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Profanation

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Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein (trans. Bencriscutto)


Subtitle: From Jeremiah, Symphony No. 1


General Info

Year: 1942 / 1952
Duration: c. 7:05
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - $95.00   |   Score Only - $16.95


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra-alto Clarinet
Contrabass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II
Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Keyboard
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Bernstein takes a Stravinskian approach to motivic composition in Profanation. Symmetrical and asymmetrical meters are juxtaposed in an abrupt fashion as the composer develops compact musical cells that emphasize rhythm over melody. Bernstein delivers these modern compositional techniques in a palatable fashion that audiences enjoy. Fine high school and university wind bands could successfully perform this work, but conductors should allocate sufficient preparation time to allow players to gain familiarity with Bernstein's rhythmic vocabulary. This rousing ending of this piece would work well as a concert closer.

- Notes from Great Music for Wind Band


Bernstein’s first symphony was his entry into a competition sponsored by the New England Conservatory. Although it didn't win the competition, the work greatly impressed Fritz Reiner, Bernstein’s conducting teacher at Curtis, who agreed to premier it with the Boston Philharmonic. Composing in 1942, a year before his conducting debut, Bernstein was struck by the terrible fate that was then descending upon the Jews in Europe. He expanded on his already written Hebrew Song, retitling it as the finale, Lamentation. The preceding movements were titled Prophesy and Profanation. The three movements correspond to the story of the prophet Jeremiah of the Book of Lamentations. Bernstein did not intend the work to be programmatic but rather to create an “emotional quality.” The scherzo second movement, Profanation, was written to give a general sense of the destruction and chaos brought on by the pagan corruption within the priesthood and the people.

- Program note from Owasso High School Wind Ensemble concert program, 20 December 2012


Jeremiah, Bernstein’s first symphony, was premiered in 1944, with the composer conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony and Jennie Tourel as mezzo-soprano soloist. Although this early work failed to win a 1942 contest sponsored by the New England Conservatory, it did win the Music Critics Circle of New York Award in 1944. The test of the Jeremiah Symphony is from the book of Lamentations. Prophecy, the first movement, aims to parallel in feeling the intensity of the prophet’s please for his people. Lamentations, the third movement, observes the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Profanation, the scherzo second movement, is based on the traditional Hebrew “Haftarah”, a biblical selection from the Books of the Prophets read after the parashah in the Jewish synagogue service. The music depicts a general sense of destruction and chaos brought on by pagan corruption in ancient Jerusalem. The score is dedicated to Bernstein’s father.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


Commercial Discography


Audio Links

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Indiana: ISSMA SENIOR BAND GROUP I
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • Michigan: Senior High AA
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of South Carolina (Columbia) Wind Ensemble (Cormac Cannon, conductor) – 14 February 2020
  • University of Nebraska Omaha Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Karen Fannin, conductor) – 6 December 2019
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Scott Hagen) – 29 October 2019
  • West Chester University (Penn.) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Holtan, conductor) – 26 September 2019
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 16 June 2019
  • Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Higgins, conductor) – 7 March 2019
  • Knightwind Ensemble (Milwaukee, Wisc.) (Erik N. Janners, conductor) – 10 February 2019
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Thomas Gamboa, conductor) – 5 February 2019
  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Ensemble (Cheldon Williams, conductor) – 30 November 2018
  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Symphonic Band (Isaiah Odajima, conductor) – 19 November 2018
  • Southeastern Michigan Wind Ensemble (Clarkston, Mich.) (Cliff Chapman, conductor) – 18 November 2018
  • University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) – 16 November 2018
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (George Vosburgh, conductor) – 11 November 2018
  • Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) Band (Peter Haberman, conductor) – 11 November 2018
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisc.) Wind Ensemble (Andrew Mast, conductor) – 9 November 2018
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Ensemble (Mark Scatterday, conductor) – 5 November 2018
  • Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Brent Levine, conductor) – 1 November 2018
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Robert Taylor, conductor) – 12 October 2018
  • California State University, Northridge, Wind Ensemble (Lawrence Stoffel, conductor) – 11 October 2018
  • University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg) Wind Ensemble (Mark Johnson, conductor) – 10 October 2018


Works for Winds by this Composer


References