Shadow Waltzes

From Wind Repertory Project
Brian Balmages

Brian Balmages

General Info

Year: 2016
Duration: c. 5:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: FJH Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $95.00; (digital) - $95.00   |   Score Only (print) - $14.00


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • China Cymbals
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam, large
  • Tom-Tom, low
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


In Parts:

  • Piccolo, m. 197: Add marcatos on the 4 eighth notes on beats 2 & 3 (like other measures)
  • Flute I, m. 197: Add marcatos on the 4 eighth notes on beats 2 & 3 (like other measures)
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone I, m. 180: The eighth notes on beat 2 should read F-sharp and G instead of E and F-sharp
  • Percussion II, Tambourine, m. 68: All notes should have marcatos
  • Percussion II, Tambourine, m. 70: All notes should have marcatos

Program Notes

While not specifically programmatic, Shadow Waltzes does draw on the contrast of darkness against light. The music is menacing at times, seemingly innocent at others, and nearly out of control at its most volatile moments. The piece relies on texture and orchestration as much as it relies on melodic ideas. Throughout the compositional process, one could imagine shadows moving throughout the darkness in a playful yet deceitful way.

The work is loosely cast in three sections. The opening section presents the main theme of the work and also introduces several motives that are used and developed throughout the work. The second section is very dark and menacing, relying heavily on low reeds and a static rhythmic pulse. A chorale emerges and the tempo gradually increases toward the first of two climaxes in the piece.

A short transitional section eventually settles into the original tempo and theme, presented almost as a wild out-of-control circus theme as the shadow waltzes become more intense. This third section slows in dramatic fashion before a short coda brings the work to an intense and powerful conclusion.

- Program Note by composer

Commissioned by the Georgia Music Educators Association District 9 and premiered by the High School Symphonic Band.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

  • Mississippi: VI-A


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Balmages, B. (2016). Shadow Waltzes [score]. FJH Music: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Brian Balmages website Accessed 15 September 2020
  • "New Music Reviews." The Instrumentalist, 71/10 (May 2017), p. 34.
  • Perusal score