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Alfred Reed

Alfred Reed

Subtitle: A Symphonic Portrait for Concert Band/Wind Ensemble in Five Scenes (after Shakespeare)

General Info

Year: 1977
Duration: c. 18:55
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: E.B. Marks, through Hal Leonard Corporation
Cost: Score and Parts - $75.00   |   Score Only - Unknown


1. Prelude (Venice) - 2:55
2. Aubade (Cyprus) - 1:45
3. Othello and Desdemona - 6:00
4. Entrance of the Court - 3:30
5. The Death of Desdemona - 4:55


Full Score
Piccolo (doubling Flute III)
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
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
Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tenor Drum
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


In parts:

  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet I, mvt. 1, m.35: 4th note should be 8th note, not 16th note
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet III, mvt. 5, m.8: 4th note should be E, not E-flat
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet III, mvt. 5, m.12: Add triplets to notes 4-6
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone, mvt. 1, m.33: 32nd note triplet beat 1, should be 16th note triplet
  • Percussion III, mvt. 3, m.30: Vibraphone chord should be B-natural, not B-flat

In score:

  • Tuba, mvt. 2, m.70: Add tutti
  • Bells, mvt. 3, m.51: Should be 16th note triplet, not 32nd note triplet

Program Notes

Othello is one of many works by Reed written for band. Reed's first composition, inspired by William Shakespeare’s Othello, was for the University of Miami’s Ring Theater. This was scored for 16 brasses and three percussion. There are parts of this work incorporated in the wind band score. Ithaca College Band, as part of the Memorial Commission Series, commissioned this work for Walter Beeler. The work was published in 1976. The Ithaca College Band then premiered Othello on October 12, 1977.

The symphonic portrait for concert band/ wind ensemble is written in five scenes to reflect different moods from scenes in the play. The first movement, Prelude (Venice), sets the militaristic mood that characterizes most of the play. This section is preceded by a quote, “The tyrant custom hath made the flinty and steel couch of war my thrice-driven bed.”

The second movement, Aubade (Cyprus), reflects Act III, Scene I, as referenced by the quote preceding the movement “Good Morning, General.” This is a light movement that depicts musicians playing under the window of Othello and Desdemona.

The third movement, Othello and Desdemona, is a heartfelt and tender section. The movement is preceded by the text “She loved me for the dangers I had passed, and I loved her that she did pity them.” This is from Othello’s speech to the Venetian Senate in Act I.

The fourth movement, Entrance of the Court, reflects on Act IV, Scene I. This depicts Othello’s outrage towards Desdemona when he strikes her in front of the court. Above this movement is the text “Behold, the Lion of Venice!” These words are spoken by Iago, the antagonist, while he is mocking Othello.

The final movement, The Death of Desdemona; Epilogue, is preceded by the text “I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this…” These are the final words that Othello says to Desdemona’s dead body. This movement is both the climax of all of the tensions in the play as well as the release.

- Program Note by Jenna Schultz


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • New York: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Leon High School (Tallahassee, Fla.) Symphonic Band (Erin Whaley, conductor) - 3 May 2022
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee) Symphonic Band (David Plack, conductor) - 7 February 2022
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Symphonic Band (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 25 October 2017
  • Sacramento (Calif.) Symphonic Winds (Tim Smith, conductor) – 19 March 2017
  • Tallahassee (Fla.) Winds (David Plack, conductor) – 27 September 2016
  • Encore Winds (Traverse City, MI) (Tim Topolewski, conductor) - 21 February 2016
  • Illinois State University Wind Symphony (Glenn Blocke, conductor) - 8 February 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works