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Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn

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Norman Dello Joio

Norman Dello Joio

General Info

Year: 1968
Duration: 13:20
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Piano
Publisher: Edward Marks Music Corp.
Cost: Score & Parts - $95.00   |   Score Only - $7.50

Movements (played without pause)

1. Theme: Allegro scherzando - 1 :40
2. Fantasy I: Lo stesso tempo - 2:25
3. Fantasy II: Adagio - 5:10
4. Fantasy III: Allegro, molto spiritoso 3:45


Full Score
Flute I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion (8 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals (suspended, crash)
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Tubular Bells
  • Woodblock
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This work for band is based on a theme from a composition for piano by Franz Joseph Haydn. The subtly conceived theme, I concluded, offered an opportunity to fantasize in the musical language of today.

The three movements are a constantly varied examination of Haydn's basic idea. The bubbling humor of the first and third fantasies flank a second which is intensely lyric. In the final sense, it is my homage to a composer who will always remain contemporary.

This work was commissioned by the MSBOA and dedicated to Mr. Leonard Falcone, Director of Bands at Michigan State University, upon his retirement, in recognition of devoted service to music, to education, and to his colleagues.

- Program Note by composer

Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn is a set of variations on a theme by the great master of Classical style, Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). The short theme, taken from the finale of Haydn’s String Quartet in F major (Op. 74, No. 2), is presented in its entirety by the flutes and low woodwinds shortly after the start of the work. The theme is then broken down into its component parts -- a descending cuckoo-like interval, an ascending scalar passage, a rapid musical turn -- and woven into a continuous, three-movement fantasy.

The first fantasy retains the Classical style and elegance of the theme while carrying the listener through several contrasting variations. Dello Joio cleverly uses short breaks of silence to indicate the end of one variation and the beginning of the next tableaux. The second fantasy, starting with solo flute, uses the theme in several Romantic-style variations. Tension builds as the melody spins upwards and rhythmic complexity increases until the fantasy recedes back to a soft and quite end. The final fantasy feels more twentieth century than its predecessors with aggressive articulations, large leaps, and short melodic fragments. Despite it’s complexity, the third fantasy maintains the elegance and wit of Haydn’s writing with humorous juxtapositions of style, dynamics, and changes in character.

- Program Note compiled by Matthew Boswell for the Florida State University Wind Symphony concert program, 24 September 2021


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • Texas: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Florida State University (Tallahassee) Wind Orchestra (Richard Clary, conductor) - 24 September 2021
  • East Tennessee State University (Johnson City) Wind Ensemble (Christian Zembower, conductor) - 15 April 2021
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Hindsley Symphonic Band (Anthony Messina, conductor) – 6 December 2019
  • University of South Alabama (Mobile) Wind Ensemble (William Petersen, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • California State University Northridge Wind Ensemble (Lawrence Stoffel, conductor) – 19 November 2019
  • Sacramento (Calif.) Symphonic Winds (Tim Smith conductor) – 13 October 2019
  • Cincinnati (Ohio) Youth Wind Ensemble – 29 April 2019
  • Capital Region Wind Ensemble (Schenectady, N.Y.) (Brett Wery, conductor) – 24 March 2019
  • Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (James Colonna, conductor) – 28 February 2019
  • University of Texas (Austin) Symphony Band (Joshua Gall, conductor) – 27 February 2019
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Concert Band (Joshua Roach, conductor) – 14 November 2018
  • St. Louis (Mo.) Wind Symphony (Thomas Poshak, conductor) - 11 November 2018
  • University of Wisconsin-Parkside Community Band (Laura Rexroth, conductor) – 18 October 2018
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Concert Band (Courtney Snyder, conductor) – 16 March 2018
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell Wind Ensemble (Dan Lutz, conductor) – 16 November 2017
  • Lee University (Cleveland, Tenn.) Wind Ensemble (David Holsinger, conductor) – 10 April 2017
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Band (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 2 March 2017
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Concert Band (Jason H. Nam, conductor) – 7 February 2017
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Symphony Band (John T. Madden, conductor) – 1 December 2016

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Fonder, Mark. (2003, September). “The Haydn Variations endure as Norman Dello Joio turns 90.” The Instrumentalist 58(2), 19-22, 27-28. [Includes errata]
  • Lutch, Mitchell. (2003). "Norman Dello Joio." In: A Composer's Insight, Volume 2. Galesville, Md.: Meredith Music Publications. pp. 16–38.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 645-650.