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Symphony III (Barnes)

From Wind Repertory Project
James Barnes

James Barnes

This work bears the designation Opus 89, and is sometimes nicknamed The Tragic.

General Info

Year: 1997
Duration: c. 38:20
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Southern Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts - $395.00   |   Score Only - $115.00


1. Lento - 11:50
2. Scherzo - 5:20
3. Mesto (For Natalie) - 12:25
4. Finale - 6:55


Full Score
Flute I-II-III (one III doubles Alto Flute)
Oboe I-II-III (III doubles English Horn)
Bassoon I-II-III (III doubles Contrabassoon)
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra-Alto Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet (may substitute for Contrabassoon)
Alto Saxophone I-II (I doubles Soprano Saxophone)
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Cornet (in Bb) I-II-III
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II-III
Flugelhorn (in Bb) I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bell Tree
  • Crotales
  • Cymbal (crash, finger, and suspended)
  • Field Drums
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum (+ piccolo snare)
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Temple Blocks
  • Triangles (4)
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Whip
  • Wind Chimes (metal)
  • Wood Blocks
  • Xylophone


In Score:

F Horn I, Movement 3, m. 41: The French horn note in measure 41 is missing. There should be a whole note B-flat printed in that measure.

Program Notes

The Third Symphony was commissioned by the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. The conductor of the band at the time, Col. Alan Bonner, told me that he wanted a major work for wind band. He said that he didn't care about style, length, difficulty, or anything else; I was given complete freedom to write whatever I wanted to. I began to work on it in earnest at a very difficult time in my life, right after our baby daughter, Natalie, died. This symphony is the most emotionally draining work that I have ever composed. If it were to be given a nickname, I believe that "Tragic" would be appropriate. The work progresses from the deepest darkness of despair all the way to the brightness of fulfillment and joy.

The first movement is a work of much frustration, bitterness, despair, and despondency -- all my own personal feelings after losing my daughter. The scherzo (second movement) has a sarcasm and bitter sweetness about it, because it has to do with the pomposity and conceit of certain people in the world. The third movement is a fantasia about what my world would have been like if Natalie had lived. It is a farewell to her. The finale (fourth movement) represents a rebirth of spirit, a reconciliation for us all. The second theme of the last movement is based on an old Lutheran children's hymn called I am Jesus' Little Lamb. This hymn was sung at Natalie's funeral. The last stanza of the song reads:

Who so happy as I am

Even now the Shepherd's lamb?
And when my short life is ended,
By His angel host attended,
He shall fold me to His breast,
There within His arms to rest.

Three days after I completed this symphony, on June 25, 1994, our son Billy Barnes was born. If the third movement is for Natalie, then the finale is really for Billy, and our joy in being blessed with him after the tragic death of his sister.

- Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Yale University (New Haven, Conn.) Concert Band (Thomas Duffy, conductor) – 17 November 2019
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Ryan Nowlin, conductor) - 22 August 2019
  • Connecticut (Fairfield) Symphonic Winds (Charles Brian DePaul, conductor)– 18 May 2019
  • Cincinnati (Ohio) Youth Wind Ensemble – 29 April 2019
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Symphonic Band (Dennis W. Fisher, conductor) – 27 April 2019
  • Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) Wind Ensemble (Craig A. Hancock, conductor) – 14 April 2019
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony (Kevin Michael Holzman, conductor) – 29 March 2019
  • Rutgers University (Newark, N.J.) Wind Ensemble (Kraig Williams, conductor) – 2 March 2019
  • Western Illinois University (Macomb) Wind Ensemble (Mike Fansler, conductor) – 6 October 2018
  • Fillmore Wind Band (Cincinnati, Ohio) (Jim Daughters, conductor) - 22 December 2017 (2017 Midwest Clinic)
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) Peabody Wind Ensemble (Harland D. Parker, conductor) – 4 November 2017
  • San Francisco Wind Ensemble (Anthony Mazzaferro, conductor) – 6 May 2017
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Wind Symphony (Jaclyn Hartenberger, conductor) - 24 April 2017
  • University of Texas, Arlington, Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) - 9 February 2017 (2017 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • University of South Alabama (Mobile)Wind Ensemble (William Petersen, conductor) – 9 November 2016
  • Timber Creek High School (Gilmer Cty., Ga.) and West Orange High School (Winter Garden, Fla.) Wind Ensembles (Kenneth Boyd and Rhett Cox, conductors) – 18 February 2016 (CBDNA 2016 Southern Division Conference, Charleston, S.C.)
  • Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ) Wind Ensemble (Kraig Williams, conductor) - 2 October 2015
  • Contra Costa Wind Symphony (Walnut Creek, Calif.) (Duane Carroll, conductor) 17 May 2015
  • University of North Texas Symphonic Band (Dennis Fisher, conductor) - 30 April 2015
  • Texas A&M University- Kingsville Wind Symphony (Dr. Scott Jones, conductor) - 28 April 2015

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Barnes, J. (1997). Third Symphony, Opus 89 [score]. Southern Music: San Antonio, Tex.
  • Miles, Richard B. 2000. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 763-770.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 38.