Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme

From Wind Repertory Project
Michael Gandolfi

Michael Gandolfi

General Info

Year: 2010
Duration: c. 15:05
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: M51 Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $375.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion (4 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Castanets
  • Claves
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Glockenspiel
  • Hand Bells
  • Hi-Hat
  • Mark Tree
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-Tom
  • Triangle
  • Wood Block
  • Wood Slap
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The work was commissioned by "The President’s Own" United States Marine Band and is dedicated to them, their director, Colonel Michael J. Colburn, and their assistant director, Major Jason K. Fettig.

Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme is a set of seven variations on an anonymous Renaissance melody that is simply titled Spagnoletta. It is derived from a popular melody titled Españoleta or ‘Little Spanish Tune’. The titles of the different variations are as follows:

Variation I. (A Cubist Kaleidoscope)
Variation II. (Cantus in augmentation: speed demon)
Variation III. (Carnival)
Variation IV. (Tune’s in the round)
Variation V. (Spike)
Variation VI. (Rewind/Fast Forward)
Variation VII. (Echoes: a surreal reprise)

I first knew this melody as quoted by Joaquín Rodrigo in his Fantasia para un gentilhombre for guitar and orchestra. I also found this tune in the 1970s in a collection of Renaissance songs for classical guitar, and I have played it in that form countless times over the years. I was motivated to probe this elegant tune with which I have been acquainted for four decades, with the expectation that it would prompt a wealth of ideas unique to such a longstanding relationship. The beauty and elegance of the original tune resides in its simplicity, so I chose to present it at the outset of the piece in a clear and streamlined orchestration.

The form of Spagnoletta is AA BB and Coda. The first part of Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme consists of variations I and II. Each of these variations adheres strictly to the form of Spagnoletta. Additionally, Variation I has a kinship to cubist painting in which various features of the original are fragmented, framed and juxtaposed, resulting in a kaleidoscopic amplification of its details. Variation II uses the entire Spagnoletta melody as a cantus firmus while new melodies and lines are sounded over it, an ancient musical technique popular in medieval and renaissance times.

The second part is comprised of variations III, IV and V. These variations are the most wide-ranging of the set, but always maintain motivic connections to Spagnoletta. Variations III and V are each expressed in AA form and largely derived from the original. Variation IV uses the original motives in layered ostinato in canon.

Variations VI and VII form the third and final part of the piece and function as the coda, recycling previously heard thematic material that leads to a final cadence. In this spirit, Variation VI points in two directions: it forecasts the main texture of Variation VII while briefly reflecting upon each variation already heard (in reverse order). Variation VII returns to the original Spagnoletta melodies but places them in a new "dream-like" environment featuring a series of pulsating patterns and textures interwoven with strands of each of the original melodies, all of which move the piece to a gentle close.

- Program Note by composer



State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (Emily Threinen, conductor) - 20 October 2023
  • University of Miami (Fla.) Frost Wind Ensemble (Robert Carnachan, conductor) - 10 September 2023
  • SimfoVents Palma (Spain) (Francisco Valero-Terribas, conductor) - 21 April 2023
  • Western University (London, Ont., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Colleen Richardson, conductor) - 10 February 2023
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Orchestra (Andrew Trachsel, conductor) – 22 September 2022
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 26 February 2020
  • Stetson University (Deland, Fla.) Symphonic Band (Doug Phillips, conductor) – 14 February 2019
  • Manhattan School of Music (New York) Wind Ensemble (Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor) – 29 January 2020
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Wind Ensemble (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 25 November 2019
  • University of Idaho (Moscow) Wind Ensemble (Mark Thiele, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • New England Conservatory (Boston, Mass.) Symphonic Winds (William Drury, conductor) – 15 October 2019
  • Boston University (Mass.) Wind Ensemble (David Martins, conductor) – 8 October 2019
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (Kevin M. Geraldi, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Wind Symphony (Joe Manfredo, conductor) – 27 March 2019
  • Texas State University (San Marcos) Wind Ensemble (Caroline Beatty, conductor) – 22 February 2019 (CBDNA 2019 National Conference, Tempe, Ariz.)
  • Texas State University (San Marcos) Wind Symphony (Caroline Beatty, conductor) – 15 February 2019 (2019 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Symphony (Donna Dolson, conductor) – 12 November 2018
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Adam Williamson, conductor) – 14 October 2018
  • California State University, Long Beach, Wind Symphony (John Carnahan, conductor) – 11 October 2018
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 17 June 2018
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Michael J. Colburn, conductor) – March 4, 2011 (ABA 2011 Annual Convention (Norfolk, Virginia)) *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Michael Gandolfi website
  • Perusal score
  • Richardson, Colleen. "Fanfares and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 9, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 912-927. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2013.