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Russian Christmas Music

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Alfred Reed

Alfred Reed

General Info

Year: 1944
Duration: c. 14:25
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $85.00   |   Score Only - $12.00


Full Score
C Piccolo I-II (I doubling Flute III, II doubling Flute IV)
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn (optional)
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (all div. a2)
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (div. a2)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone (optional)
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
String Bass
Percussion I-II (7 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong (or Tam-Tam)
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


In Parts:

  • Bassoon I, m.117: delete quarter rests on beat 3 and 6, leave the half rest [There should be only four beats in this measure.]
  • B-flat Clarinet I, m.111: Replace 3/4 time signature with a 3/2 time signature
  • B-flat Bass Clarinet, m.18, beat 2: Add a tenuto on the D.
  • Contrabass Clarinet, m.18, beat 2: Add a tenuto on the D.
  • Contrabass Clarinet, m.59: Remove the "mf" dynamic marking.
  • Contrabass Clarinet, m.225, beat 4: Change tenuto to an accent.
  • Contrabass Clarinet, m.215-216: Should be a String Bass and Bass Clarinet cue.
  • Contrabass Clarinet, m.236-237: Remove the tie in between the two whole notes on m.236 and 237.
  • Contrabass Clarinet, m.237: Add an accent to the whole note E4.
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone, reh. 32: Add 2/2 meter signature.
  • B-flat Bass Saxophone, m.19: Add tenutos to all three quarter notes.
  • B-flat Bass Saxophone, m.42: Add tenuto to whole note.
  • B-flat Bass Saxophone, m.237: Add "f" dynamic marking to eighth note.
  • B-flat Cornet II, m.15, beat 1 (oboe cue): change last 16th note (D) to a quarter note.
  • Baritone TC, m.220: beat 4. The four 16th notes should be 32nd notes.
  • Percussion II, Chimes and Bells, m.188, beat 1: The C-sharp should be a C-natural.
  • Percussion II, Chimes and Bells, m.195, beat 4: The C-natural should be a C-sharp.

Program Notes

Reed was commissioned to write Russian Christmas Music a mere 14 days before it was scheduled to be performed and broadcast live on NBC. Originally written in November 1944, the work was first performed in December of that year in Denver, Colorado. Two years later, the piece was elaborated and revised, and in that form was one of the three prize-winning work in the 1947 Columbia University contest for new serious music for symphonic band.

An ancient Russian Christmas carol (Carol of the Little Russian Children) is mixed with motives from orthodox liturgical music from the Eastern Orthodox Church. Though set as a single piece, the composer originally subtitled the four easily separated sections Children's Carol, Antiphonal Chant, Village Song, and Cathedral Chorus. Reed also utilized this theme as well as the “Cathedral Chorus” section as source material for Slavonic Folk Suite, a piece written for novice musicians.

- Program Notes excerpted from score and Western Michigan University Symphonic Band concert program, 21 November 2021


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Arkansas: V
  • Florida: V
  • Georgia: VI
  • Iowa: V
  • Kansas: V
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: V
  • Massachusetts: V
  • Michigan: Senior High AA
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • New York: Concert Band VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Wyoming (Laramie) Wind Symphony (Robert Belser, conductor) - 10 December 2022
  • Chesapeake Bay Wind Ensemble (Hampton, Va.) (William Garlette, conductor) - 10 December 2022
  • Wisconsin Lutheran College (Milwaukee) Concert Band (Daniel Hubert, conductor) - 9 December 2022
  • Western Illinois University (Macomb) Wind Ensemble (Mike Fansler, conductor) - 8 December 2022
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla) Wind Symphony (Kyle Wernke, conductor) - 11 November 2022
  • University of Wyoming (Laramie) Wind Symphony (Robert Belser, conductor) - 10 November 2022
  • United States Army Field Band II (Fort Meade, Md.) (Jim R. Keane, conductor) - 15 December 2021 (2021 Midwest Clinic)
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Luke Camarillo, conductor) - 1 December 2021
  • Heart of Texas (San Antonio) Concert Band (R. Mark Rogers, conductor; Rachel Hollon James, narrator) - 20 December 2020
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Glenn Hayes, conductor) – 20 March 2020 (Carnegie Hall, New York) (scheduled, but concert canceled)
  • Springdale (Ark.) Har-Ber High School Wind Ensemble (Jeremy Ford, conductor) – 10 March 2020
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Wind Symphony (Don L. Peterson, conductor) – 12 December 2019
  • Wilmot (Wisc.) High School Wind Ensemble (John Sorensen, conductor) – 11 December 2019
  • University of Arizona (Tucson) Wind Symphony (Chad Shoopman, conductor) – 10 December 2019
  • Clovis (Calif.) East High School Wind Ensemble (Marco Mellone, Conductor) - 10 December 2019
  • Muskegon (Mich.) Community College Wind Ensemble (Daniel M. Meyers, conductor) – 9 December 2019
  • Johnson City (Tenn.) Community Concert Band (Christian Zembower, conductor) - 9 December 2019
  • Angelo State University (San Angelo, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Jonathan Alvis, conductor) – 6 December 2019
  • West Seattle (Wash.) Community Orchestra Wind Orchestra (Anton Coleman, conductor) – 6 December 2019
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Symphonic Band (Matthew O. Smith, conductor) – 4 December 2019
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Wind Symphony (Jason Silveira, conductor) – 23 November 2019
  • Belmont University (Nashville, Tenn.) Wind Ensemble (Barry Kraus, conductor) – 20 November 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works