Passacaglia in G minor
Duration: c. 5:00
Publisher: Shawnee Press
E-flat Soprano Clarinet (optional)
B-flat Soprano Clarinets I–II–III-IV
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet and Bb Contra-Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra-Bass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophones I–II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb B-flat Cornet I–II–III
Bb Trumpets I–II
Horns in F I–II–III–IV
None discovered thus far.
In May 1975, Houston Bright's Passacaglia in G minor was among works named by the National Association for Music Education's Bicentennial Commission for inclusion on a Selective List of American Music for the Bicentennial Celebration. Compositions so honored were chosen by the College Band Directors National Association and the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, with assistance from Bicentennial Commission members Professor George H. Kyme and Dr. Frank Anthony Bencriscutto.
Here is how the composer himself had described his work a dozen years earlier, in a prefatory note (dated March of 1963) to the published score:
"The term passacaglia is generally defined as a continuous series of variations constructed upon a short, insistently repeated bass line called basso ostinato (note the Italian word for 'obstinate'). This 'ground' usually moves downward through the minor scale in a moderate three-beat meter. The variations are characterized by slow harmonic rhythm; i.e., chord changes take place only about once every measure. In the present work, the basses state the six-measure ground in the traditional manner, whereupon a fairly regular three-part (ABA) form gradually evolves. Each section consists of five variations, throughout which volume, tension, and excitement gradually build toward the section climax. At the end of the B section, the ground momentarily shifts upward to the flutes and oboes, in a two-variation interlude that introduces a suddenly quiet, somewhat pastoral mood, preceding the return to A. The work closes with a short coda, consisting of a modified restatement of the original ground."
Dr. Bright's passacaglia is marked "larghetto (♩ = c. 72-80)" throughout, and achieves its effects, across its 120-bar length, by dynamic shifts both subtle and dramatic and by the ever-changing interplay of different instrumental groupings in the successive variations.
—Program Note by Clifford W. Crouch
The classical passacaglia is generally defined as a continuous set of variations upon a short, insistently repeated bass line, called basso ostinato. This "obstinate bass," or "ground," as it is often called, usually moves downward through the minor scale in a moderate three-beat meter.
In the present work, the basses state the six-measure ground in the traditional manner, whereupon a fairly regular three-part (ABA) form gradually evolves. Each section consists of five variations throughout, in which volume, tension, and excitement continally build toward the climax. At the end of the B section, the ground momentarily shifts upward to the flutes and oboes, in a two-variation interlude, which introduces a suddenly quiet, somewhat pastoral, mood preceding the return to the A section. The work closes with a short coda, consisting of a modified restatement of the original ground.
—Program Note by Lee A. Mendyk, Wayne State College; from the book Band Music Notes, Revised Edition, by Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire (San Diego: Kjos West, Publishers)
[By express permission of the publisher, Neil A. Kjos, Jr. This Note’s author and source must be credited as listed above in any concert program.]
(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Concerto Grosso in E minor (1968)
- Legend and Canon: Two Short Pieces for Brass Quartet, for two trumpets (or cornets), horn, and trombone (1953)
- Marche de Concert (1957)
- Now Deck Thyself with Majesty and Excellence, for mixed-voice chorus (SATB) and symphonic band (1968)
- Passacaglia in G minor (1964)
- Prelude and Fugue in F minor (1960)
- Sunrise Alleluia, for mixed-voice chorus (SATB), brass octet, and timpani (1966)
- Three Short Dances, for woodwind quintet (1961)
- MENC (Music Educators National Conference) Bicentennial Commission (1975). Selective List of American Music for the Bicentennial Celebration—Band. Music Educators Journal, 61(9), 48-52.