Alcotts, The (tr Thurston)

From Wind Repertory Project
Charles Ives

Charles Ives (trans. Richard Thurston)

Subtitle: From Piano Sonata No. 2 "Concord, Mass., 1840-1860," for Concert Band

General Info

Year: 1920 / 1972
Duration: c. 5:10
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Wise Music Classical
Cost: Rental


Flutes I-II
Oboes I-II
Bassoons I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinets I-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contralto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (Substitute for E-flat)
E-flat Alto Saxophones I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornets I-II-III
B-flat Trumpets I-II
Trombones I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Glockenspiel
  • Tam-tam


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Alcotts is the subject of one of Ives’s Essays Before a Sonata, which he published concurrently with the Concord Sonata in 1920. In the essay, Ives takes us inside the elm-shaped Orchard House where “sits the old spinet piano Sophia Thoreau gave to the Alcott children, on which Beth played the old Scotch airs, and played at Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.” Warming as always to such a scene of home music-making, he continues: “ All around you, under the Concord sky there still floats ... that human faith melody reflecting an innate hope, a common interest in common men, a tune that the Concord bards are ever playing when they pound away at the immensities with a Beethoven-like sublimity, and with vengeance and perseverance.”

- Program notes by Jonathan Elkus

The Piano Sonata No. 2, Concord, Mass., 1840–60 (commonly known as the Concord Sonata) is a piano sonata by Charles Ives. The sonata's four movements represent figures associated with transcendentalism. In the introduction to his Essays Before a Sonata (published immediately before the Concord Sonata) Ives said the work was his "impression of the spirit of transcendentalism that is associated in the minds of many with Concord, Massachusetts, of over a half century ago. This is undertaken in impressionistic pictures of Emerson and Thoreau, a sketch of the Alcotts, and a scherzo supposed to reflect a lighter quality which is often found in the fantastic side of Hawthorne."

The Alcotts is the third movement of the Concord Sonata.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

The Piano Sonata No. 2, commonly known as the Concord Sonata, was composed between 1909 and 1915 and consists of four movements, each bearing the name of a famous mid-19th century resident of Concord: I. Emerson, II. Hawthorne, Ill. The Alcotts, IV. Thoreau. To some degree, each movement is a musical impression of the personality and philosophical attitudes of its subject. While movements I, II, and IV are lengthy, musically complex and pianistically difficult, The Alcotts, by contrast is a section of simple and serene beauty and monumental character -- a touching and lovingly etched remembrance of the Alcotts’ Orchard House.

As Ives himself wrote in Essays Before a Sonata:

And there sits the little old spinet-piano Sophia Thoreau gave to the Alcott children, on which Beth played the old Scotch airs, and played at the Fifth Symphony...

..And so we won’t try to reconcile the music sketch of the Alcotts with much besides the memory of that home under the elms -- the Scotch songs and the family hymns that were sung at the end of each day -- though there may be on attempt to catch something of that common sentiment (which we have tried to suggest above) -- a strength of hope that never gives way to despair -- a conviction in the power of the common soul which, when all is said and done, may be as typical as any theme of Concord and its transcendentalists!

Originally composed as a largely unbarred and without meter designations piano work, the performers work to capture the feeling of natural pulse and accentuation through this fine transcription of Richard Thurston.

- Program Note from Clovis North Wind Ensemble concert program, 21 December 2017


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) Concert Band (Alexander Scott, conductor) - 20 November 2023
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony (Brendan Boyle, conductor) - 22 April 2022
  • San Jose (Calif.) State University Wind Ensemble (Arquin Abaya, conductor) - 3 December 2021
  • University of Illinois (Urbana) Wind Symphony (Isaac Brinberg, conductor) - 5 November 2021
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Wind Symphony (Shanti Simon, conductor) - 3 October, 2021
  • Santa Clara (Calif.) University Wind Ensemble (Anthony Rivera, conductor) - 3 March 2020
  • University of Texas (Austin) Longhorn Concert Band (Ogechi Ukazu, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (Kevin M. Geraldi, conductor) – 21 February 2020
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Band (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 12 December 2019
  • Denison University (Granville, Ohio) Wind Ensemble (Chris David Westover, conductor) – 17 November 2019
  • West Chester University (Penn.) Wind Symphony (Elizabeth Mahovsky, conductor) – 19 February 2019
  • University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Symphony (Steven D. Davis, conductor) – 19 February 2019
  • California State University, Stanislaus, Wind Ensemble (Stuart Sims, conductor) – 6 December 2018
  • Temple University (Philadelphia, Penn.) Wind Symphony (Patricia Cornett, conductor) – 28 September 2018
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) – 27 September 2018
  • University of Massachusetts (Amherst) Symphony Band (Matthew Sypek, conductor) - 27 February 2018
  • Clovis (Calif.) North Educational Center Wind Ensemble (Lawrence R. Sutherland, conductor) - 21 December 2017 (2017 Midwest Clinic)
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Wind Ensemble (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 25 October 2017
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Symphonic Band (Eric M. Smedley, conductor) – 20 April 2017
  • United States Air Force Academy Band (Shanti Simon, conductor) (Colorado Springs, Colo.) – 10 February 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Ives, C.; Thurston, R. (1972). The Alcotts : From Piano Sonata No. 2 "Concord, Mass., 1840-1860," for Concert Band [score]. Associated Music Publishers: New York.
  • Piano Sonata No. 2 (Ives), Wikipedia Accessed 11 November 2016
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 319.