Symphony for William

From Wind Repertory Project
Derek Bourgeois

Derek Bourgeois

This work bears the designation Opus 212.

General Info

Year: 2004
Duration: c. 19:55
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: HAFABRA Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €260.00   |   Score Only (print) - €52.00


1. Will-o'-the-wisp – 5:55
2. Dianthus Barbatus (Sweet William) – 7:20
3. Will Power – 6:40


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
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
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongo (medium)
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Rototoms (4)
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraslap
  • Whip
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone (3.5 octaves)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Symphony for William (2004) was commissioned in the summer of 2004 by Tim and Hillary Reynish in memory of their son William who was tragically killed on a holiday trip to the Pyrenees. Bourgeous provides the following notes regarding the piece:

The Reynishes are very old friends of mine, going back more than 4 years, and their son Williams, who was a doctor, had his honeymoon only a few years earlier in the little village of Betlem in Mallorca where I lived. He was on holiday with his wife and young baby in the Pyrenees and went for a walk before breakfast in the mountains. He didn't return and they found his body later down the mountainside. Nobody knows how the accident happened, but it is probably that he went too near the edge and slipped.

For the titles of the movements I looked for phrases that used the word "Will" (which is the shortened form of William), the name by which he was known to his family and friends, and that would reflect the varying character of his nature. A will-o'-the-wisp is a ghostly entity made of marsh gas that is seen over marshes at night in the moonlight. The movement is suitable flitting in character, but each half of the movement ends with a slow and somber passage that reflects the tragedy that befell him.

The second movement is much more tuneful and romantic. The lovely flower Dianthus barbatus is called sweet william in England, and this movement reflects William's gentle and affable nature. The theme is first presented by a solo horn, and later by the woodwinds.

The finale, Will Power, is a strong and rhythmic movement with driving energy, although it has its quieter and more reflective moments. Towards the end it bursts into a manic release of energy before subsiding gently into a final reminder of the tune from the second movement. The work ends peacefully as this reminder dies away.

- Program Note from University North Texas Wind Symphony concert program, 19 February 2009


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Serenade (Flex instrumentation) (adapt. Brand) (1965/1980/2020)

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