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Symphony in B-flat (Hindemith)

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Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith

General Info

Year: 1951
Duration: c. 18:15
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Schott Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $250.00   |   Score Only: $69.95


1. Moderately Fast, with Vigor – 7:10
2. Andante Grazioso – 5:25
3. Fugue (rather broad) – 5:15


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-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 Cornet Solo-I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle


In Parts:

  • Flute II: 1st movement, 1st bar of rehearsal D: There should be a time change into 3/2.
  • Cornet I: 1st movement, 1 bar before rehearsal K: The 4th quarter note should be E instead of G

See also: Topolewski in Resources, below.

Program Notes

The Symphony for Concert Band was composed at the request of Lt. Col. Hugh Curry, leader of the United States Army Band, and was premiered in Washington, D.C., on April 5, 1951, with the composer conducting. This three-movement work is the only symphony that Hindemith wrote expressly for the wind band. The suite shows Hindemith's great contrapunctal skill, and the organized logic of his thematic material. His melodies develop ever-expanding lines, and his skill in the organization and utilization of complex rhythmic variation adds spice and zest to the strength of his melodies.

Although Symphony in B-Flat features unique uses of dissonant chords and nonharmonic tones, it preserves neo-classical tonality, forms, and rhythmic and melodic patterns. Short figures are apt to form themselves into ostinatos to provide the background to broad and declamatory melodies; these melodies will often repeat characteristic phrases of awkward lengths so as to disturb the even flow of the basic rhythm. A slow section will alternate with a scherzando section, and the two will combine to form the third portion of a movement.

The first movement is in sonata allegro form in three sections, with the recapitulation economically utilizing both themes together in strong counterpoint. The second and third movements develop and expand their thematic material in some of the most memorable contrapunctal writing for winds. The second movement opens with an imitative duet between alto saxophone and cornet, accompanied by a repeated chord figure. The duet theme, along with thematic material from the opening movement, provides the basic material for the remainder of the movement. The closing section of the third movement utilizes the combined themes while the woodwinds amplify the incessant chattering of the first movement. The brass and percussion adamantly demand a halt with a powerful final cadence.

The Symphony in B-Flat rivals any orchestra composition in length, breadth, and content, and served to convince other first-rank composers -- including Vittorio Giannini, Vincent Persichetti, Paul Creston, and Alan Hovhaness -- that the band is a legitimate medium for serious music.

- Program note by Hubert Henderson and James Jorgenson, and from the SUNY Potsdam Crane Wind Ensemble concert program, 22 April 2016

Hindemith’s Symphony in B-flat for Band was composed during his time in the United States, at the request of Lt. Col. Hugh Curry, leader of the United States Army Band, and was premiered by “Pershing’s Own” on April 5, 1951, with Hindemith conducting. Featuring strong melodies, great contrapuntal writing, and complex rhythmic organization, variation, and texture, the Symphony is another true pillar of the repertoire. This masterwork elevated the scope of content available to the concert band, opening the doors for future composers and offering free license to explore the genre, cementing the validity of the wind and percussion ensemble as a medium for serious music.

- Program Note by Andrew Grenci and Joel Baroody for the United States Coast Guard Band concert program, 22 December 2017


State Ratings

  • Arkansas:
    • Grade V: Any one movement
    • Grade VI: Play All
  • Florida:    ---   (The Florida Bandmasters Association denotes this as "significant literature.")
    • Grade VI: Any movement
  • Georgia:
    • Grade VI: Omit Movement I or III (play mvt. I and mvt. II or mvt. II and mvt. III)
    • Masterwork: If complete Symphony is performed
  • Indiana:
    • Group I: Any movement
  • Maryland:
    • Grade VI: Any movement
  • New York:
    • Grade VI: Movement I or Movement III
  • North Carolina:
    • VI: play one movement
    • Masterworks: play all
  • South Carolina: "Masterworks"
  • Virginia: VI (full performance of all movements counts as two works)


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association. (2013) "AR Required Music List by Grade (12-5-13)". Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association. pp. 33, 35.
  • Belcik, Mark Gerald. (1996) “Paul Hindemith’s Symphony in B-flat for Concert Band.” D.M.A. diss., University of Texas at Austin.
  • Berz, William, and Andrew Yozviak. "A Comparative Analysis of Three Recordings of the Symphony in B-flat Conducted by Paul Hindemith." Journal of Band Research 47, no. 2 (Spring 2012), pp. 27-42.
  • Cameron, Scott. (2016) “Experts Excerpts: Symphony in B-flat for Concert Band, mvmt. 1. Paul Hindemith.” ITEA Journal [International Tuba Euphonium Association] 43, no. 2 (Winter 2016): pp. 55–58.
  • Gallagher, Charles. (1966) “Hindemith’s Symphony for Band.” Journal of Band Research 2, no. 1 (Fall 1966): pp. 19-27. Reprinted in The American Bandmasters Association Journal of Band Research: A Repertoire Anthology (1964–1989), Terry Austin, ed. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2013. pp. 33–42.
  • Kopetz, Barry. (1990) “Hindemith’s Symphony for Band.” The Instrumentalist 44, no. 8 (March 1990): pp. 24-28, 30, 32.
  • Le Page, Brendon. (1999) “Symphonies for Band—Part 1: Hindemith,” WINDS 14 (Autumn 1999): p. 13.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 952-959.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 292.
  • "Symphony in B-flat by Paul Hindemith (Germany, 1895 – 1963)." WASBE. Web. (Featured as WASBE’s Composition of the Week, 5 April 2021). Accessed 13 January 2023
  • Topolewski, Timothy. Errata Studies for the Wind Band Conductor, Vol. 1. Topolewski, 1990.
  • Weiss, Scott A. "Paul Hindemith and the Genesis of the Symphony in B Flat for Concert Band." In: Kongressbericht Oberwölz/Steiermark 2004. Alta Musica, band 25. Edited by Bernhard Habla. Hans Schneider, 2006, pp. 379-388.
  • Whitwell, David. (2011) “Making Masterpieces Musical. Part I: Paul Hindemith—Symphony in B-flat.” NBA Journal [National Band Association] 51, no. 4 (Summer 2011): pp. 46-48. Reprinted in Essays on Performance Practice. Austin, TX: Whitwell Publishing, 2013, pp. 67–71