Overture to "Candide" (tr Beeler)

From Wind Repertory Project
Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein (trans. Walter Beeler)

General Info

Year: 1956 / 1960
Duration: c. 4:30
Original Medium: Orchestra
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Out of Print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Full Score
Condensed Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Clarinet (or E-flat Flute)
B-flat Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Horn in E-flat I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tenor drum
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


In Parts:

  • Bassoon I, m.6, beat 1: Add Cut Time meter signature [may be copied from 2nd Bassoon part]
  • B-flat Clarinet I, m.231: Add Cut Time meter signature
  • B-flat Clarinet, II m.112: Add 3/2 meter signature
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone, m.123, beat 1: Add Cut Time meter signature
  • B-flat Cornet I, m.111, beat 4: G natural should read G sharp
  • B-flat Cornet II, m.123, beat 1: Add Cut Time meter signature
  • Trombone I, m.158, beats 2 & 4: Add staccato dots
  • Timpani, m.206: Add Cut Time meter signature
  • Timpani, m.283: Add courtesy "ff"
  • Triangle & Cymbals, m.134: Add Cut Time meter signature
  • Triangle & Cymbals, m.196: Add Cut Time meter signature
  • Glockenspiel & Xylophone, m.231: Add Cut Time meter signature

See also: Topolewski, in Resources, below.

Program Notes

Based on Voltaire’s 1759 novel, Candide opened on Broadway on December 1, 1956. Candide was perhaps a bit too intellectually weighty for its first audiences, and closed after just 73 performances. Bernstein was less concerned over the money lost than the failure of a work he cared about deeply. The critics had rightly noted a marvelous score, and Bernstein and others kept tinkering with the show over the years. With each revival, Candide won bigger audiences. In 1989, the already seriously ill Bernstein spent his last ounces of vital energy recording a new concert version of the work. “There’s more of me in that piece than anything else I’ve done,” he said.

From the very beginning, though, the overture was a hit and swiftly became one of the most popular of all concert curtain-raisers. Brilliantly written and scored, flying at breakneck speed, it pumps up the adrenaline of players and listeners alike. It features two of the show’s big tunes: the sweeping, romantic one is Candide’s and Cunégonde’s love duet Oh, Happy We, while the wacky, up-tempo music is from Cunégonde’s fabulous send-up of coloratura-soprano arias, Glitter and Be Gay.

- Program Note by Ohlone Wind Orchestra concert program, 10 November 2013


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • Maryland: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Philadelphia (Penn.) Wind Symphony (Andrés González, conductor) - 27 October 2023
  • Iowa State University (Ames) Wind Ensemble (Michael Golemo, conductor) - 3 February 2023
  • Eastman Wind Orchestra (Rochester, N.Y.) (Mark Davis Scatterday, conductor) - 3 November 2021
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Wind Symphony (James Batcheller, conductor) - 12 November 2020
  • United States Air Force Band (Washington, D.C.) (Linda R. Moorhouse, conductor) - 6 March 2020 (86th Annual ABA National Convention)
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 5 March 2020
  • Marist College (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) Wind Symphony (Joshua E. Long, conductor) - 23 November 2019
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Symphonic Band (Eric M. Smedley, conductor) – 1 October 2019
  • Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Steven M. Knight, conductor) – 5 December 2018
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 4 November 2018
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Symphonic Band (John M. Watkins, Jr., conductor) – 29 November 2018
  • Allegheny College (Meadville, Penn.) Band Camp for Adult Musicians (Timothy W. Foley, conductor) - 15 June 2018
  • Tulsa (Okla.) University Wind Ensemble (Richard Wagner, conductor) – 23 March 2018 (CBDNA 2018 Southwestern Conference, Houston, Texas)
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Symphonic Band (John M. Watkins, Jr., conductor) – 1 March 2018
  • Sierra College (Rocklin, Calif.) Wind Symphony (Greg McLaughlin) – 28 February 2018
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Wind Symphony (Benjamin Rochford, conductor) – 13 December 2017
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) – 3 December 2017
  • Contra Costa Wind Symphony (Concord, Calif.) (Brad Hogarth, conductor) – 12 November 2017
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Wind Symphony (David Waybright, conductor) – 6 April 2017
  • Gettysburg (Penn.) College Wind Symphony (Russell McCutcheon, conductor) – 17 February 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Cool (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Murtha) (1957/2018)
  • West Side Story (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Sweeney) (1957/2015)

All Wind Works


  • Candide. Wikipedia. Accessed 29 July 2023
  • Bernstein, L; Beeler, W. (1966). Overture to Candide [score]. Amberson Enterprises: New York.
  • Bernstein, L; Beeler, W. (1966). Overture to Candide [score]. Schirmer: New York.
  • Hunsberger, Donald, and Roy E. Ernst. The Art of Conducting. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Nelhybel, Vaclav. (1977, September) "Time in Your Hands." The Instrumentalist 32(2), 47–49. Reprinted in Conductors Anthology, Volume 2. 2nd ed. Northfield, Ill.: The Instrumentalist, 1993. pp. 468–470.
  • Topolewski, Timothy. Errata Studies for the Wind Band Conductor Vol. 2. DeBiencourt, Montreal, Que., Can., Plein la Vue, 2003.