Elements (Balmages)

From Wind Repertory Project
Brian Balmages

Brian Balmages

Subtitle: Petite Symphony

General Info

Year: 2010
Duration: c. 8:55
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: FJH Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $95.00   |   Score Only (print) - $16.00


1. Air - 1:50
2. Water 2:30
3. Earth - 2:00
4. Fire - 1:50


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Brake Drum
  • Cabasa
  • China Cymbals
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Hi-Hat
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam, large
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wind Chimes


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Four short movements make up this "petite symphony" constructed in the same form as the elements of a traditional symphony: Allegro non troppo, Largo, Scherzo, and Allegro vivace. Each movement also refers to an element of nature. Movement 1, Air, is light and breathy, made up mostly of staccato notes. Water, the second movement, ripples and flows softly and gently. An homage to Holst's The Planets can be heard in Earth, the third movement. The piece concludes in an intense inferno with Fire.

- Program Note from publisher

This short four-movement work is written in the same form as a traditional symphony, hence the subtitle Petite Symphony.”Each movement depicts one of four elements: air, water, earth and fire. The first movement, Air, features a four-note motif that continues uninterruptedly throughout the movement. The voices and textures surrounding the motif evolve and change as the work progresses, but the original four notes remain the same. The second movement, Water, represents a quiet body of water. The dips and crests in the music represent droplets of water interrupting the smoothness of the surface, creating small ripples across the otherwise peaceful water. Earth, the third movement of the work, depicts the rapid spinning of the earth itself. The movement draws musical inspiration from Mercury, the Winged Messenger from Holst’s The Planets (“Rather ironically…”, the composer writes, “…because earth was the only planet excluded from his work”). The movement is constructed in ABA form, wherein the A section returns almost in its entirety, which “symbolizes the earth’s recurrent spinning on its axis.” The fourth and final movement, Fire, depicts raging intensity of fire. This movement is the most aggressive and harmonically complex. As the work progresses, the four-note motif from Air returns, symbolizing Greek philosopher Empedocles’ idea that both fire and air are “outwardly reaching” elements.

- Program Note from The Ohio State University University Band concert program, 29 September 2022

Commissioned by Peak Music Festivals, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Georgia: V
  • Iowa: IV
  • Kansas: IV
  • Maryland: IV
  • Minnesota: II
  • Mississippi: IV-A
  • North Carolina: V
  • Tennessee: IV
  • West Virginia: III


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Sacramento (Calif.) Symphonic Winds (Matthew Morse, conductor) - 10 December 2023
  • Punahou Academy (Honolulu, Hi.) Wind Ensemble (Grant King, conductor) - 6 April 2023
  • University of North Dakota (Grand Forks) University Band (James Popejoy, conductor) - 7 March 2023
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Campus Band (Eric Wiltshire, conductor) - 16 November 2022
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) University Band (Alex Mondragon, conductor) - 29 September 2022
  • Missouri University of Science & Technology (Rolla) Wind Symphony (David Samson, conductor) - 25 September 2022
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Concert Band (Brent Echols, conductor) - 25 February 2022
  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Concert Band (John Korak, conductor) - December 2020
  • Sacramento (Calif.) Winds (Timothy Smith, conductor) – 15 March 2020
  • Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Concert Band (Steve Dailey, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, O.) 9-10 High School Honor Band (Ishbah Cox, conductor) – 15 February 2020
  • Sacramento (Calif.) Symphonic Winds (Tim Smith conductor) – 11 February 2020
  • Castleton (Vt.) University Wind Ensemble (Joshua Thompson, conductor) – 10 December 2019
  • Sacramento (Calif.) State University Concert Band (Matthew Morse, conductor) - 16 October 2019
  • Ithaca College (NY) Summer Music Academy Intermediate Wind Ensemble (Aaron Burgess, conductor) - 3 August 2019
  • Allegheny College (Meadville, Pa.) Band Camp for Adult Musicians (Timothy W. Foley, conductor) - 14 June 2019
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Boomer Concert Band (Brian Britt, conductor) – 21 February 2019
  • Ohio State University (Columbus) Gray High School Honor Band (Chris Hoch, conductor) – 14 January 2018
  • Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore, Md.) Preparatory Wind Band (Karen Seward, conductor) – 13 May 2017
  • Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) Symphonic Band (Nathaniel H. Dickey, conductor) – 30 April 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works