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Cypress Prelude, A

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Christopher Lowry

Christopher Lowry

This work bears the designation Opus 16a.

General Info

Year: 2016
Duration: c. 5:35
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Murphy Music Press
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $250.00   |   Score Only (print) - $50.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Piccolo Clarinet (optional but recommended)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion (3 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

A Cypress Prelude, which exists in versions for symphony orchestra and wind band, has garnered performances around the globe with a quickly rising popularity due in no small part to its perceptibly adroit craft. It was recently named the 2017 Sousa/ ABA/Ostwald award-winning composition, to be featured at the ABA annual conference.

Writing on the work, the composer suggests its influence thusly:

“This piece is meant to musically depict the simultaneous stalwartness and abstract beauty of a southern cypress tree. The theme grows from one small motive that germinates organically throughout the course of this short, relatively undeveloped piece. [...] Overall the piece is somewhat whimsical, while remaining deeply rooted in its serious nature.”

Puns about roots notwithstanding, the piece is clever, unfolding in a rhapsodic form that, while freewheeling, seems concise and complete. The opening of the work is dramatic and rich, with a broad and rhythmic declamatory statement subsiding into a pensive horn solo. From there unfurls a bouncy section of imitative polyphony in clarinets, harkening to the mid-20th century wind band works of composers like Vittorio Giannini. At its apex, this segment adopts a picaresque charm, brash and overt with its humor. Another solo concludes the first half of the work, with alto saxophone mirroring the wistful nature of the earlier horn melody. The contrasting section that follows is lush and romantic, with soaring legato melodies and a yearning character. This metamorphoses back through the original clarinet fugato into a whirlwind finish that combines all of the previously stated motives and styles, ending with a convincing thrust of bravado.

- Program Note from Baylor University Wind Ensemble concert program, 1 March 2018


  • American Bandmasters Association Sousa/Ostwald Prize, 2017, winner


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Grand Symphonic Winds (Roseville, Minn.) (Matthew J. George, conductor) - 16 October 2021

  • Colorado Wind Ensemble (Denver) (David Kish, conductor)– 17 November 2019
  • Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio) Symphonic Winds (Ryan Scherber, conductor) – 4 March 2019
  • Texas A&M University (College Station) Symphonic Winds (Travis Almany, conductor) – 18 November 2018
  • Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Wind Symphony (Kerry Taylor, conductor) - 9 March 2018 (83rd Annual ABA National Convention)
  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Wind Ensemble (Eric Wilson, conductor) – 1 March 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer