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Light Cavalry Overture (arr McAlister)

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Franz von Suppé

Franz von Suppé (trans. Clark McAlister; ed. Alfred Reed)

General Info

Year: 1866 / 2003
Duration: c. 7:15
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $80.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
B-flat Cornet I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II (3 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Light Cavalry Overture is the overture to Franz von Suppé’s operetta Light Cavalry (German: Leichte Kavallerie), premiered in Vienna in 1866. Although the operetta is rarely performed or recorded, the overture is one of Suppé's most popular compositions, and has achieved a quite distinct life of its own, divorced from the opera of which it originally formed a part. Many orchestras around the world have the piece in their repertoire, and the main theme of the overture has been quoted numerous times by musicians, cartoons and other media.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

The Light Cavalry Overture was written as the prelude to an operetta of the same name. First produced in Vienna on March 24, 1866, it quickly fell into obscurity, but the overture lives on today as one of Suppe’s finest. In military parlance, the term light cavalry refers to horse-mounted troops who were trained to fight while riding.

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

Light Cavalry Overture is an energetic and lively overture from the Leichte Kavallerie, an operetta by Franz von Suppé (1819 — 1895). Suppé composed many operettas and comedies, most of which have now become obsolete. However, his overtures continue to be played in many orchestras, as well as being found in movies, cartoons and advertisements.

Light Cavalry debuted in 1866 in Vienna. The Overture starts off with a brilliant fanfare played by the trumpets and brass, like a military reveille preparing soldiers for battle. Then at the Allegro, the upper woodwinds play a theme including quick triplets, as the enemy soldiers stealthily approach the battlefield. At the Allegretto Brillante, the brass plays a galloping theme as the cavalry rides to battle, and not long after, the rest of the ensemble joins in. Then, the music changes into a minor key as the battle starts and the cavalry charges. At the end of the first battle, soldiers and their general die, and the clarinet mourns their deaths in its cadenza. A solemn Hungarian melody starts at the Andantino con moto, as the people of the country mourn its lost soldiers. The Allegretto Brillante returns as the cavalry regroups for another charge, defeating the enemy and ending the overture in a triumphant victory.

- Program Note from the Coppell North Honor Winds concert program, 12 February 2016


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State Ratings

  • Georgia: VI
  • North Carolina: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Bixby High School (Oklahoma) Wind Ensemble (Jeremy W. Parker, conductor) – 26 February 2017
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Symphony Band (Zhonghui Dai, conductor) – 22 September 2016

Works for Winds by This Composer