Fete Polonaise

From Wind Repertory Project
Emmanuel Chabrier

Emmanuel Chabrier (trans. Donald Patterson)

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General Info

Year: 1887 / 2009
Duration: c. 8:15
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manuscript


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Fête Polonaise (“Polish Party”) is a thrilling excerpt from Chabrier’s comic opera Le Roi malgré lui (The Reluctant King”). Although it has not found a consistent place among the common operatic and orchestral repertoire, Le Roi malgré lui was greatly admired by Ravel and Stravinsky. Ravel claimed that “the premier of Le Roi malgré lui changed the course of French harmony.”

The excerpt Fête Polonaise is taken from the beginning of Act II. A festive introduction, complete with brass fanfare, is followed by a playful section with abundant dotted rhythms. As the music continues and expands in scope throughout the piece, it is periodically reined back in by lighter woodwind passages. The Fête Polonaise ends with what can be described as an “agitated coda” that sprints towards the conclusion with a flurry of style, excitement, and fanfare truly representative of Chabrier’s style, humor and personality.

As one of the most prolific transcribers and music arrangers of his generation, Marine Band Staff Arranger MSgt. Donald Patterson has made some of the most beloved and important orchestral masterpieces widely available to the world of the wind ensemble. Patterson joined “The President’s Own” Marine Band as a trombonist in 1991, and became part of the music production staff in 2003. His major transcriptions include Respighi’s Feste Romane, Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, and Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto.

-Program note by Scott Van Gundy for the Marcus High School Wind Symphony

Commercial Discography


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State Ratings

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Works for Winds by This Composer


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