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James Stephenson

James Stephenson

General Info

Year: 2020
Duration: c. 20:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Stephenson Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $300.00; (digital) - $300.00   |   Score Only (print) - $60.00


1. Taratella
2. Pavane


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cabasa
  • Cajon
  • China Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Sandpaper Blocks
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-tam
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone

Solo Guitar
Male Voice (optional)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

I must immediately thank Matthew George for this, our fifth, commission together. It’s been an absolute joy to continue the process of creating music together. But a guitar concerto -- with wind ensemble: wow, that’s tough!! Thank you also to Chris Kachian, for whom the concerto was composed, for his guidance and good spirit through the creation of this, and for not laughing at me during some of my early attempts to write for his beautiful instrument.

The concerto is in three movements, with the first continuing segue, without break, into the second. The first movement is a tarantella, accompanied at times by jazz-inspired bass lines and colorful accompaniment. The second movement -- the emotional heart of the concerto -- was inspired by two sources:

First, I’ve always been inspired by text, and it occurred to me that I might borrow the rhythm of a Shakespeare sonnet (his most famous) and create a melodic line based solely on his rhythm. That is why the text is written into the score and parts, to show the text and how it is related.

Second, it has been noted that this particular sonnet doesn’t necessarily specify a man or a woman, and so I took the liberty of using it to address the love one might have for their father. My father suffered a stroke in June 2019, and has been relegated to nursing-homecare ever since. His memory has been seriously affected, and he often speaks with the occasional confused or nonsensical word interspersed within his sentences. That is why the guitar part at letter C has varied rhythm to accentuate someone trying to get what should be a simple beautiful line across, but instead it is marred by quintuplets, or sextuplets, etc., symbolizing a confused manner of delivery.

I emphasize the beauty, because many of my visits to my father have been that of me sitting very close to him, with him in a wheelchair, and me in a chair close by, and I would be leaning over (much like a pose of a guitar player). These memories have turned a corner and have actually become quite beautiful in my brain, and something poignant, personal, and unique which he and I have shared on many occasions….

The third movement is virtuosic and has the special (optional) effect near the end of having the guitarist sing while playing. This is meant to seem somewhat reminiscent of the style of Pat Metheny, a guitarist I listened to constantly in my younger years. It also brings back the melody of the sonnet, but now set in an uplifting manner.

- Program Note by composer

Commissioned by the University of St. Thomas; Matthew George, Director of Bands. Written for Christopher S. Kachian

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Grand Symphonic Winds (Richfield, Minn.) (Matthew George, conductor; Jared Waln, guitar) - 4 March 2023 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer

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