Wild Goose, The

From Wind Repertory Project
Ryan George

Ryan George

Subtitle: An Gé Fhiáin

General Info

Year: 2014
Duration: c. 10:20
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Fornine Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $350.00   |   Score Only - $60.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
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
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Anvil
  • Bass Drum
  • China Cymbals
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Slapstick
  • Snare Drum
  • Splash Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The ancient Celtic people who occupied the British Isles around 1,600 years ago were a people who shared a deep connection with nature and the world they found themselves in. Around this time Christianity found its way to this land and these ancients would often draw on their surroundings for symbolism. In the Celtic tradition the Holy Spirit is represented as a bird, but not as the delicate and peaceful dove found in other cultures, but as An Gé Fhiáin. The Wild Goose.

Like a wild goose, they perceived the Spirit of God as wild and untamed. Geese are loud, raucous, and strong. Their honk is challenging, piercing, unnerving. They are uncontrollable, difficult if not impossible to catch, and their actions cannot be anticipated (thus the phrase “wild goose chase”). These ancient people absorbed spirituality then not as something that you captured or something that you bent to your will. It was a pursuit, an adventure that you chased after. Their faith was one that was free and unpredictable.

Juxtaposed against the chaos of the goose chase, these ancients also had a phrase for those places where the distance between earth and the spiritual realm collapses, locales where we are able to catch hints and glimpses of the transcendent and where the divine seems to speak the clearest. They called these destinations “thin places”.

In writing this piece I was intrigued by these two impressions: the wild and rambunctious Goose that calls us on an adventurous chase, and the tranquil, reverent thin places that the goose leads us to. These two thoughts intertwine, sometimes gracefully and other times forcefully.

The piece is written in the free-form of a fantasy overture and is built around a five-note motif that variates throughout the allegro sections. A simple chordal hymn first stated by the horns provides the basis for the adagio segments. The goose, represented by an antiphonally staged solo English horn, shows up at various points in the work as both the boisterous motivator and the soothing counselor. Music influences coming from the Celtic traditions are faint early on in the piece but transition to the forefront towards the end as the emulated sounds of bagpipes, penny whistles, and Irish drumming transform the five-note figure into a reel and jig.

An Gé Fhiáin (The Wild Goose) was commissioned by Robert W. Clark as a gift to Dr. Barry K. Knezek in honor of his passion for and devotion to the Lone Star Wind Orchestra. The work was premiered by the same group January of 2014.

- Program Note by composer

The original 2014 version of this work is for a large ensemble with harp, piano, and solo English born. However, for this performance, George generously offered a new arrangement tailored specifically for Hiroshima Wind Orchestra. With this arrangement, the harp and piano parts have been replaced by winds and percussion, the English horn part is covered by 2nd oboe player, and the extended call and response section by bass drums positioned spatially around the stage has been cut. We are very happy that this new edition for 2017 will now allow bands with a limited instrumentation to also enjoy performing this beautiful composition.

- Program Note for the Hiroshima Wind Orchestra concert program, 23 December 2017



State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Symphony (Stephen Bolstad, conductor) - 4 May 2023
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Shawn Vondran, conductor) - 3 December 2021
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 26 February 2020
  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Symphony (Stephen Bolstad, conductor) – 22 February 2020
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Symphony Band (David Thornton, conductor) – 21 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 North Central Division Conference, Chicago, Ill.)
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Symphony Band (David Thornton, conductor) – 4 February 2020
  • McGill University (Montreal, Que.) Wind Orchestra (Vincent Roy, conductor) – 27 September 2019
  • Bethel University (St. Paul, Minn.) Wind Symphony (Stephen B. Thompson, conductor) – 29 May 2019 (Dublin, Ireland)
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor; Joseph DeLuccio, English horn) - 17 February 2019
  • Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) Band (Peter Haberman, conductor) – 10 February 2019
  • Kent State (Ohio) Wind Ensemble (Jesse Leyva, conductor) – 7 December 2018
  • California State University, Bakersfield, Wind Ensemble (Len Sakomoto, conductor) - 5 May 2018
  • Hiroshima (Japan) Wind Orchestra (Tatsuya Shimono, conductor) - 23 December 2017 (2017 Midwest Clinic)
  • California State University, Fresno, Wind Orchestra (Gary P. Gilroy, conductor) - 11 March 2016 (2016 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • Western Illinois University (Macomb) Wind Ensemble (Mike Fansler, conductor) – 26 February 2016
  • Greater Dallas (Texas) Youth Orchestra Wind Symphony (Nicholas Williams, conductor) – 12 January 2016
  • Lone Star Wind Orchestra (Dallas, Tex.) (Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor) – 16 July 2015 - WASBE Conference, San Jose, Calif.
  • United States Air Force Band (Washington, D.C.) (Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor) - 6 March 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Autobahn (Flex instrumentation) (2008/2020)
  • Café 512 (Flex instrumentation) (2010/2020)
  • Jinx (Flex instrumentation) (2017/2020)

All Wind Works


  • Wollam, Seth F. "An Gé Fhiáin (The Wild Goose)." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 10, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 911-920. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2015.