Symphony No. 3 (Reed)

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Alfred Reed

Alfred Reed

General Info

Year: 1988
Duration: c. 21:30
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $195.00   |   Score Only (print) - $30.00


1. Pesante e molto sostenuto – 8:35
2. Variations on the Porazzi Theme of Wagner – 7:15
3. Allego Deciso – 6:30


Full Score
Flute I-II-III (III doubling C Piccolo)
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
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-IV
B-flat Cornet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Commissioned in the fall of 1983 by the United States Air Force Band, work on this score did not actually begin until February of the following year, at which time the first sketches were committed to paper and the general plan of the work began to take shape in the composer’s mind. Due to the pressure of previous commitments, however, work on the music proceeded slowly, and the piece was laid aside several times during this period. It was not until the end of 1985 that it could be taken up in earnest, and the final sketch of all three movements completed in September, 1987. The scoring, meanwhile, had begun before the final movement was fully worked out, and was finished in February, 1988. The first performance of the work took place on April 19th, 1988, at the opening concert of the M.E.N.C.’s 150th annual convention, in Indianapolis, Indiana, with the U.S. Air Force Band under the direction of Lt. Col. James M. Bankhead.

The music is in three movements, with an opening pesante e molto sostenuto succeeded by a hard driving allegro agitato, highly tense and dissonant in character. The second movement is a freely developed variation form based on what is probably the last piece of music Richard Wagner wrote before his death. Intended as a private, loving tribute to his wife Cosima, it has come to be called the “Porazzi” theme, named after the villa in Italy where the Wagner family had been staying for several months. This quiet, contrasting music is followed by another energetic movement in the form of a continuous unfolding double fugue, largely based on quartal harmonic structure, bringing the entire work to a spirited close in a burst of individual and sectional virtuosity.

Like the Second Symphony of 1978, Symphony No. 3 represents a summation of Alfred Reed’s approach to the modern, fully integrated wind/brass/percussion ensemble and the exploitation of its many-faceted potential for large-scale, serious writing. While its technical demands may be great, its language draws on past and present techniques, representing an attempt to forge a consistent, individual style that will speak to both contemporary musicians and audience, in a logical and convincing manner.

(Note: The circumstances surrounding the composition of the “Porazzi” theme, together with a facsimile of the music itself as Wagner left it, can be found, respectively, on pages 664 and 666-7 of Volume 4 of Ernest Newman’s The Life of Richard Wagner, published by Alfred A Knopf, New York, 1946.)

- Program Notes by composer


State Ratings

  • Georgia: VI
  • Kansas: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: Masterworks
  • Virginia: VI


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Works for Winds by This Composer

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