Chessboard Suite

From Wind Repertory Project
Clare Grundman

Clare Grundman

General Info

Year: 1964
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Full Score
C Piccolo I-II
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornets I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel (Bells)
  • Snare Drum
  • Tam Tam
  • Tubular Bells (Chimes)
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Chessboard Suite was conceived as a musical pageant depicting the game of chess, with its various players (or pieces) and their moves. The first movement is a stately Grand Entrance for all the pieces involved in chess, colorfully costumed, and all conveying the dignity, pageantry, and military panorama of the tournament, which the game of chess calls to mind. The second movement pictures the "lowly" (but important) Pawns, as they scurry their way forward, square by square, always giving the impression of a busy, bothersome advance platoon. Interspersed with these, the Rooks can be heard with their angular, far-reaching, and powerful moves, commanding the horizontal and vertical ranks and files. The Bishops are portrayed as smooth-flowing and relentless guardians of the diagonal columns, as they safeguard their intertwining paths across the board, much as chevrons on a shield. The Knights, with their irregular moves, are are illustrated musically here with a rather "hoppy" yet militant theme, as they move about importantly among the bishops.

The most significant roles in the battle of chess are played by the Kings, and yet their move is limited to one square in any direction. The King's Theme here is likewise restricted to never more than one tone, up or down. Yet the King always possesses his distinguished dignity, for when the invaluable king is lost, the battle is lost. Moving freely about the entire battleground are the Queens, who can duplicate the movements of all the others with the exception of the Knights. In this movement the Queens are utilizing the graceful, sweeping moves of the bishops, and some of the direct, angular motion of the rooks, as they glide around the Kings.

In Checkmate, an effort has been made to capture some of the excitement and pageantry of the game of chess. After the brasses herald the two opposing armies to the field of battle, the busy pawns begin their cautious attack. Soon, the Knights enter the fray, followed by the bishops, the rooks, and of course, the queens. The battle becomes more and more intense, until finally one king is attacked, cornered, and has no move ofg escape. Checkmate has been consummated. The closing bars are a reprise of the opening Grand Entrance, and now become a triumphant fanfaronade of the victorious army.


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Kentucky 1800 (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Longfield) (1954/2006/2017)

All Wind Works


None discovered thus far.