Concerto for Four Percussionists and Symphonic Wind Ensemble

From Wind Repertory Project
William Kraft

William Kraft

General Info

Year: 1964 / 1995
Duration: c. 19:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


1. Recitavo Quasi Senza Misura, Largo e Rubato
2. Allegro con brio
3. Cadenza e Variazioni


Full Score
Flute I-II-III-IV (III doubling Piccolo; IV doubling Piccolo and Alto Flute)
Oboe I-II-III-IV (IV doubling English Horn)
Bassoon I-II-III-IV (IV doubling Contrabassoon)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV (IV doubling B-flat Bass Clarinet)
C Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Piano (doubling Celesta)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crotales
  • Drums (5)
  • Metals (5)
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Song Bells
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Blocks (5)
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The concerto is transcribed from the original version for orchestra. Wind instruments, including brass, played a strong part in the orchestra version, so much so that when Erich Leinsdorf performed the work with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he rearranged the orchestra seating so that the winds were brought forward and the strings pushed back. Therefore it was quite natural to do a transcription for wind ensemble. The Concerto for Four Percussionists and Orchestra was written in 1964 and premiered March 10, 1966, by Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The structure is the conventional three-movement concerto form, differing in that the first movement is slow and the second fast. The first movement features expressive solos by glockenspiel, vibraphone, graduated drums and timpani against a light accompaniment in the ensemble. This is a way of saying “percussion can be beautiful.”

The second movement rides on a jazz-like ostinato stemming from the way Count Basie's drummer Jo Jones would reverse the hi-hat rhythm. The middle section for percussion alone was written first to guarantee an idiomatic character. Then pitches were set to the rhythms thus creating the first section.

The third movement, cadenza and variations, opens with a brief dialogue between timpani and tuba, after which the timpani plays the cadenza which sets off the 12 variations that follow. The variations are set in pairs wherein each states the variation and then in the succeeding variation the percussion responds.

- Program Note from New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble concert program, 1992

Dedicated to Edgard Varèse.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • New England Conservatory (Boston) Wind Ensemble (Frank Battisti, conductor) - 1992 *Wind Version Premiere Performance*
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) Philharmonic Orchestra (Zubin Mehta, conductor) - 10 March 1966 *Orchestral Version Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer