Vanity Fair

From Wind Repertory Project
Percy Fletcher

Percy Fletcher (ed. Brant Karrick)

Subtitle: A Comedy Overture

General Info

Year: 1924 / 2006
Duration: c. 6:10
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts - $104.89   |   Score Only - $9.95


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel (or Orchestra Bells)
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tubular Bells


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Vanity Fair is a concise and refreshing overture that is a wonderful example of Fletcher’s light melodic style and first-rate scoring. Described by the composer as “a comedy overture in which several characters from Thackeray’s novel are portrayed,” the fast-slow-fast, single movement form includes three main thematic ideas. The opening vivace A section features a vigorously energetic melody that is permeated with scales, sequences, repeated motives, and a variety of color. The second theme, in the dominant key of F, is somewhat slower and delightfully pompous in character. The highly romantic middle section, now in D-flat Major, showcases a beautiful melody complimented by exquisite scoring and is to be played “with sentimental expression.” A transition leads to the return of the opening vivace theme with some variety of harmony and scoring. The stately second theme, now in tonic, leads to an extended and electrifying coda that gains tempo and places the highest technical demands upon musicians, particularly the upper woodwinds.

Vanity Fair, one of those uniquely remarkable pieces that is immediately revered by audiences and musicians alike, was first published by Hawkes and Son in London in 1924, and was later transcribed for orchestra. The aim of this edition is to not only make this decidedly precious work available to modern concert bands, but also to elevate it to its rightful position among the standard wind repertoire.

- Program note by Sarah Jones for the Marcus High School Wind Symphony concert program, 22 December 2012


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Winnipeg (Man., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Virginia Helmer, conductor) - 12 February 2023
  • Southern Illinois University (Edwardsville) Wind Symphony (Ruben Dario Gomez, conductor) - 7 December 2022
  • Ocean Springs (Miss.) High School Wind Symphony (Muhamad Schuman, Jr., conductor) - 4 March 2020 (86th Annual ABA National Convention)
  • Ocean Springs (Miss.) High School Wind Symphony (Muhamad Schuman, Jr., conductor) – 22 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Southern Division Conference, Natchitoches, La.)
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Concert Band (Arris Golden, conductor) – 18 February 2020
  • University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Ensemble (Joseph Parisi, conductor) – 4 December 2019
  • Marywood University (Scranton, Penn.) Wind Symphony (F. David Romines, conductor) - 10 November 2019
  • Allegheny College (Meadville, Pa.) Band Camp for Adult Musicians (Timothy W. Foley, conductor) - 14 June 2019
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Concert Band (Jason H. Nam, conductor) – 18 April 2019
  • University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Symphonic Band (Randall O. Coleman, conductor) – 26 February 2019
  • New Orleans (La.) Concert Band (Charles Taylor, conductor) – 28 October 2018
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Edward Cumming, conductor) – 11 February 2018
  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band (Stephen Bolstad, conductor) – 8 December 2017
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Wind Ensemble (Carolyn Barber, conductor) – 4 October 2017
  • University of North Texas (Denton) University Band (Ben Blasko, conductor) – 12 April 2017
  • San Jose (Calif.) Wind Symphony (Edward C. Harris, conductor) – 5 March 2017
  • University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Ensemble (Brian Coffill, conductor) – 9 December 2016
  • York Community High School (Elmhurst, Ill.) (Michael Pavlik, conductor) – 28 April 2016
  • Marcus High School (Tx.) Wind Symphony (Amanda Drinkwater, conductor) – 22 December 2012 (2012 Midwest Clinic)
  • Allegheny College (Pa.) Band Camp for Adult Musicians (Michelle Rakers, conductor) - 15 June 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer