commentary to opus 81d

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Symphonic Ouverture for Concert band, opus 81d (1977)


Beginning of the Symphonic Ouverture

First performance: November 15, 1986, Friedberg, Stadthalle
Jugendblasorchester Werneck / Peter Blum

American first performance: November 22, 1987 in Seattle, Wash.
W.l.B.C. Directors‘ Band / Bertold Hummel

Instrumentation: 1 Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons, 1 E- Clarinet, 3 B- Clarinets, 1 B- Bass Ciarinet, 2 E- Alto Saxophones, 1 B- Tenor Saxophone, 1 E- Baritone Saxophone,
3 B- Trumpets (Cornets), 4 Horns in F, 3 Trombones, 1 B- Baritone (Euphonium), 2 Basses, 1 String Bass, Timpani, Vibraphone, Xylophone, Snare Drum, Bongo Drums, Bass Drum, Wood Block,
Temple Block
, Ratchet, Tambourine, Triangle, 4 Suspended Cymbals, Pair of Cymbals, Gong, Tam-tam, Bells (optional)

Duration: 5 minutes

Publisher: Schott Music SHS 1001 / ISMN: 979-0-001-10066-3

Jugendblaskapelle Sonthofen

Video: Works by Hummel on youtube


Bayerische Blasmusik, December 1986

Here there was an impressive demonstration of what a varied treatment this instrument "Wind Orchestra" is capable, with which in future a broad spectrum of percussion instruments will be associated: the old combination wind / percussion presented in a completely new but very attractive way. Astonishing how the Werneck Youth Wind Orchestra under Peter Blum dealt with the high interpretational demands of this piece, which through its free use of intervals contrasting with traditional harmonic practice, its chamber music-like compositional development and its finesse in nuances of sound colour offers an entirely new terrain for the amateur musician, a new field in which the friend of wind music will find it worthwhile opening his mind and above all his ears.


Works for (amateur) wind orchestra

At the end of this look at Bertold Hummel's symphonic work, some remarks on his writing for amateur musicians is necessary. In this field, he is very much in the tradition of his teachers Genzmer and Hindemith, who similarly never lost their rapport with the practices of the non-professional musician. A natural maxim applies: the simpler the concept, the more diatonic and small-scale the building blocks and sounds. The aspect of sound colour becomes less important and the compositional characteristics are more strongly centred on draughtsman-like linear structures with a significantly conventional effect.
Of the symphonic works, those for wind orchestra are among the simpler ones. Specifically conceived for amateurs were the "Sinfonietta", op. 39 (1970) and the "Musica Urbana", op. 81c, composed in 1983 and baptised a year later in Hummel's birthplace, Hüfingen, under his direction with local musicians. At a slightly more demanding level, Hummel composed in 1977 the "Oregon Symphony", op. 67, performed for the first time on the 7th April, 1978 in Ashland, Oregon (USA) in the presence of the composer. Nine years later, during his second visit to the USA, Hummel had the "Symphonic Overture", op. 81d (the extended "Oregon Symphony") in his luggage and had this performed for the first time in Seattle on the 21st November, 1987 by the W.I.B.C Directors' Band.
Claus Kühnl (in "Die sinfonischen Werke Bertold Hummels", Tutzing, 1998)

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