Please DONATE to help with maintenance and upkeep of the Wind Repertory Project!

La Fiesta Mexicana

From Wind Repertory Project
Jump to navigation Jump to search
H. Owen Reed

H Owen Reed

Subtitle: A Mexican Folk Song Symphony for Concert Band

General Info

Year: 1949 / 1954
Duration: 21:15
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $100.00; (digital) - $100.00   |   Score Only (print) - $15.00


1. Prelude and Aztec Dance - 8:50
2. Mass - 5:40
3. Carnival - 6:45


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (optional)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone (optional)
Cornet (in B-flat) I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium I-II
String Bass
Timpani (optional Teponaztli)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum (with cymbal attached)
  • Castanets
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Maracas
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Temple Blocks (4)
  • Tom-Toms (2)
  • Tubular Bells

Off-Stage Band

B-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Cornet I-II
Horn in F
Snare Drum
Bass Drum (with cymbal attached)


In Parts:

  • C Piccolo, mvt. 1, reh. 4 + 7 meas., beat 2: add duration dot to half note
  • Flute I, mvt. 1, reh. 4 + 18 meas., beat 4: add an accent on the B natural (the first note of the triplet)
  • 1st E-flat Alto Saxophone, mvt. 2, meas. 6, beat 1: F sharp s/r E natural
  • E-flat Baritone Saxophone, mvt. 1, reh. 9 + 12 meas.: Add rehearsal 10 (the beginning of the repeated passage)
  • 1st F Horn, mvt. 1, reh. 7: add 3/4 meter signature
  • Baritone TC: Third movement: 14th bar after 28, should be C natural; Baritone BC should be Bb. Score is correct.

Program Notes

La Fiesta Mexicana is an admirable work that receives frequent performances from high school and collegiate bands. This programmatic piece evokes a variety of styles, depicting fireworks, a parade, a mass (with cantor), a circus, a bullfight, and a mariachi performance. In addition to the full band parts, an off-stage ensemble is enlisted in the score. This entertaining piece works particularly well when the ensemble has plenty of rhythmically proficient musicians. Occasionally, bands abbreviate the performance time by performing selected movements rather than the entire work.

- Notes from Great Music for Wind Band

In 1948, H. Owen Reed spent six months in Mexico while on a Guggenheim Fellowship, during which time he studied folk music and composed. La Fiesta Mexicana - A Mexican Folk Song Symphony for Concert Band was a result of his time in the country and reflects his observations of the culture. The composer provides these comments:

Prelude and Aztec Dance — The tolling of the church bells at midnight officially announces the opening of the Fiesta, which has previously been unofficially announced by the setting off of fireworks, the drinking of tequila and pulque, and the migration of thousands of Mexicans and Indians to the center of activity — the high court surrounding the cathedral. After a brave effort at gaiety, the celebrators settle down to a restless night, until the early quiet of the Mexican morning is once more shattered by the church bells and fireworks. At mid-morning a band is heard in the distance. However, attention is soon focused upon the Aztec dancers, brilliantly plumed and masked, who dance in ever-increasing frenzy to a dramatic climax.

The second movement, Mass, presents the tolling of the bells, reminding that the Fiesta is a religious celebration. The rich and poor slowly gather within the walls of the old cathedral for contemplation and worship. Mexico is at its best on the days of the Fiesta in which passion governs the love, hate and joy of the Mestizo and the Indio. The third movement, Carnival, reflects the entertainment for both young and old — the itinerant circus, the market, the bullfight, the town band, and always the cantinas with their band of mariachis.

La Fiesta Mexicana received its premiere performance in 1949 by the U. S. Marine Band conducted by Lt. Col. William F. Santelmann. H. Owen Reed passed away in January of 2014 after a lifelong career dedicated to music and teaching.

- Program Note from The Crane School of Music

The authentic folk tunes Reed used can be found in Chapala, Jalisco, and Guadalajara; other themes were borrowed from Gregorian motifs and Aztec dances.


Commercial Discography

Audio Links

State Ratings

  • Arkansas:VI
  • Florida: VI
  • Maryland: VI (Movements 1 and 2, or 2 and 3)
  • New York: VI (Movements I & II or II & III)
  • North Carolina: VI (may omit one movement), Masterworks (play all)
  • Virginia: VI (a full performance of all movements counts as two works)
  • Texas: IV. Complete (mvt. 1 or 3)


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • McLennan Community College (Waco, Yx.) Wind Ensemble (Jon Conrad, conductor) – 8 October 2020
  • Elmhurst (Ill.) College Symphonic Band (John Heath, conductor) – 15 March 2020
  • Royal Oak (Mich.) Concert Band (Kevin R. Czarnik, conductor) - 8 March 2020
  • Arkansas Tech University (Russellville) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Daniel A. Belongia, conductor) – 8 March 2020
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown) Symphonic Band (Jay Drury, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Wind Ensemble (Allan McMurray, conductor) – 12 December 2019
  • Caltech-Occidental Wind Orchestra (Pasadena, Calif.) (Glenn Price, conductor) – 9 November 2019
  • University of Nevada Reno Wind Ensemble (Reed Chamberlin, conductor) – 23 October 2019
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Glenn Hayes, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • Western Illinois University (Macomb) Wind Ensemble (Andrey Cruz, conductor) – 4 May 2019
  • Texas Woman's University (Denton) Wind Symphony (Carter Biggers, conductor) – 30 April 2019
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, All College Band (Carrie Pawelski, conductor) – 17 April 2019
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Symphonic Band (Anthony Falcone, conductor) – 17 April 2019
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Concert Band (Courtney Snyder, conductor) – 15 April 2019
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Robert Taylor, conductor) – 29 March 2019
  • Fresno (Calif.) City College Wind Ensemble (Elisha K Wilson, conductor) – 17 March 2019 (2019 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Scott Hagen) – 5 March 2019
  • High School Symphonic Band [Interlochen, Mich.] (Frederick Fennell, conductor) – 3 August 1980
  • Eastman Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Frederick Fennell, conductor) – 17 December 1954

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association. (2013). "AR Required Music List by Grade (12-5-13)". Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association. pp. 34.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 659-667.
  • Nicholson, Chad. (2009). ‘’Great Music for Wind Band: A Guide to the Top 100 Works in Grades IV, V, VI.’’ Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications. pp 87-88.
  • Rudgers, Gregory B. La Fiesta Mexicana. MBM Times, Issue 6 (2012), 66.