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Polka and Fugue from "Schwanda, the Bagpiper"

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Jaromir Weinberger

Jaromir Weinberger (trans. Glenn Bainum)

General Info

Year: 1928 / 1961
Duration: c. 7:50
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Associated Music Publishers
Cost: Score and Parts - $95.00   |   Score Only - $15.00


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute III
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra-Alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II
B-flat Herald Trumpets
B-flat Flugelhorn
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Weinberger began seriously working on the opera Schwanda the Bagpiper in 1924. Although excerpts from the opera (including the Polka from Act II, Scene 2, and the Fugue from the closing scene) had previously become successful concert pieces, the entire opera was first performed in Prague on April 27, 1927. The premiere was not noteworthy, but the revival in German (as Schwanda, der Dudelsackpfeifer) in Breslau, on December 16, 1928, was a sensation. Over 2,000 performances were given in Europe between 1927 and 1931. In the next few years it was performed in cities around the world, including the New York premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House on November 7, 1931. For a time, Weinberger found himself both rich and famous. Polka and Fugue was introduced to American orchestra audiences in 1928 by the eminent Austrian-German conductor Erich Kleiber (a student and conductor in Prague in 1911-1912). The score for band was transcribed by Glenn Cliffe Bainum in 1928.

The opera libretto, based on a Czech folk tale and adapted by Milos Kares from a play by Josef Tul, is a delightful mixture of humor, fantasy, satire, and realism. The story involves Schwanda, the master bagpiper, and Babinsky, a robber who leads Schwanda on a series of adventures. The polka is taken from a scene in which Schwanda plays for Queen Iceheart, who is waiting for someone who can melt her heart. His irresistible playing does the trick, and the queen and Schwanda decide to get married, sealing their vow with a kiss. However, Schwanda is already married to Dorota, so the marriage to the queen is canceled. In response to his wife’s questions of his fidelity, he cries, “If I have given the queen a single kiss, may the devil take me” -- and the devil does. He is rescued from hell, however, by Babinsky, who plays cards with the devil and wins everything he owns. He returns it all in exchange for Schwanda, who plays the fugue on his bagpipe before he leaves, so that the servants of hell may hear the playing of a master bagpiper.

- Program Notes from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Arkansas: V
  • Florida: VI
  • Kansas: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • Michigan: Senior High AA
  • Minnesota: I
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • New York: Concert Band VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

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  • Winds of Wisconsin (Madison) (Scott Teeple, conductor) - 1 March 2020
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  • NorthWinds Symphonic Band (Kansas City, Mo.) (John Bell, conductor) - 23 February 2020
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Band (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 12 December 2019
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Wind Symphony (John Cody Birdwell, conductor) – 24 November 2019
  • Northwest Missouri State University (Maryville) Wind Symphony (John Bell, conductor) – 22 November 2019 (Nebraska Music Educators Association Conference/In-Service)
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Wind Symphony (Shanti Simon, conductor) – 6 October 2019
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Wind Symphony (Joe Manfredo, conductor) – 22 September 2019
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 26 March 2019
  • Parkland College (Champaign, Ill.) Concert Band (Larry Stoner, conductor) - 10 March 2019
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Symphonic Band (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 15 November 2018
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Symphonic Band (Dennis W. Fisher, conductor) – 23 October 2018
  • DuPage Community Concert Band (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) (Terry Redford, conductor) - 15 October 2018
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Symphonic Band (Jason Silveira, conductor)– 14 March 2018
  • Encore Concert Band (Mokena Ill.) (Bill Schuetter, conductor) – 4 March 2018
  • Lone Star Wind Orchestra (Dallas, Tex.) (Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor) – 4 March 2018
  • National High School Band [Interlochen, Mich.] (Frederick Fennell, conductor) - 7 July 1940

Works for Winds by This Composer