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Greensleeves

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Alfred Reed

Traditional, arranged by Alfred Reed (ed. McAlister)


General Info

Year: 1993
Duration: c. 5:25
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Parts & Score: $60.00 | Score Only: $6.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bb Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
BBb Contrabass Clarinet
Bassoon I-II
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium (Baritone)
Tuba
String Bass
Timpani
Percussion (3 players), including:

  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals


Errata

The following error is in the score:

  • Tenor Saxophone,' meas. 79: Marked as a Bb per the key signature, but should be a B natural.


Program Notes

The tune of Greensleeves may be the oldest documented piece of secular music. It has been traced to the early 1300s and is most familiar as the melody of Martin Luther’s Christmas hymn What Child Is This?. In Shakespeare’s time, it was already what could be considered a “standard,” and he used it in many of his plays. Reed’s arrangement is considered to be the standard in the contemporary band library, requiring a high level of musicianship to bring out the full beauty and emotion of this simple folk melody.

- Program notes by Karen Berry for the San Jose Wind Symphony concert program, 27 January 2013


It is generally agreed that the melody we know as Greensleeves is probably the second oldest piece of secular music in our Western culture, its origins having been traced back to about 1360. While we are not certain this was the original title, it is known that in the latter 14th century, English ladies wore gowns with great billowing sleeves, and the lyrics that have come down to us speak of a lover's lament over his lady's cruel treatment of him by a lady clad in a dress of green sleeves.

By the time of William Shakespeare, this song had already become a classic and he made use of it in two of his plays, most notably in the Merry Wives of Windsor. Over 300 years later, the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams used this melody as an intermezzo between two acts of his opera Sir John in Love, which was based on the same play. Since then the tune has been adapted as the basis for at least one Christmas carol (What Child Is This?), several popular songs, and even by the Swingle Singers on one of their albums. In addition, it has been performed instrumentally by groups of all sizes and styles from full symphony orchestra to small jazz and rock groups.

This arrangement is a symphonic development of this 600-year-old classic melody adapted for the full resources of the modern wind orchestra or concert band.

- Program notes from score


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

  • Maryland: IV


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Charlottesville (Va.) Municipal Band (Stephen R. Layman, conductor) – 15 December 2019
  • Lone Star Symphonic Band (Katy, Tx.) (Bob Bryant, conductor) – 15 December 2019
  • Whitehouse Wind Symphony (Somerville, N.J.) (James P. Sheeley, Jr., conductor) – 8 December 2019
  • Gateway Concert Band (Enumclaw, Wash.) (Jack Prindle, conductor) – 9 December 2019
  • Muskegon (Mich.) Community College Wind Ensemble (Daniel M. Meyers, conductor) – 9 December 2019
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown) Wind Symphony (Scott C. Tobias, conductor) – 8 December 2019
  • Stetson University (Deland, Fla.) University Concert Band (Doug Phillips, conductor) – 8 December 2019
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, Penn.) Symphony Band (Jason Worzbyt, conductor) – 7 December 2019
  • Angelo State University (San Angelo, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Jonathan Alvis, conductor) – 6 December 2019
  • North Carolina State University (Raleigh) Wind Ensemble (Paul Garcia, conductor) – 5 December 2019
  • Callanwolde Concert Band (Decatur, Ga.) (Glenn R. Moore, conductor) – 5 December 2018
  • Peninsula Concert Band (Williamsburg, Va.) (Ronnie Tong, conductor) – 3 December 2019
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, All College Band (Daryl Warren, conductor) – 19 November 2019
  • New Orleans (La.) Concert Band (Charles Taylor, conductor) – 16 December 2018
  • Cuesta Wind Ensemble (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 9 December 2018
  • Loomis Chaffee School (Windsor, Conn.) Wind Ensemble (David Winer, conductor) – 9 December 2018
  • Oak Ridge (Tenn.) Community Band (Shaun Salem, conductor) – 9 December 2018
  • Atlanta (Ga.) Wind Symphony (David Kehler, conductor) – 8 December 2018
  • Pride of San Antonio (Tx.) Showband – 8 December 2018


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

None discovered thus far.