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Il Guarany Overture

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Antônio Carlos Gomes

Antônio Carlos Gomes (arr. Herbert L Clarke)

General Info

Year: 1870 / 1904
Duration: c. 7:15
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Full Score
C Piccolo
D-flat Piccolo
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
E-flat Soprano Cornet
B-flat Cornet Solo-I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass

(Percussion instrumentation undifferentiated in score)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Today, Antonio Gomes is best remembered for his fifth opera, Il Guarany. The work was premièred in 1870 and is based on the novel O Guarani by José de Alencar. The libretto was in Italian rather than Gomes's native Portuguese.

The somewhat convoluted plot involves an attack on a Portuguese nobleman’s castle by Aymoré Indians led by adventurers in love with the nobleman’s daughter. The attack may have been provoked by the daughter’s preference for the son of the Guaraní chief, with whom she escapes. While the plot might employ a number of seemingly tired nineteenth-century opera clichés, the score was considered very successful at the time due, in part, to Gomes’s treatment of Brazilian folk melodies. Il Guarany was performed regularly throughout Europe for several years. Giuseppe Verdi, upon hearing the opera in 1872, referred to it as the work of a “truly musical genius.”

- Program Note from U.S. Marine Band concert program, 17 August 2016

Il Guarany is one of the most brilliant and popular overtures in the repertory of the concert band. Local color is obtained by the use of Amazon Indian melodies. The themes of the overture are largely drawn from the opera itself and each has its place in the action.

The majestic opening subject accompanies the invocation to the sun god by a wild tribe of Indians called the Aimores. The melody, played in octaves by clarinet and bassoon, is the one associated with the scene between the hero and heroine in the camp of the Aimores. The broad, expressive melody following later provides the orchestral background for the plotting of Gonzales and his henchmen. There are many other interesting passages, including a beautiful melody sung by the principal characters as a love-duet in the opera. The overture closes with a shortened version of the invocation to the sun god.

- Program Note from score

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Tennessee: VI


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Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Gomes, C.; Clarke, H. (1904). Il Guarany Overture [score]. Carl Fischer: New York.
  • Il Guarany, Wikipedia Accessed 17 August 2016
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 238-239.