Symphony II (Chance)

From Wind Repertory Project
John Barnes Chance

John Barnes Chance

General Info

Year: 1972 / 1977
Duration: c. 17:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - £140.00   |   Score Only (print) - £21.00

Movements (Movements 2 and 3 played without pause)

1. Sussurando - 7:10
2. Elevato - 4:20
3. Slancio - 6:00


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

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


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

In 1962, John Barnes Chance and Clifton Williams both agreed to write a piece using the four-note motif of C#-D-F-E. When Chance sent a recording of a part of his piece, Williams decided to abandon the project. Chance also shelved the project. Ten years later, while he was teaching at the University of Kentucky, he was commissioned by the Northwest Music Center in North Dakota to write a piece dedicated to the Minot State College Wind Ensemble. He dug up the work he put away ten years ago, and completed this symphony. He died shortly after finishing the piece, and he was never able to hear it performed.

The first movement begins with the four-note motive in the flutes and vibraphone. The first theme moves to the clarinets, and later to the unusual instrument pairing of piccolo and bass clarinets. The piece moves into double time and the theme is stated by the trumpets and trombones. Next, various instruments enter softly and crescendo over several bars as more instruments sneak in before the phrase ends with a timpani rim shot. The first theme is then played by the trumpets and trombones in diminution, followed by another statement in further diminution.

The second theme begins with staccato quarter notes played by the low reeds, as the theme is stated by the clarinets. The flutes and horns join the clarinets on the second theme. The second theme then moves to the trumpets and trombones. The first theme returns in the flutes and vibraphone

The third theme is first heard as a flute solo, and appears in augmentation at the end of the solo. The piece then develops the first three themes. The first theme returns boldly stated in the brass, with a furious woodwind figure above it. Then the third theme is developed more, followed by a development of the second theme. The first movement ends with another bold statement of the first theme in the brass.

The third movement opens with an ominous-sounding theme stated in the bassoons and bass clarinets. Next, the B-flat clarinets state the theme, followed by the trumpets and trombones. This theme continues to develop throughout the first half of the movement.

The second theme of this movement begins very similar to the second theme of the first movement: the low reeds have a staccato bass line. The second theme is played by a solo flute and a solo alto saxophone. Next, the piccolo and tenor sax are added to the theme.

The third theme features rapid calls and responses between section. The flutes and clarinets have the first statement, and the trumpets are the first group to respond. As this theme is developed the trombones join in, followed by the horns, then the oboes, and the last instrument to play the third theme is the timpani. The third theme ends with a triplet-based timpani solo.

After the timpani solo, the first theme returns and is further developed. The second theme then returns in the trumpets and trombones with a new triplet-based accompaniment. This leads in to a statement of the first theme of the first movement in the trumpets and trombones. After a second statement of this theme from the first movement, various instruments enter softly in different measures. Each instrument crescendos, and the piece ends with a long sustained chord ending with a timpani rim shot, similar to how this theme ends in the first movement.

- Program Note from Mansfield University concert program, 6 April 2014



YouTube: Lamar University Symphonic Band (Barry W. Johnson, conductor) - 1992

State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: Masterwork
  • New York: VI (Mvts. I & II or II & III)


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of South Alabama (Mobile) Wind Ensemble (William Petersen, conductor) – 28 September 2023
  • SimfoVents Palma (Spain) (Francisco Valero-Terribas, conductor) - 17 June 2023
  • Rollins College (Winter Park, Fla.) Wind Ensemble (Aaron Lefkowitz, conductor) - 22 November 2022
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee) Wind Ensemble (Patrick Dunnigan, conductor) - 23 February 2021
  • Radford (Va.) University Wind Ensemble (Wayne Gallops, conductor) – 1 May 2019
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY) Symphony Band (Michael Hudson, conductor) - 14 November 2017
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Symphonic Band (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) and New Horizons Band of Northern New York (Ron Berry, conductor) – 5 October 2016
  • Mansfield University Wind Ensemble (Graham Kerick, conductor) - 6 April 2014

Works for Winds by This Composer