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Shenadoah's Simple Gifts

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Larry Clark

Larry Clark

General Info

Year: 2008
Duration: c. 5:10
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $85.00; (digital) - $85.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.00


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
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
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Two of the most popular American folksongs are ingeniously combined in this beautiful setting. It begins with the gentle flow of the river, followed by full statements of both songs. A brass cascade leads into a powerful build to the climax of the piece, where both tunes are heard simultaneously. The delicate, flowing ending fades to a soft close.

- Program Note from publisher

Writing this piece was very special to me, because it gave me the opportunity to honor a man through my music that has had a profound effect on me as a musician. That person is Dr. Pat Rooney. The piece has been written for performance at his final concerts as Director of Bands at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, to celebrate his retirement after twenty-five years of service to the University.

I felt it was fitting to combine two songs closely associated with Harrisonburg and James Madison University. The school is located in the Shenandoah Valley within the view of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. The hauntingly beautiful folk song Oh, Shenandoah is believed to have originated in Virginia and named for the Shenandoah River. The song is used as the main material for this setting. Simple Gifts, long associated with the Appalachian region of the country, was written by the Shaker elder Joseph Brackett and has become one of the most popular of all American songs.

The piece is built around presenting the sounds of a flowing river. The piece begins with the sounds of calm still waters with light ripples. Oh, Shenandoah is initially stated by a solo clarinet (Dr. Rooney's instrument). The waters then begin to move as the first fragment of Simple Gifts is heard played by a solo flute. The piece weaves the two songs together as the accompaniment figures emulate different water-type effects, including the cascading brass during the middle section of the work. The piece moves through several keys before it builds to a climactic presentation of both songs played together at the same time. The work completes with a return of the solo clarinet, the flowing river and a short quote from the fight song of James Madison University to honor Dr. Rooney for his prestigious career.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

  • Florida: IV


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Clark, L.; Brackett, J. (2008). Shenandoah's Simple Gifts [score]. C. Fischer: New York, N.Y.