Star-Spangled Overture

From Wind Repertory Project
Morton Gould

Morton Gould (trans. James C. Ripley)

Subtitle: On The Star Spangled Banner

General Info

Year: 1976
Duration: c. 5:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts (print) – Rental


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
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
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Ratchet
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tambourine
  • Tenor Drum
  • Triangle
  • Whip
  • Xylophone


  • Timpani, m.35: rehearsal "43" should read "35".
  • Percussion Score, m.34: Chime notes should read (treble clef) Eb-C-F to match timpani.
  • Percussion Score, m.60, beat 1: Delete "xylo" (this passage is played on bells).
  • Percussion Score, m.60, beat 3: (Bells) D should read C.
  • Percussion Score, m.215: Delete "sus. cym".
  • Percussion Score, m.244: "S.D." should appear on beat 2 at the start of this passage.

Program Notes

In celebration of the nation’s bicentennial in 1976, The Queens Symphony Orchestra commissioned Gould to compose a set of American ballads for orchestra. The suite is comprised of six movements, all based on well-known patriotic songs, including America, the Beautiful, the Civil War freedom song Jubilo, We Shall Overcome, The Girl I Left Behind Me, and Taps. While Gould uses these melodies as the starting point for his movements, he immediately develops each through the creative and complex prism of his distinct voice, virtually re-inventing these simple songs through the significant colors and capabilities of the symphony orchestra.

The suite opens with Gould’s highly original take on one of America’s most revered songs, The Star-Spangled Banner. In the forward to his score, the composer remarked, " The Star-Spangled Banner, so difficult to sing, instrumentally has to me a kind of classical strength—perhaps all drinking songs (which this originally was) do." The tune’s iconic strains are sent through a series of fresh variations; at different times the famous collection of notes are turned upside down, elongated and remixed in different meters, and at one dramatic point, even set as a miniature fugue. The resulting work, aptly named A Star Spangled Overture, is an affectionate and playful homage to our beloved National Anthem, and a fitting opening to both Gould’s patriotic suite and today’s special performance.

The première of American Ballads was given by the Queens Symphony Orchestra on April 24, 1976, with the composer conducting. James Ripley has transcribed several movements of Gould’s suite for band, including this superb setting of A Star-Spangled Overture.

- Program Note from United States Marine Band concert program, 11 March 2019


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) - 11 March 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer