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Flag of Stars

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Gordon Jacob

Gordon Jacob


Subtitle: Salute to America


General Info

Year: 1954
Duration: 10:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Rental


Instrumentation

Full Score
Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Bb Soprano Clarinet Solo
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet (doubles the Bass Saxophone part)
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Bass Saxophone
Cornet (in Bb) Solo
Cornet (in Bb) I-II-III
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbal (crash)
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

The overture was written during the end of 1953 and the beginning of 1954 and is intended as a gesture from an inhabitant of the Old World to those of the New.

The introductory fanfare and the slow section which follows it recalls the sacrifices made by your country in both world wars in the struggle with dark forces of destruction. The allegro is prompted by thoughts of the energy, vitality, and cheerfulness of the American people - young, optimistic, and full of their faith in their destiny. The second subject in 3/4 time might perhaps suggest a sort of national song and right at the end there is a brief quotation from the "Star Spangled Banner." But apart from any extra-musical meaning the work is constructed solidly on classical formal lines though its musical language is that of the 20th century (though not of an extreme type).

- Program Note by Gordon Jacob


Flag of Stars is a symphonic overture commissioned by the Pi Kappa Omicron Band Fraternity. The work was written in 1954 and published in 1956. The dedication reads, “For the Symphonic Band of Louisville University, Kentucky, USA.” Though written by a British composer, the work is infused with American patriotism. The title is taken from the Walt Whitman poem “Flag of Stars! Thick–sprinkled Bunting!” Jacob referred to Flag of Stars as “a gesture from an inhabitant of the Old World to those of the New.” So unsubtle are the patriotic references that in the closing measures, Jacob quotes the final couplet of The Star-spangled Banner.

Gordon Jacob wrote of Flag of Stars,

The introductory fanfare and the slow section which follows it recalls the sacrifices made by your country in both world wars in the struggle with dark forces of destruction. The allegro is prompted by thoughts of the energy, vitality, and cheerfulness of the American people—young, optimistic, and full of their faith in their destiny. The second subject in 3/4 time might perhaps suggest a sort of national song.

In the foreword to the published score to Flag of Stars, Jacob offers one more American patriotic gesture by quoting the final stanza of Walt Whitman’s Song of the Redwood Tree.

Fresh come to a New World indeed, yet long prepared,
I see the Genius of the Modern, child of the Real and Ideal,
Clearing the ground for broad humanity, the true America,
heir of the past so grand,
To build a grander future.

- Program Note by State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Concert Band concert program, 5 October 2016


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • North Carolina: VI


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

  • Montesinos, Sixto F. "Gordon Jacob's Flag of Stars." The Instrumentalist. September 2017, pp. 16-20, 39. Print.