Sinfonietta (Dahl)

From Wind Repertory Project
Ingolf Dahl

Ingolf Dahl

General Info

Year: 1961 / 1969
Duration: 20:10
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Tetra/Continuo Music Corp., through Elkin Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $225.00   |   Score Only - $65.00


1. Introduction and Rondo - 5:30
2. Pastoral Nocturne - 7:30
3. Dance Variations - 6:20


Full Score
Piccolo (doubling Flute III)
Flute I-II (both div. a2)
Oboe I-II (II doubling English Horn)
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (all div. a2)
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 or Trumpet I-II-III (including off-stage players; all part div. a2)
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum (with attached Crash Cymbal)
  • Castanets
  • Crash Cymbals (small and large)
  • Glockenspiel
  • Sandpaper Block
  • Snare Drum (medium and high)
  • Suspended Cymbal (small, medium and large)
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tenor Drum (or Field Drum)
  • Timpani
  • Tom-Toms
  • Triangle
  • Whip
  • Woodblocks (low and high)
  • Xylophone


See: Topolewski, in Resources, below.

Program Notes

Sinfonietta is a thoroughly modern work that retains a sense of humor and a strong appeal to audiences. Despite the composer's usage of serialism and other modern techniques, he has carefully applied these methods to promote a connection with listeners. Dahl starts and finishes the work in the often perceived "band" key of B-flat, and there are references to marching bands throughout. It is a technically difficult work with disjunct melodic lines and several exposed solos, requiring an ensemble with skilled musicians in every position.

- Notes from Great Music for Wind Band

Sinfonietta (1961) was commissioned by the Western and Southwestern Divisions of the College Band Directors National Association. The composer states:

When I received a commission to write a work for band, there were many things to be considered. First of all, I wanted it to be a piece full of size, a long piece, a substantial piece -- a piece that, without apologies for its medium, would take its place alongside symphonic works of any other kind. But, in addition, I hoped to make it a ‘light’ piece, something in a serenade style, serenade tone, and perhaps even form. This was the starting point.

You will remember that in many classical serenades the music begins and ends with movements which are idealized marches, as if the musicians were to come to the performance and then, at the end, walk off again. From Haydn's and Mozart's march-enclosed divertimenti to Beethoven's Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola (and beyond), this was a strong tradition, and it was this tradition which motivated at least the details of the beginning and ending of the Sinfonietta (a work in serenade tone but with symphonic proportions, hence the title). The quiet beginning, the backstage trumpets, and at the very end an extremely quiet ending with backstage trumpets -- this is the form of the work.

Arthur Honneger once was commissioned to write an oratorio (King David) for chorus and an ill-assorted group of wind instruments. He asked Stravinsky, ‘What should I do? I have never before heard of this odd combination of winds.’ Stravinsky replied, ‘That is very simple. You must approach this task as if it had always been your greatest wish to write for these instruments, and as if a work for just such a group were the one that you had wanted to write all your life.’ This is good advice and I tried to follow it. Only in my case it was not only before but after the work was done and the Sinfonietta was finished that it turned out to be indeed the piece I had wanted to write all my life.

- Program Note from University of North Texas Wind Symphony concert program, 5 April 2017



State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Arkansas: V
  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: Georgia Band Masterworks
  • Iowa: VI
  • Kansas: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • Massachusetts: VI
  • Michigan: Senior High AA
  • Mississippi: V-A
  • North Carolina:
    • VI: omit one movement
    • Masterworks: play all
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: SC Band Masterworks
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Russell Mikkelson, conductor) – 5 April 2024 (CBDNA 2024 North Central Division Conference, Columbus, Ohio)
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Wind Symphony (Anthony C. Marinello, conductor) - 1 October 2023
  • Central Washington University (Ellensburg) Wind Ensemble (T. André Feagin, conductor) - 2 May 2023
  • New England Conservatory (Boston, Mass.) Wind Ensemble (Charles Peltz, conductor) -18 April 2023
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Ensemble (Mark Davis Scatterday, conductor) - 24 February 2023
  • DePaul University (Chicago, Ill.) Wind Symphony (Eric Neidlinger, conductor) - 10 February 2023
  • Charles River Wind Ensemble (Boston, Mass.) (Matthew M. Marsit, conductor) - 11 December 2022
  • University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Orchestra (Michael Votta, conductor) - 11 November 2022
  • Hebron High School (Carrollton, Tx.) Wind Symphony (Andy Sealy, conductor) – 20 April 2022
  • University of Illinois (Urbana) Wind Symphony (Stephen Peterson, conductor) - 5 November 2021
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) – 13 March 2020
  • Butler University (Indianapolis, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Michael Colburn, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • Capitol Symphonic Winds (Hartford, Conn.) (Dan D’Addio, conductor) – 11 December 2019
  • Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) Band (Peter Haberman, conductor) – 24 November 2019
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Wind Symphony (David Waybright, conductor) – 29 October 2019
  • University of Southern Mississippi (Hattisburg) Wind Ensemble (Catherine Rand, conductor) – 29 April 2019
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles) Thornton Wind Ensemble (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) – 23 February 2019 (CBDNA 2019 National Conference, Tempe, Ariz.)
  • Northern Symphonic Winds (Potsdam, N.Y.) (Joshua Roach, conductor) – 26 January 2019
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Symphonic Band (Eric M. Smedley, conductor) – 23 October 2018
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (George Vosburgh, conductor) – 3 April 2018
  • CBDNA (Los Angeles) - 12 January 1961 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Adams, Byron. (1988, October). Ingolf Dahl's Sinfonietta for Concert Band An Interpretive Analysis. The Instrumentalist 43(3), 21-28.
  • Battisti, Frank. The NEW Winds of Change. Meredith Music Publications, 2018, pp. 92.
  • Blocker, L., Cramer, R., Corporon, E. ,Lautzenheiser, T., Lisk, E., & Miles, R. (1996). Teaching music through performance in band (Volume One). Chicago, IL: Gia Publications.
  • Dahl, I. (1969). Sinfonietta for Concert Band [score]. Tetra/Continuo Music Group: New York.
  • Darling, John A. Sinfonietta. MBM Times, Issue 6 (2012), 76.
  • Kloecker, John H. (1993). An Analysis of Ingolf Dahl's Sinfonietta for Concert Band. Journal of Band Research, 28(2), 37-77.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 932-941.
  • Nicholson, Chad. (2009). Great Music for Wind Band: A Guide to the Top 100 Works in Grades IV, V, VI. Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications. pp 133-134.
  • "SKETCHES ON A TUDOR PSALM by Fisher Tull (USA, 1934-1994) ; SINFONIETTA by Ingolf Dahl (GER/USA 1912-1970)." WASBE. Web. (Featured as WASBE’s Composition of the Week, 15 November 2021). Accessed 12 January 2023
  • Topolewski, Timothy. Errata Studies for the Wind Band Conductor Vol. 2. DeBiencourt, Montreal, Que., Can., Plein la Vue, 2003.