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Sound and Smoke

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Viet Cuong

Viet Cuong

General Info

Year: 2011
Duration: c. 13:45
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Viet Cuong
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental ($400.00)   |   Score Only - $50.00 purchase


1. (feudal castle lights) - 6:20
2. (avalanche of eyes) - 6:35


Full Score
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass 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
Bass Trombone
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bell Tree
  • Chimes
  • China Cymbals
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Glockenspiel
  • Hi-Hat
  • Marimba
  • Sizzle Cymbal
  • Slapstick
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Splash Cymbal
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Taiko Drum, large
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tom-Tom, large
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wind Chimes
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Both the title and concept of Sound and Smoke were derived from a line from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s play Faust, when Faust equates words to “mere sound and smoke” and declares that “feeling is everything.” Each of the two movements has been given an abstract, parenthetical title to further incorporate Goethe’s conjecture that words will never be able to fully express what feelings and, in this case, music can. Therefore, these titles serve merely as starting points for personal interpretation and should not interfere with the music itself.

The first movement, (feudal castle lights), blurs the many different timbres of the ensemble to create a resonant and slowly “smoldering” effect. Because reverb is essentially built into the orchestration, harmonies must shift using common tones and are always built upon the notes preceding them. The second and final movement, (avalanche of eyes), opens with an alternating unison-note brass fanfare that is then spun out into a fast-paced toccata. Suspense and excitement are created as the spotlight moves quickly between the various colors of the ensemble and the fanfare is transformed.

The original concept of “sound and smoke” unifies these two otherwise dissimilar movements; oftentimes ideas are presented and then promptly left behind or transformed. Musical events therefore appear and dissipate as quickly as sound and smoke.

- Program Note by composer


  • Walter Beeler Memorial Prize from Ithaca College, winner, 2012


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (Betsy McCann, conductor) -- 7 February 2022
  • University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Ensemble (Andrea E. Brown, conductor) -15 October 2021
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Band (Sarah McKoin, conductor) – 19 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Southwestern Division Conference, Norman, Okla.)
  • Encore Wind Ensemble (Roseville, Minn.) (Catherine Sinon Bushman, conductor) – 24 November 2019
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphony Band (Eric Allen, conductor) – 24 November 2019
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisc.) Symphonic Band (Matthew Arau, conductor) – 16 November 2019
  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Symphony (Scott Hanna, conductor) – 10 May 2019
  • Triangle Wind Ensemble (Cary, N.C.) (Evan Feldman, conductor) – 13 April 2019
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Scatterday, conductor) – 22 March 2019
  • Triangle Wind Ensemble (Cary, N.C.) (Evan Feldman, conductor) – 19 March 2019
  • Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Steven M. Knight, conductor) – 8 March 2019
  • Texas All-State Concert Band (Jamie Nix, conductor) - 16 February 2019 (2019 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • Texas Woman's University (Denton) Wind Symphony (Carter Biggers, conductor) – 12 February 2019
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) – 2 December 2018
  • Gustavus Adolphus College (Saint Peter, Minn.) Wind Orchestra (James Patrick Miller, conductor) – 11 November 2018
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Wind Ensemble (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 17 October 2018
  • Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, Tex.) Wind Ensemble (David Campo, conductor) – 9 October 2018
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 18 February 2018
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 6 February 2018
  • University of Missouri (Columbia) Wind Ensemble (Brian Silvey, conductor) – 10 January 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Syzygy (Flex instrumentation) (2019/2020)

All Wind Works


  • Trachsel, Andrew. "Sound and Smoke." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 802-817. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.