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Urban Requiem

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Michael Colgrass

Michael Colgrass

General Info

Year: 1995
Duration: c. 28:00
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Colgrass Music
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental from Carl Fischer   |   Score Only - $104.75


Full Score
Solo Saxophone Quartet

  • Soprano Saxophone
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone

Alto Flute
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Contrabass I-II
Percussion (4) including:

  • African Drums (djembes or darabukas, 2)
  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Crash Cymbals (tiny)
  • Cowbells (2)
  • Crotales
  • Drum Set
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Sizzle Cymbals (2)
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Suspended Cymbals (6-8" and large)
  • Tam-tams (2)
  • Tambourine
  • Tenor Pans (2)
  • Timbales
  • Tubular Bells (Chimes)
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

A requiem is a dedication to the souls of the dead. Urban Requiem might be described as an urban tale, inspired by a diversity of random impressions. I thought of our urban areas, where the saxophone was spawned, and of the tragedies and struggles that occur in this environment daily. But I was also inspired by the energy and power of our cities, and the humor inherent in their conflicts. I feel that the saxophone is particularly well suited to express the variety of emotions required for this idea, because it can be not only highly personal and poignant in character but also powerful and commanding. It can howl like a banshee or purr like a kitten. In short, the saxophone is perhaps more like the human voice than any other instrument. In my mind I heard four saxophones singing like a vocal quartet, a music that was liturgical in nature but with a bluesy overtone, a kind of “after hours” requiem.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony (Kevin Michael Holzman, conductor; Hinotori Quartet) – 21 April 2023
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee) Wind Orchestra (Richard Clary, conductor; H2 Quartet) - 17 November 2021
  • The Hartt Omni Wind Ensemble (Hartford, Conn.) (Glen Adsit, conductor) – 14 December 2019
  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Symphony (Stephen Bolstad, conductor) - 23 October 2019
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) – 16 November 2018
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Ensemble (Mark Scatterday, conductor; Fuego Sax Quartet) – 23 September 2018
  • University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Wind Symphony (John R. Stewart, conductor; Coalescent Quartet) – 26 April 2018
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Wind Symphony (Michael Hancock, conductor) – 16 April 2018
  • Texas Tech (Lubbock) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Sara McKoin, conductor) – 22 March 2018 (CBDNA 2018 Southwestern Conference, Houston, Texas)
  • University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Symphony (Steven D. Davis, conductor) – 27 February 2018
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Linda Moorhouse, conductor) - 28 March 2015 (2015 CBDNA National Conference, Nashville)

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Colgrass, M. (1995). Urban Requiem [score]. New York: Colgrass Music.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. 2002. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 4. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 943-952.