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Santa Fe Saga

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Morton Gould

Morton Gould

General Info

Year: 1956
Duration: c. 10:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $185.00   |   Score Only (print) - $25.00

Themes (played without pause)

1. Rio Grande
2. Roundup
3. Wagon Train
4. Fiesta


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute III
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano 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
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Percussion (6 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Castanets
  • Chimes
  • Claves
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Ratchet
  • Reins
  • Scrapers
  • Shakers
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks (2)
  • Tom-Toms (3)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Whip
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

In 1956 Gould again composed a work at the behest of legendary band director Edwin Franko Goldman. This time the request was not on behalf of the Goldman Band but the American Bandmasters Association (ABA), an organization of professional and school band directors Goldman co-founded in 1929. Because the première performance was to occur at the 1956 ABA convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Gould thought it appropriate to write music that reflected the area’s confluence of Spanish, Mexican, and Western American cultures.

Santa Fe Saga is comprised of four sections that are performed without pause, although they are clearly delineated with subtitles provided by the composer. The opening Rio Grande is a quietly pastoral representation of the river that is the lifeblood of the region. The tranquility of this introduction is dispelled by a rough and rowdy Roundup, a vigorous musical depiction of the dangerous and exciting life of the cowboy. This episode is followed by a vivid evocation of the ubiquitous Wagon Train of the nineteenth century Southwest, complete with the sounds of whips and the jingling reins of horses pulling their occupants across the rugged terrain. Gould appropriately concludes his Southwestern homage with a brilliant and rousing Fiesta.

When describing this section of Santa Fe Saga to a conference of band directors in San Antonio, in July 1993, the composer suddenly realized that he had used the term “Fiesta” in another of his works. (Gould had a lifelong tendency to recycle titles.) This revelation led to a humorous and typically self-deprecating observation: “I realize I obviously have Fiesta-itis, because here is another ‘Fiesta.’ I didn’t realize it until this moment. And I assure you that basically I’m not that happy a person, so I have no idea why I keep on writing these festive tunes!” Happy or not, Gould was certainly a master of writing music that sounded celebratory and full of vitality, as demonstrated by the exhilarating conclusion of Santa Fe Saga

- Program Note from liner notes of CD "An American Salute," U.S. Marine Band. 2013


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Georgia: VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Los Angeles Symphonic Winds (Stephen Piazza, conductor) - 7 May 2022 (Association of Concert Bands 2022 Convention (Santa Fe, N.M.))
  • Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.) Wind Symphony (James Spinazzola, conductor) - 6 November 2021
  • Colorado Wind Ensemble (Denver) (David Kish, conductor)– 17 November 2019
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 1 April 2017
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Wind Ensemble (David Waybright, conductor) – 10 November 2016
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Michelle A. Rakers, conductor) 3 August 2016
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Wind Symphony (John Cody Birdwell, conductor) – 14 February 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Gould, M. (1956). Santa Fe Saga: For Concert Band [score]. G&C Music: New York.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. 2002. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 4. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 673-679.