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Toccata Marziale (ed Battisti)

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Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams (arr. Battisti)

General Info

Year: 1924 / 2005
Duration: c. 4:50
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - $125.00   |   Score Only - $12.95


Full Score
C Piccolo
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II
B-flat Trumpet
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II (Bass Clef and Treble Clef)
Bass Trombone
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Toccata Marziale, written in 1924, was Vaughan Williams’ second work for military and is one of the most significant contributions to the wind band literature. The word “toccata” comes from the Italian “toccare,” meaning “to touch,” hence its association with the early Baroque virtuouso keyboard pieces written by Girolamo Frescobaldi and others. Toccata Marziale is a contrapunctal masterpiece for wind ensemble, in which textures are juxtaposed in massed effects with large sections of winds and brasses. A rhythmic vigor, as suggested by the title, permeates the piece, and Vaughan Williams’s brilliant scoring reveals the fundamental properties of the band’s sonority and its instrumental virtuosity and color.

- Program Note by Frederick Fennell

Vaughan Williams is most noted for his compositions for orchestra, the theater, and chamber groups, but his two works for band, the Folk Song Suite and Toccata Marziale (both published in 1924) demonstrate his unrivaled skill in scoring for the medium. Together with the two Gustav Holst suites for band, this music forms a set which has become a traditional cornerstone of concert band literature.

Composed for the commemoration of the British Empire Exhibition of 1924, the Toccata Marziale is a first-rate work by any measurement. The opening is somewhat akin to a fanfare, the movement in triads being especially effective. Its contrapunctal texture is determined by the juxtaposition of brass and reed tonal masses, and occasional lyric entrances soon give way to the primary brilliance of the basic theme. Another effective phrase is that first sung by the euphonium and then by the cornet, a broad flowing theme of wide range most effective against the constant movement of the basic theme, which is never completely lost. Skillfully woven together into a unified whole, even though complex in rhythmic and harmonic content, the piece explores the fundamental properties of the band's sonority, its virtuosity and color, and places emphasis on fine gradations between long and short, forte and piano. Of real contrast with the Folk Song Suite, Toccata Marziale has an immense noncontrived vigor perhaps unmatched in all band literature.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


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State Ratings

  • Louisiana: V
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Wisconsin: Event 3000 Concert Band Class A Standard Repertoire


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Symphonic Band (Scott A. Jones, conductor) – 13 February 2020
  • New Orleans (La.) Concert Band (Charles Taylor, conductor) – 14 April 2019
  • Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Higgins, conductor) – 25 October 2018
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Symphonic Band (Eric M. Smedley, conductor) – 23 October 2018
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Adam Williamson, conductor) – 6 May 2018
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Symphonic Band (Jeff Krubsack, conductor) – 6 October 2016
  • College of Saint Rose (Albany, N.Y.) Wind Ensemble - 4 May 2014

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 606.
  • Vaughan Williams, R.; Battisti, F. (2005). Toccata Marziale [score]. Boosey & Hawkes: New York.