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Tunbridge Fair

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Walter Piston

Walter Piston

Subtitle: Intermezzo for Band

General Info

Year: 1951
Duration: c. 4:45
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - $75.00    |   Score Only - $12.95


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium I-II
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals (2)
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

- Commissioned by the American Bandmasters Association (part of the Edwin Franko Goldman commissions)
- The Tunbridge World’s Fair is a large agricultural fair in Tunbridge, Vermont. These began in 1867 and continue today.
- In rondo form: ABABA

Although Walter Piston is commonly acknowledged for his textbooks on harmony and counterpoint, his creative compositional skills are evident in this concert opener. Like Ralph Vaughan Williams, Piston disrupts the regularity of time by crafting melodies that are tied over the bar line and rely heavily upon syncopation. It is a brief piece that offers a high degree of technical and rhythmic challenges. Notably, there is significant exposure of the horn section. For an ensemble with strong rhythmic security, this piece offer many educational opportunities, and audiences will find it accessible and entertaining.

- Program Note from Great Music for Wind Band

Tunbridge Fair, which shows ragtime influences, was commissioned by the League of Composers and premiered by the Goldman Band, with the composer conducting, on June 16, 1950. The original title Intermezzo for Band was changed at the request of a publisher. Piston thus named the piece after a country fair near his hometown in Vermont; he felt the piece captured the carefree mood of being at the fair.

- Program Note from Ball State University Symphony Band concert program, 25 March 2016

Tunbridge Fair (1950), subtitled Intermezzo for Band, depicts one of Vermont’s oldest and most cherished events, the annual county fair at Tunbridge. The work is a jazz-influenced contrapuntal tour de force commissioned by the League of Composers at the suggestion of Edwin Franko Goldman and was premiered by the Goldman Band.

Piston’s style derives from a disciplined technique in harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration. It emphasizes the manipulation of musical ideas, embracing both the contrapuntal patterns of Bach and the developmental practices of Mozart and Beethoven. The ragtime-like first theme captures the interaction of the crowd, while the lyrical second theme depicts the evening dancing at the fair.

- Program Note from the University of North Texas Wind Symphony concert program, 21 November 2019


State Ratings

  • Alabama: AA
  • California: VI Class AA
  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Iowa: V
  • Massachusetts: V
  • Michigan: AA
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: V
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Sonoma State University (Rohnert Park, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Andy Collinsworth, conductor) – 13 March 2020
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Symphonic Band (Betsy McCann, conductor) – 3 March 2020
  • West Texas A&M University (Canyon) Symphonic Band (Donald Lefevre, conductor) - 13 February 2020 (2020 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 31 January 2020
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Symphony (Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • Gold Coast Wind Ensemble (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) (Michael Doty, conductor) – 7 April 2019
  • New Orleans (La.) Concert Band (Charles Taylor, conductor) – 24 March 2019
  • North Dakota State University (Fargo) Wind Symphony (Warren Olfert, conductor) – 2 December 2018
  • Yale University (New Haven, Conn.) Concert Band (Thomas Duffy, conductor) – 11 November 2018
  • California State University, Long Beach, Wind Symphony (John Carnahan, conductor) – 11 October 2018
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (George Vosburgh, conductor)– 10 February 2018
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Symphony Band (David Thornton, conductor) – 1 February 2018
  • Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Laura Rexroth, conductor) – 4 November 2017
  • University of Louisville (Ky.) Wind Ensemble (Acton Osterling, Jr., conductor) - 9 March 2017 (82nd Annual ABA National Convention)
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Brett Penshorn, conductor) – 16 November 2016
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Wind Ensemble (Carolyn Barber, conductor) – 5 October 2016
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Symphony (Benjamen Blasko, conductor) - 29 September 2016
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 22 April 2016
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Symphony Band (Jason Gardner, conductor) – 25 March 2016
  • San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra (Jennifer Martin, conductor) - 15 November 2014
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Symphonic Band (Robert E. Foster, conductor) – 27 February 1999 (CBDNA 1999 National Conference, Austin, Tx.)

Works for Winds by This Composer