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Hounds Of Spring, The

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This work has been identified for inclusion in the Small Band Repertoire Initiative. You may find discussion of the work's challenges and merits under the Discussion tab above. You may also contribute your own thoughts and recommendations by joining the WRP.

Alfred Reed

Alfred Reed

Subtitle: A Concert Overture for Winds

General Info

Year: 1981
Duration: c. 8:45
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Edward B. Marks
Cost: Score and Parts - $80.00   |   Score Only - $10.00


Full Score
Flute I-II-III (III doubling C Piccolo)
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
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-III
B-flat Cornet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


In parts:

  • Piccolo, m.186, beat 4: C should read D
  • Oboe I, m. 58, beat 3: delete staccato dot
  • E-flat Soprano Clarinet, m.30, beat 1: E should read D
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet I, m.33, beat 3: F-sharp should read F-natural
  • Horns in F III-IV, m.173: add 6/8 meter signature
  • Timpani, m. 28, beat 4: remove staccato dot
  • Percussion I, m.185, beat 4: add a duration dot
  • Percussion III, m.181: delete "to Vibes."
  • Percussion III, m.187: Vibes. should read Xyl.
  • Percussion III, m.191: delete "to Xyl." [These corrections indicated in the condensed score.]

In score:

  • Oboe I, m.272, beat four: begin the slur on this note
  • B-flat Trumpet I, m.74, beat 1: add a duration dot
  • B-flat Cornet II, m.190, beat 3: add a staccato dot
  • Vibraphone, m.187-191: Vibes. in left margin should read Xyl.

See also Topolewski in Resources, below.

Program Notes

According to Alfred Reed, When the hounds of spring are in winter's traces, a magical picture of young love in springtime, forms the basis for the present purely musical setting, in traditional three-part overture form, of this lovely paean... an attempt to capture the twin elements of the poem, exuberant youthful gaiety and the sweetness of tender love, in an appropriate musical texture.

The Hounds of Spring was commissioned by, and dedicated to, the John L. Forster Secondary School Concert Band of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and its director, Gerald A. N. Brown. The world premiere was in Windsor on May 8, 1980, conducted by the composer.

- Program notes from Wikipedia and the composer

This exciting, rhythmic overture for band is in the fast-slow-fast format of the early 18th-century Italian opera overtures. The composer's purpose was to capture the twin elements (exuberant, youthful gaiety and the sweetness of tender love) found in the following excerpt from Atlanta in Calydon, written in 1865 by the English poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909).

When the hounds of spring are on winter's traces,
The mother of months in meadow or plain
Fills the shadows and windy places
With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain; Where shall we find her, how shall we sing to her,
Fold our hands round her knees and cling?
O that man's heart were as fire and could spring to her,
Fire, or the strength of the streams that spring!
And soft as lips that laugh and hide
The laughing leaves of the trees divide,
And screen from seeing and leave in sight
The god pursuing, the maiden hin.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Arkansas: V
  • California: V Class A
  • Georgia: VI
  • Iowa: IV
  • Louisiana: IV
  • Michigan: AA
  • Minnesota: Category 1
  • Mississippi: IV-A, V-A, VI-A
  • New York: 2005 CONCERT BAND LEVEL 5
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: V
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: IV. Complete
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Whitworth University (Spokane, Wash.) Wind Symphony (Richard Strauch, conductor) - 9 May 2021
  • Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Concert Band (Steve Dailey, conductor) - 2 May 2021
  • Andrews University (Berrien Springs, Mich.) Wind Symphony (Byron Graves, conductor) - 24 April 2021
  • Grace College (Winona Lake, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Eric Criss, conductor) - 16 April 2021
  • Texas A&M University (College Station) Symphonic Band (Russell Tipton, conductor) - 6 December 2020
  • Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Craig V. Hamilton, conductor) – 9 March 2020
  • Kansas City (Prairie Village) Wind Symphony (Pat Setser, conductor) – 8 March 2020
  • University of Central Florida (Orlando) Concert Band (David Schreier, conductor) – 23 February 2020
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (Kevin Gray Richardson, conductor) – 23 February 2020
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Daniel Cook, conductor) – 18 February 2020
  • State University of New York Oswego Wind Ensemble (Trevor Jorgensen, conductor) – 5 December 2019
  • College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) Community Concert Band (Terry Redford, conductor) - 15 October 2019
  • Santa Fe Wind Ensemble (Gainesville, Fla.) (David Smith, conductor) – 3 October 2019
  • Austin (Tx.) Symphonic Band (Richard Floyd, conductor) – 15 September 2019
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Ryan J. Nowlin, conductor) – 12 June 2019
  • Diablo Wind Symphony (Pleasant Hill, Calif.) (John Maltester, conductor) – 8 June 2018 (Golden Gate Park, San Francisco)
  • Dallas (Tx.) Winds Honor Band (Kathy Johnson, conductor) – 19 May 2019
  • University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire University Band (Randal C. Dickerson, conductor) – 1 May 2019
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Concert Band (Austin Hinkle, conductor) – 24 April 2019
  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Symphonic Band (Stephen Bolstad, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • John L. Forster Secondary School Concert Band (Windsor, Ont., Can.) (Alfred Reed, conductor) - 8 May 1980 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Come, Sweet Death (Flex instrumentation) (as transcriber; arr. Benson) (1736/1976/2019)
  • Two Bagatelles (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Clark) (1983/1997/2010)

All Wind Works


  • Belser, Robert. "The Hounds of Spring." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 6, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 567-573. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2007.
  • The Hounds of Spring, Wikipedia.
  • Reed, A. (1981). The Hounds of Spring: A Concert Overture for Winds [score]. Edward B. Marks Music: Hal Leonard Pub. [distributor]: Winona, Minn.
  • Topolewski, Timothy (comp.). Errata Studies for the Wind Band Conductor. Volume 4. [Timothy Tokopewski], 2003, pp. 1-9.