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Augusta Read Thomas

Augusta Read Thomas

General Info

Year: 2001
Duration: c. 5:45
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts - $95.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion (4 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crotales
  • Marimba
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam, large
  • Triangles (2)
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Magneticfireflies (2001) is a work that explores the gamut of timbral possibilities for the wind ensemble. Instrumental color and sound gesture become the driving force behind this work. From the initial trumpet entrance to the punctuated percussive elements, short musical ideas are passed throughout the ensemble, creating constant aural interest for the listener and a challenge for players. Dominated by brass bell tones, metallic percussion sounds, and flutter tonguing, the piece builds in intensity to a piercing unison finale.

Thomas describes Magneticfireflies as “very rhapsodic, lyrical, rich and majestic, but also quite playful. One of the main intentions of this music is the juxtaposition between stark, bold, individual colors, such as a loud solo trumpet, Mahler style, with a completely blended timbre, Debussy style.”

- Program Note from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Wind Ensemble concert program, 15 July 2015

Magneticfireflies is an essay in juxtaposition and synthesis. Augusta Read Thomas takes as her archetypes Gustav Mahler: for his stark, bold and individual orchestrational colors; and Claude Debussy: for his impressionistic timbres, wholly blended. The composer creates several compositional layers in this loosely organic form as “arguments” for juxtaposition: solo vs. ensemble, fanfare vs. lyricism, stasis vs. rhythmic activity, dynamic contrast, and contrasting articulation (including hosts of grace notes, flutter tongue, and trills). After the brief first statement, the individual contrasts begin a series of syntheses, taking on characteristics of their opponents. After the brief flute solo, there is a return of sorts, leading to a final synthesis in the coda.

- Program Note from State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Wind Ensemble concert program, 24 February 2016



State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • The Horizon Leans Forward…, compiled and edited by Erik Kar Jun Leung, GIA Publications, 2021, p. 494-495.
  • Thomas, A. (2001). Magneticfireflies [score]. G. Schirmer: New York.