This work bears the designation Opus 96.
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone I-II
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
- Bass Drum
- Crash Cymbals
- Orchestra Bells
- Snare Drum
- 1st & 2nd Bassoons, 1 measure before reh. 16, beat 5: remove extra quarter rest
- 1st & 2nd E-flat Alto Saxophones, 9 measures after reh. 23, beat 12: quarter note ("C") should be an eighth note; bar all three eighth notes together (F, G, & A).
- Numerous errata citations given in Hunsberger article (see References below).
The Festive Overture was composed in 1954, in the period between Symphony No. 10 and the Violin Concerto. Its American premiere was given by Maurice Abravanel and the Utah Symphony Orchestra on November 16, 1955. In 1956, the New York Philharmonic under Dmitri Mitropoulos presented the overture in Carnegie Hall.
A Russian band version of the overture was released in 1958 and utilized the standard instrumentation of the Russian military band, i.e., a complete orchestral wind, brass and percussion section plus a full family of saxhorns, ranging from the Bb soprano down through the Bb contrabass saxhorn. This new edition has been scored for the instrumentation of the American symphonic band.
The Festive Overture is an excellent curtain raiser and contains one of Shostakovich's greatest attributes -- the ability write a long sustained melodic line combined with a pulsating rhythmic drive. In addition to the flowing melodic passages, there are also examples of staccato rhythmic sections which set off the flowing line and the variant fanfares. It is truly a "festive overture."
- Note from the score, by Donald Hunsberger
One of the most effective concert openers in the repertoire, Festive Overture is an audience-pleasing piece for fine high school and university ensembles. The technical woodwind lines, extended melodies, and exposed brass fanfares will provide a variety of challenges for most any ensemble. It should be noted that the fourth trumpets [and euphoniums] are assigned a formidable part, doubling an upper woodwind melody that requires technique, facility and range. Thorough preparation is required, but Festive Overture is an exhilarating piece that will engage the audience.
- Program Note from Great Music for Wind Band
The gestation of Shostakovich’s Festive Overture has been subject to several different theories. One author claims that it was originally written in 1947, but was suppressed by Shostakovich along with many of his compositions created during this repressive period of Soviet history. Others believe that the celebratory quality of the overture displays Shostakovich’s relief at the death of Josef Stalin (in 1953), whose regime had twice censored the composer and his music. Most probably, the work was commissioned for a gathering at the Bolshoi Theater in November of 1954, celebrating the 37th anniversary of the October Revolution. The conductor, Vasili Nebolsin, realized that he had no appropriate piece to open the high-profile concert. He approached Shostakovich, who was at the time a musical consultant at the Bolshoi. The composer set to work, and the overture was completed in three days, the individual pages of the score being taken by courier before the ink had dried to copyists waiting at the theater to create the orchestra parts. Although written in haste, the overture has proved to be one of Shostakovich’s most frequently performed works.
- Program Note from University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble concert program, 19 November 2015
In November 1954, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre sent an urgent appeal to Dmitri Shostakovich. A concert marking the anniversary of the Russian Revolution was days away, and the theater needed a celebratory piece to open it. Could he create one quickly? Almost overnight, Shostakovich tossed off his Festive Overture, perhaps the most exuberant work he ever composed.
The rousing piece tested Shostakovich again in 1962. After seeing Igor Stravinsky conduct, Shostakovich told his elder colleague that the podium tempted him, but “I don’t know how to not be afraid.” Nevertheless, when Shostakovich received an offer to conduct his overture and Cello Concerto a few months later, he agreed. Before the first rehearsal, his nerves were so frayed that he persuaded cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, the concert’s soloist, to help him polish off a half-liter of vodka. Even though the concert went over well, Shostakovich never conducted again.
- Program Note from University of Houston Moores School Wind Ensemble concert program, 11 February 2016
- Audio CD: Eastman Wind Ensemble (Donald Hunsberger, conductor) Sony Classical SK 47198, p1992.
- Audio: Publisher supplied recording. Recorded by the United States Marine Band, Jack T. Kline, conductor. Interlochen Bowl, National Music Camp 1978
- Alabama: AA
- Arkansas: V
- California: VI AA
- Florida: VI
- Georgia: VI
- Iowa: V
- Indiana: ISSMA SENIOR BAND GROUP I
- Louisiana: V
- Maryland: VI
- Massachusetts: V
- Michigan: SENIOR HIGH CLASS AA
- Minnesota: MN HS LEAGUE BAND GRADE 1
- Minnesota: Category I
- Mississippi: MS BAND CLASSES 4A, 5A, & 6A
- North Carolina: VI
- New York: VI
- Oklahoma: VA
- South Carolina: VI
- Tennessee: VI
- Texas: V
- Virginia: VI
- Wisconsin: A
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Peabody Institute (Baltimore, Md.) Preparatory Wind Orchestra (Elijah Wirth, conductor) – 14 December 2019
- Peninsula Symphonic Band (Palo Alto, Calif.) (Ted Henderson, conductor) – 24 November 2019
- University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Symphony (Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor) – 21 November 2019
- Mount St. Mary's University (Emmitsburg, Md.) Wind Ensemble (Mark Carlson, conductor) – 26 October 2019
- Philadelphia (Penn.) Wind Symphony (Paul Bryan, conductor) – 26 October 2019
- Ithaca (N.Y.) College Wind Ensemble (Christopher Hughes, conductor) – 15 October 2019
- Dallas (Tx.) Winds (Jerry Junkin, conductor) – 15 October 2019
- Boston University (Mass.) Wind Ensemble (David Martins, conductor) – 8 October 2019
- Florida State University (Tallahassee, Fla.) Concert Band (Steve Kelly, conductor) – 7 October 2019
- Tarleton State University (Stephenville, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (David Robinson, conductor) – 3 October 2019
- Callanwolde Concert Band (Decatur, Ga.) (Glenn Moore, conductor) – 29 September 2019
- Western Illinois University (Macomb) Wind Ensemble (Mike Fansler, conductor) – 28 September 2019
- New Hammer Band (Stockton, Calif.) (Emily Threinen, conductor) – 8 September 2019
- Durham (N.C.) Community Concert Band (Tom Shaffer, conductor) – 15 June 2019
- Diablo Wind Symphony (Pleasant Hill, Calif.) (John Maltester, conductor) – 8 June 2018 (Golden Gate Park, San Francisco)
- Charles River Wind Ensemble (Boston, Mass.) (Matthew M. Marsit, conductor) – 2 June 2019
- Yolo Community Band (Woodland, Calif.) (Bobby Rogers, conductor) - 1 June 2019
- United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Ryan Nowlin, conductor) – 17 May 2019 (Hamamatsu, Japan)
- University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus Lakeshore Wind Ensemble (Mark Sackman, conductor) – 4 May 2019
- University of Iowa (Iowa City) Symphony Band (J.T. Womack, conductor) – 16 April 2019
- Lincoln High School (Sioux Falls, S.D.) Symphonic Band (Dan Carlson, conductor) - 16 April 2019
- Durham (N.C.) Community Concert Band (Tom Shaffer, conductor) – 14 April 2019
Works for Winds by this Composer
- Allegro from "Symphony No. 10" (tr. Fisher) (1954/2010)
- Batterie from "The Nose" (arr. Schaefer) (1928/1978)
- Dance I (arr. Meij) (1938/1995)
- Festive Overture (tr. Donald Hunsberger) (1954/1965)
- Festive Overture (tr. Martin) (1954/2016?)
- Festive Overture (tr. Patterson) (1954)
- Festive Overture (tr. Takahashi) (1954/1998)
- The Fire of Eternal Glory (tr. Timothy Rhea) (1960/2011)
- Fire of Eternal Glory (arr. James Curnow) (1960/20110
- Folk Dances (tr. Reynolds) (1949/1979)
- Folk Dances (arr. Erickson) (1949/1979)
- Folk Festival (tr Donald Hunsberger) (1971)
- Fortinbras March from "Hamlet" (tr. Suchoff) (1932/1967)
- Galop from "Cheryomushki" (tr. Donald Hunsberger)
- Galop (from "The Limpid Stream") (tr. Miller) (1935)
- Hamlet Suite (tr. Suchoff) (1964/1975)
- March (arr. Curnow) (2014)
- March of the Soviet Militia (ed. Iakubov) (1970/2006)
- October, Op 131 (arr. Mitchell) (1967)
- Overture on Russian and Kirg (arr. Janssen)
- Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Songs (tr. Duker) (1963/1989)
- Overture to The Gadfly (arr. Geert Flik) (1984)
- Piano Concerto No 2 (tr. Pontini) (1957/2012)
- Piano Concerto No 2 in F Major (arr. Bamonte)
- Piano Trio No. 2 (arr. Graham)
- Priest and His Servant Balda, The (1934)
- Prelude, Op. 34, No. 14 (arr. Reynolds) (1988)
- Spanish Dance from "The Gadfly" (arr. Curnow)
- Suite for Variety Orchestra (arr. Meij) (post 1956/1994)
- Symphony No. 1 (Shostakovich) (tr. Scarbrough) (1924-25)
- Symphony No. 5, Mvmt I (tr. Schaeffer)
- Symphony No. 5, Mvmt II (tr. Smith) (1937/1944)
- Symphony No. 5, Mvmt IV (tr. Righter) (1937/1947)
- Symphony No. 5, Mvmt IV (tr. Rogers) (1937/2003)
- Symphony No. 5, Mvmt IV (tr. Bocook) (1937/2005)
- Symphony No. 9 (tr. Schaefer) (1945/1976)
- Symphony No. 10, Mvt. II (tr. Fisher) (tr. Fisher) (1954/2010)
- Symphony No. 10, Mvmt II (tr. O'Brien) (1954)
- Tahiti Trot (tr. Brubaker) (1927/2009)
- Two Scarlatti Pieces (1928)
- Waltz No. 2. See under: Suite for Variety Orchestra
- Hunsberger, Donald. (2009). "Dmitri Shostakovich: Festive Overture." In: Performance Study Guides of Essential Works for Band (pp. 5-13). Edited by Kenneth L. Neidig. Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications.
- Kirkland, Anthony. (2015). "Festive Overture Performance Tips.” ITG Journal [International Trumpet Guild] 39, no. 1 (October 2014): 84–86, 107.
- Lee, Douglas. (2000). Masterworks of 20th-Century Music. (pp. 374-376). New York: Routledge.
- Miles, Richard B. 2000. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 481-486.
- Nicholson, Chad. (2009). Great Music for Wind Band: A Guide to the Top 100 Works in Grades IV, V, VI. (pp. 94-95). Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications.
- Shostakovich, D.; Hunsberger, D. (1963). Festive Overture Op. 96 [score]. MCA Music: Milwaukee, Wisc.