone should stop the motor in this measure but let the sound vibrate, then travel to the Gong.
  • P.92, m.346-347: Repeat signs are needed in the Bb Clarinets.

In Parts:

  • Timpani, Mvmt III, m,163: Part should have 6 measures rest, not 7.

Program Notes

Concerto for Percussion and Wind Ensemble was premiered on February 7, 1972, by the Baylor University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Gene Smith, conductor, and Dr. Larry Vanlandingham, Instructor of Percussion, Baylor University.

Regarding writing for percussion, Husa stated in an article in Woodwind World-Brass and Percussion from 1975:

I am not writing for percussion in any special way but in the same manner I would write for any group (woodwinds, brass, or strings). Of course, I keep in mind the characteristics of every percussion instrument as I would when I write for flute or violin. Often, I like to bring out the virtuoso quality of each instrument so that the resulting sound is not just a “bang” here and there … the writing for percussion then can be for instance soloistic or quartet-like construction (compared to a string quartet). Other considerations include color combinations, rhythmic pulse, incredible dynamic possibilities as well as practical availabilities such as interval and chord extensions on keyboard instruments when two mallets are used in each hand.

- Program Note from University of Texas Wind Symphony concert program, 18 November 2015

Karel Husa’s primary instrument as a young musician was the violin, yet it is his adeptness at writing music for percussion instruments that has become his trademark. In an interview with Frank Battisti, Husa describes his dilemma after an Ithaca College percussionist asked him what type of stick he intended the young man to use in a certain passage. “…I thought, I’d better learn more about these instruments. So I went to the band room at Cornell and spent two weeks with the percussion instruments and all the various mallets. As I tried to play them, I tried to produce different sounds. Those two weeks were like Liszt's visit to the monastery, because I learned so much. I got so interested in percussion that it became almost an obsession.” Surely all percussionists who have performed any of Husa’s music would concur with his success.

That success is nowhere more evident than in his Concerto for Percussion and Wind Ensemble. This work was suggested by Larry Van Landingham, the percussion instructor at Baylor University. Donald McLaurin’s interviews with the composer reveal that “it was the percussion parts in Music for Prague 1968 which prompted [them] to ask me to write a Concerto for Percussion and Wind Ensemble… This idea was accepted with enthusiasm, for it would be original and impressive to see and hear a percussion ensemble in front of the band.”

The actual commission came from the famous percussion company Ludwig Industries and occurred on February 7, 1972 , in Waco, Texas. The performance featured Dr. Van Landingham (the names of the other four percussionists are not known), and was accompanied by the Baylor University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Gene C. Smith, conductor. The review in the Waco Journal the next day wrote: “The 17 minute concerto does have an aspect of planned cacophony at times but the operative word always is ‘planned’. There is a scheme in it, and most of its devices are musical as well as rhythmic, from the opening somber theme for chimes and vibraphone … to the prolonged finale beginning in the timpani and tam tams and bringing in the entire battery plus the massed ensemble for some genuinely pulsing stirring moments. It is a stirring work, ingeniously devised to display the entire percussion battery, individually, in combination and tutti…”

- Program Note from liner notes from Ithaca College CD Apotheosis of this Earth


State Ratings

  • Iowa: VI
  • Kansas: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Massachusetts: VI
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Symphony (Scott Hanna, conductor) – 18 November 2015
  • Austin (Texas) Civic Wind Ensemble (Robert Laguna, conductor) - 9 November 2014
  • The Appalachian Wind Ensemble with The New Paradigm Percussion Quintet (Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University, John Stanley Ross, conductor) - 21 April 2010
  • Eastman Wind Ensemble (Rochester, N.Y.) (Donald Hunsberger, conductor) - 8 February 2002 *Eastman Wind Ensemble 50th Anniversary Concert*
  • Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Gene Smith, conductor; Larry Vanlandingham, percussion)] - 7 February 1972 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer