Andrea Chénier (arr Richards)

From Wind Repertory Project
Umberto Giordano

Umberto Giordano (arr. J J Richards)

Subtitle: Excerpts from the Opera

General Info

Year: 1896 / 1951
Duration: c. 8:20
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $80.00   |   Score Only (print) - $6.00

For further availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Condensed Score
D-flat Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
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 Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II
E-flat Horn I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

One of the most dramatic selections ever presented for band, Andrea Chénier has been a staple of mature and professional bands for over a century. This intense and exciting work includes some of the most passionate moments from the Italian opera into a breathtaking tour de force for mature bands. Prominently featuring bel-canto solos for euphonium and cornet/trumpet, the gorgeous melodies and dramatic musical climaxes will both thrill and excite performers and audiences alike. This striking fresh arrangement is carefully re-orchestrated to be more idiomatic to the wind band medium.

- Program Note from publisher

Andrea Chénier is a verismo opera in four acts by the composer Umberto Giordano, set to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica. It is based loosely on the life of the French poet André Chénier (1762-1794), who was executed during the French Revolution. The character Carlo Gérard is partly based on Jean-Lambert Tallien, a leader of the Revolution.

- Program Notes from Wikipedia

Italian opera composer Umberto Giordano wrote ten operas, but only Andrea Chénier has survived the test of time. The libretto is based on the life of French poet André Chénier(1762-1794). Though sympathetic to the ideals of the French revolution, he openly denounced the violence and was imprisoned and sentenced to death by Maximillian Robspierre on the basis of a fraudulent treason charge.

This opera was first produced at the La Scala Theatre, Milan, Italy, in March 1896. The first American performance was given at the Academy of Music, New York, in November of the same year. The story is founded upon the lurid an turbulent happenings of the French Revolution. Chénier is denounced as a traitor, despite his denial. The jealous Gerard makes the accusation, then tells Maddalena that Chénier is in prison, and avows his love for her. She seeks to escape and offers her honor for Chénier's life but without avail. Chénier sits in the prison writing a poem. Maddalena enters with Gerard and bribes the jailer to put her name on the death list in place of another woman, that she may die with her lover. They go to the executioner together.

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

The opera Andrea Chénier was first produced at La Scala Theatre in Milan on March 28, 1896. The first American performance was given at the Academy of Music in New York City in November of the same year; the first Metropolitan Opera showing was on March 7, 1920. At least two band arrangements of excerpts from the opera have been in United States since the turn of the century -- Arthur Pryor and the Sousa Band recorded the 1902 arrangement by Giuseppe Vaninetti in 1903. J. J. Richards’ arrangement (1951) has been widely used since its publication.

Events preceding the opera premiere at La Scala in Milan included a disagreement regarding finances between the librettist Luigi Illica and Giordano, which ended with the latter’s winning the argument by drawing a (toy) pistol; a dispute with the publisher’s reader, which was arbitrated by Pietro Mascagni; and rehearsals which went so badly that the lead tenor walked out. Fortunately, he was replaced by a gifted young singer (Giuseppe Borgatti), and the opera was a great success. Giordano won a lucrative contract, a knighthood, and the hand of a hotel heiress, Olga Spatz-Wurms.

The libretto of Andrea Chénier is based on the life of French poet André Chénier (1762-1794). Though sympathetic to the ideals of the French Revolution, Chénier openly denounced the violence of the radical Jacobins and was consequently imprisoned and sentenced to death by Robespierre on the basis of a fraudulent treason charge.

The music in this selection begins at a ball given by the Countess de Coigny. Her daughter Madeleine is deeply attracted to Chénier and begs him to improvise a poem decrying the servitude of the poor. Chénier had originally been an ardent supporter of the French Revolution but, alarmed by its excesses, had attacked the leaders and was now denounced as a traitor and sentenced to die. Madeleine attempts to persuade the Revolutionary Tribunal to take her life instead of her lover's but is refused. Finally, she bribes a jailer to substitute her name on the death list for that of another woman, and she might die with him. The work closes as they make their was together across the courtyard of St. Lazare prison to the guillotine.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Georgia: V
  • Louisiana: IV
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Wind Ensemble (Don Wilcox, conductor) - 5 March 2020 (86th Annual ABA National Convention)
  • University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Wind Ensemble (Lowell Graham, conductor) – 30 January 2020
  • University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Ozzello, conductor) – 26 September 2019
  • United States Air Force Band (Washington, D.C.) (Larry D. Lang, conductor) – 12 February 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer