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Spiel für Blasorchester

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Ernst Toch

Ernst Toch

This work bears the designation Opus 39.

The title translates from the German as "Game for Wind Orchestra."

General Info

Year: 1926 / 1954
Duration: c. 8:55
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Schott Music Distribution
Cost: Score and Parts - $181.00   |   Score Only - $49.00


1. Overture - 2:00
2. Idyll - 3:40
3. Buffo - 2:55


Full Score
Piccolo (also doubling Flute)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet (optional)
B-flat Bass Clarinet (optional)
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
B-flat Flugelhorn I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Spiel Op. 39 for Symphonie wind ensemble was composed at the instigation of Paul Hindemith and received its first performance in 1926 directed by Hermann Scherchen at the Donaueschingen Chamber Music Festival. Toch himself wrote an alternative arrangement of the work for the wind section of a symphony orchestra.

- Program Note from publisher

Ernst Toch was interested in the artistic potential of the wind ensemble, and jumped at the opportunity given to him by Paul Hindemith to compose such music for the 1926 Donaueschingen festival. Despite the breadth of his compositional output, which included symphonies, concerti, choral works and music for film, the Spiel für Blasorchester, op. 39, is one of only five works for wind completed by Toch.

Spiel is split into three movements, Overture, Idyll and Buffo. The first movement is in a standard A-B-A form in which the A section is marked by mixed meter and bright, articulate melodies, while the B section contrasts with flowing lyricism. The second movement is also in ternary form (A-B-A), and features a prominent oboe solo throughout. The character of the movement is indicative of its name, invoking a peaceful and serene sonic landscape. It is the most romantic of the three movements, harkening back to the musical ideals of the prior musical era, an aesthetic that many other contemporary composers of the time were trying to extinguish.

The last movement is boisterous and playful. Written in sonata form, it carries with it a satirical, almost showman-like quality, somewhat akin to a circus band. The piece is dedicated to Hermann Scherchen, a twentieth-century German conductor and champion of contemporary music.

- Program Note from University of Miami Frost Wind Ensemble concert program, 27 October 2016


Audio CD: North Texas Wind Symphony (Eugene Corporon, conductor)

State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Florida: VI
  • Louisiana: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) Concert Band (Cory Near, conductor) - 26 February 2023
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mason St. Pierre, conductor) - 7 November 2022
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Thomas Gamboa, conductor) - 6 October 2022
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Wind Symphony (Abbie Brown, conductor) - 3 October 2021
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Brett Penshorn, conductor) – 23 February 2021
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Band (Eric Allen, conductor) - 5 November 2020
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Wind Ensemble (Cody Birdwell, conductor) - 25 September 2020
  • University of North Carolina Charlotte Wind Ensemble (Shawn Smith, conductor) – 21 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Southern Division Conference, Natchitoches, La.)
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Brent Levine, conductor) – 24 November 2019
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Ensemble (David Kehler, conductor) – 15 November 2018
  • San Francisco Wind Ensemble (San Mateo, Calif.) (Martin H. Seggelke, conductor) – 15 September 2018
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 3 November 2017
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) – 14 October 2017
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) Peabody Wind Ensemble (Harland D. Parker, conductor) – 28 April 2017
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Thomas Caneva, conductor) – 16 March 2017 (CBDNA 2017 National Conference, Kansas City, Mo.)
  • Oklahoma City University Wind Philharmonic (Kaleb B. Benda, conductor) - 1 December 2016
  • University of Miami (Fla.) Frost Wind Ensemble (Robert Carnochan, conductor) – 27 October 2016
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (John E. Williamson, conductor) – 18 October 2016
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) – 24 March 2016
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Wind Symphony (Martin H. Seggelke, conductor) – 5 February 2016
  • Lynn Conservatory of Music (Boca Raton, Fla.) Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Amis, conductor)– 15 January 2016

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Miles, Richard B. 2000. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 743-753.
  • Toch, E. (1954). Spiel : für Blasorchester = for wind orchestra : opus 39 [score]. Schott: Mainz.