Charles Ives (trans. James B. Sinclair)
N.B. Although sources differ, the correct punctuation of the title appears to be "Country Band" March.
Year: 1903 / 1974
Original Medium: Theater Orchestra
Duration: c. 4:15
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Cost: Score and Parts - $150.00 | Score - $15.00
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
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 Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Percussion I-II-III, including:
- Bass Drum
- Snare Drum
- B-flat Trumpet II, m.18: An impossible mute change. The player may reasonably omit the prior 2-3 measures in order to take the mute, because the notes are covered in tenor sax and 3rd cornet, respectively.
Country Band March was composed around 1903, four years after Ives' graduation from Yale and five years prior to his lucrative insurance partnership with Julian Myrick. Ives had just resigned as organist at Central Presbyterian Church, New York, thus ending thirteen and one-half years as organist of various churches. He was, according to Henry Cowell, "exasperated ... by the routine harmony for hymns." During this period Ives finished his Second Symphony (1902), composed three organ pieces that were later incorporated into his Third Symphony (1904), composed the Overture and March "1776" and various songs and chamber pieces. Apparently, the Country Band March received no performances, and only a pencil score-sketch is in evidence today. Later, Ives seemed very interested in this music, since he incorporated nearly all of it, in one form or another, into the "Hawthorne" movement of Sonata No. 2 (Concord)," The Celestial Railroad,’’ the Fourth Symphony (second movement) and especially "Putnam's Camp" from Three Places in New England.
From the "out of tune" introduction to the pandemonium which reigns at the close, the Country Band March is a marvelous parody of the realities of performance by a country band. While the main march theme is probably Ives' own, the march features an impressive list of quotations that includes Arkansas Traveler, Battle Cry of Freedom, British Grenadiers, The Girl I Left Behind Me, London Bridge, Marching Through Georgia, "Massa's in de Cold, Cold Ground, My Old Kentucky Home, Violets, Yankee Doodle, May Day Waltz and Semper Fidelis. There is rarely anything straightforward about the use of this material; the tunes are subjected to Ives's famous techniques of "poly-everything." Of particular interest is Ives's use of "ragtime" elements to enliven this already spirited march.
- Program Note from score
The Country Band March was composed in 1903 and arranged for full band in 1973 by James Sinclair of Yale University. The piece displays some of Ives’ most distinguishing characteristics, particularly the use of quotations of tunes that were popular in his childhood. Unlike other composers who make use of similar material, Ives sought deliberately to capture the inaccuracies of rhythm and intonation that he usually heard in amateur performances. The results can be wildly humorous and raucous, and affectionately nostalgic, often at the same time.Country Band March later became part of larger works by Ives: the Symphony No. 4 and the "Putnam’s Camp" movement of Three Places in New England.
- Program Note by Richard Franko Goldman
This free-for-all collage of children's tunes, country fiddling, patriotic songs, and two Sousa march allusions (Semper Fidelis and Washington Post, The) was composed first for theater orchestra and later expanded, along with Overture and March "1776" to form Putnam's Camp, the central movement of Ives's orchestral set Three Places in New England. Composed no earlier than 1905, Country Band March recalls the blatant band shenanigans embodied in its sister piece Overture and March "1776" and at the same time points ahead to the frenetic ragtime episodes in Charlie Rutlage and Runaway Horse on Main Street. Clearly defined throughout Sinclair's virtuosic transcription is Ives' use of ragtime to poke infinite fun at the band's late entrances, bad cut-offs, delayed patter, and general miscounting -- often accentuating the major-minor (and other) clashes unleashed by unheeded key signatures. If one had to classify Country Band March in traditional terms, it would be what John Philip Sousa and his contemporaries often dubbed a "humoresque" or "musical joke" -- a grandchild really of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's sextet subtitled The Village Musicians, K522.
- Program note by Jonathan Elkus
- Country Band March has been recommended as interesting, serious and distinctive music by members of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE).
- L.V. Berkner High School (Richardson, Tx.) Symphonic Band (Michael Brashear, conductor) – 22 December 2000 (2000 Midwest Clinic)
- Audio CD: "The President's Own" United States Marine Band (Col. Timothy W. Foley, Director)
- New York: Grade VI
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- The Colony (Tx.) High School Wind Symphony (Michael Larkin, conductor) - 27 April 2023 (2023 Dallas Winds Festival)
- Idaho State University (Pocatello) Wind Ensemble (Patrick Young, conductor) - 5 October 2022
- National Youth Band of Canada (Toronto, Ont.) (Darrin Oehlerking, conductor) - 13 May 2022
- Clovis (Calif.) High School Wind Ensemble (Esmeralda Lozano, conductor) – 22 April 2022 (2022 San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) Concert Band Invitational)
- University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Karl Meyers, conductor) - 9 February 2022
- Oklahoma City University Wind Ensemble (Matthew Mailman, conductor) - 16 September 2021
- Messiah University (Mechanicsburg, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (James Colonna, conductor) - 13 November 2020
- West Virginia University (Morgantown) Wind Symphony (Scott C. Tobias, conductor) – 9 March 2020
- Western Carolina University (Cullowhee, N.C.) Wind Ensemble (Margaret Underwood, conductor)– 15 November 2019
- The College of New Jersey (Ewing) Wind Ensemble (Eric Laprade, conductor) – 18 October 2019
- University of Delaware (Newark) Wind Ensemble (Lauren Reynolds, conductor) – 27 September 2019
- Indiana University (Bloomington) Concert Band (Jason H. Nam, conductor) – 6 April 2019
- Wind Symphony of Clovis (Calif.) (Lawrence R. Sutherland, conductor) - 19 December 2018 (2018 Midwest Clinic)
- Wind Symphony of Clovis (Clovis, Calif.) (Lawrence R. Sutherland, conductor) – 17 October 2018
- Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, Tex.) Wind Ensemble (David Campo, conductor) – 9 October 2018
- Arizona State University (Tempe) Wind Orchestra (Gary W. Hill, conductor) – 25 September 2018
- Temple University (Philadelphia, Penn.) Wind Symphony (Patricia Cornett, conductor) – 28 September 2018
- Quad City Wind Ensemble (Davenport, Iowa) (Brian Hughes, conductor) - 12 May 2018
- Mercyhurst University (Erie, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (Scott Meier, conductor) - 5 May 2018
Works for Winds by This Composer
- The Alcotts (tr. Elkus) (1920/1947)
- The Alcotts (tr. Thurston) (1920/1972)
- Charlie Rutlage (tr. Sinclair)
- A Christmas Carol (tr. Paxton) (1922/2016)
- The Circus Band (tr. Elkus)
- A Concord Symphony (tr. Patterson) (1920/2010)
- "Country Band" March (tr. Sinclair) (1903/1974)
- Decoration Day (tr. Elkus)
- Fantasia on "Jerusalem the Golden" (1888)
- Finale from "Symphony No. 2" (tr. Elkus) (1907/1974)
- Four Eccentric Songs (tr. Paxton) (1922/2016)
- Fugue in C (arr. Sinclair) (1900/1992)
- Here's to Good Ol' Yale: See: March 6: Here's to Good Ol' Yale
- In the Mornin' (arr. Singleton) (1929)
- Lento Maestoso and Finale from "Symphony No. 2" (tr. Elkus) (1907/1974/2001)
- March 6: Here's to Good Ol' Yale (tr. Elkus) (1897/2003)
- March Intercollegiate (ed. Brion) (1892(?)/1973)
- Memories, Very Pleasant and and Rather Sad (arr. Elkus) (1922/2011?)
- Old Fashioned Hymns (tr. Paxton) (1922/2016)
- Old Home Days (arr. Elkus) (1954)
- Omega Lambda Chi (ed. Brion) (1896/1974)
- Overture and March "1776" (tr. Sinclair) (1904/1910)
- Postlude in F (tr. Singleton) (1890-92/1991)
- Ragtime Dance No. 4 (trans. Sinclair) (?/1990)
- Runaway Horse on Main Street (1908)
- A Son of a Gambolier (arr. Elkus) (1892/1962)
- Symphony No. 2. See: Lento Maestoso and Finale from "Symphony No. 2" and Finale from "Symphony No. 2"
- They are There! (arr. Sinclair)
- The Unanswered Question (1908/1935/1989)
- Variations on "America" (orch. Schuman, tr. Rhoads) (1891/1968)
- Variations on "Jerusalem the Golden" (tr. Brion) (1900/1974)
- Aldrich, Mark. A Catalog of Folk Song Settings for Wind Band. Meredith Music Publications, 2004, pp. 55–60.
- Arnold, Jermie Steven. "'Country Band' March: Historical Perspectives, Stylistic Considerations, and Rehearsal Strategies." D.M.A dissertation. George Mason University, 2014.
- Arnold, Jermie Steven. "'Country Band' March--Pioneering the Ivesian Sound." Journal of Band Research, 52, no. 1, Fall 2016, pp. 44-65.
- Brinberg, Isaac. "David Wallis Reeves and John Philip Sousa's Influence of Charles Ives's Early Marches for Wind Band." Journal of Band Research, vol. 57, no. 2, Spring 2002, pp. 37–59.
- Castleman, Lisa D. "A Conductor's Practical Approach to 'Country Band' March by Charles Ives." M.M. thesis. California State University, Long Beach, 2014.
- Charles Ives Society website
- Ethington, Bradley P. "Charles Ives's 'Country Band' March: Its Appearance in Three of His Major Works." WASBE Journal 10 (2003), pp. 106-110.
- Miles, Richard B. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2000. pp. 451-456.
- "The President's Own" United States Marine Band. Charles Ives's America. CD album booklet.