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Satiric Dances

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Norman Dello Joio

Norman Dello Joio

General Info

Year: 1975
Duration: 7:50
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Associated Music Publishers
Cost: Score & Parts - $75.00   |   Score Only - $10.50


1. Allegro pesante - 2:05
2. Adagio mesto - 3:10
3. Allegro spumante - 2:15


Full Score
C Piccolo
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 Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Percussion (5 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tubular Bells
  • Woodblock
  • Xylophone


  • Tuba, mvt. 3, m.69: The second note should be an F, not a G.

Program Notes

Satiric Dances was commissioned by the Concord Band, Concord, Massachusetts, to commemorate the Bicentennial of April 19, 1775, the day that launched the American War for Independence. At the North Bridge, in what is now Minute Man National Historical Park, the first ordered firing upon British Regulars by Colonial militiamen resulted in "the shot heard `round the world." Dello Joio, then Dean of Boston University's School for the Arts, agreed to do the commission, but stipulated it would be based on a piece he had used as background music for a comedy by Aristophanes. The most famous comic dramatist of ancient Greece, Aristophanes was born an Athenian citizen about 445 BC. His plays commented on the political and social issues of fifth century Athens and frequently employed satire.

The first dance movement is annotated as allegro pesante. The brass entry signifies the importance of the work, but the brisk tempo keeps the simplicity of "peasantry" from being ponderous. Taking a much slower adagio mesto tempo, the second dance begins with a melancholy tune from the flutes and low brass. The movement has light and delicate features that are quite exposed. Its central theme might evoke thoughts of a dance in a meadow that eventually reverts into a more solemn theme. Without a break in the music, the final movement is introduced by rolls from the snare drum. The tempo is indicated as allegro spumante and is the fastest of the composition. The quick turns and dynamics evoke images of the objects that were the titles of Aristophanes' plays: Clouds, Wasps, and Birds.

- Program Notes from


State Ratings

  • Texas: III. (Mvt. III)
  • Texas: IV. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Ensemble (Christine Higley, conductor) - 7 April 2022
  • Lamar University (Beaumont, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Andrew McMahan, conductor) - 26 April 2021
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Wind Ensemble (Tom Davoren, conductor) -16 April 2021
  • Encore Concert Band (Mokena, Ill.) (Bill Schuetter, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Sooner Campus Band (Brian Wolfe, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) Concert Band (Josh Neuenschwander, conductor) – 29 February 2020
  • Illinois Valley Central High School (Chillicothe) Wind Ensemble (Matthew J. Chapman, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins) Symphonic Band (T. André Feagin, conductor) - 25 February 2020
  • McGill University (Montreal, Que.) Wind Orchestra (Alain Cazes, conductor) – 31 January 2020
  • Arkansas State University (Jonesboro) Symphonic Winds (Sarah Labovitz, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • Ripon (Wisc.) College Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Tobin Shucha, conductor) – 17 November 2019
  • Parkland College (Champaign, Ill.) Wind Ensemble (Jonathan Beckett, conductor) - 20 October 2019
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) University Band (Barry L. Houser, conductor) - 25 April 2019
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Concert Band (Ray Stewart, conductor) – 18 April 2019
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Symphonic Band (Michael Robinson, conductor) – 5 April 2019
  • O’Fallon (Ill.) Township High School Symphonic Band (Philip Carter, conductor) – 15 February 2019
  • University of North Georgia (Gainesville) Wind Ensemble (J. Ashley Jarrell, conductor) – 21 February 2019
  • VanderCook College of Music (Chicago) Symphonic Band (Stacey Larson Dolan, conductor) - 21 December 2018 (2018 Midwest Clinic)
  • Peninsula Symphonic Band (Palo Alto, Calif.) (G. Mancho Gonzalez, conductor) – 18 November 2018
  • High School Concert Band [Interlochen, Mich.] (Frederick Fennell, conductor) - 1 August 1986

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