Andrew Boysen, composer
Diamond Jubilee Suite was commissioned by the Concord (Massachusetts) Band,
James O’Dell, Music Director, to celebrate the Concord Band’s 60th
The suite follows traditional form, consisting of three movements (March, Song,
and Finale) and using the motivic cell of C-B-A (for Concord Band Association)
as formative and thematic material.
The three notes that make up this set also form the key centers for each of the
piece’s three movements (I is in C major, II is in B♭ major, and
III is in A♭ major/whole tone).
Each of the three movements also pay homage to one of the band’s three
conductors and one of the band’s three main functions throughout its
history and each movement is also slightly more difficult than the previous
movement, reflecting the continued and consistent growth in the musicianship
of the band.
The first movement, “March,” is dedicated to William Toland,
the first director of the Concord Band.
He was a percussionist, thus the first instrument heard in the movement is an
off-stage snare drum.
This movement is also intended to reflect one of the earliest functions of the
band, marching in town and regional parades.
It is in the form of a patrol, intended to suggest the approach, passing by,
and recession of the band in an actual parade.
The movement begins with an off-stage snare drum and then an off-stage piccolo,
indicative of the fife and drum music that traces itself to the roots of
Concord’s history in the Revolutionary War.
The first three notes of the first strain as well as the beginning of the trio
are the descending tri-chord that is the main motive for the piece.
The second movement, “Song,” is dedicated to William McManus,
the second director of the Concord Band.
He was a saxophone player, so the first instrument heard in this movement is an
alto saxophone soloist playing the main melody for the movement.
One of the main functions of the Concord Band has been to play a series of
outdoor summer concerts that feature lighter and more popular music.
Mr. McManus was also the conductor who worked hard to bring more popular music
into the band’s repertoire.
This is reflected in the movement through traditional song form (AABA)
presented twice and sandwiching a lighter and more playful middle section.
The pitch material for the movement takes the main tri-chord and adds a chordal
fifth to it, creating a more “popular music” sound through what is
usually referred to as an added ninth chord.
Finally, this movement pays homage to the three important composers who wrote
suites for band which form the cornerstones of our repertoire.
The alto saxophone solo at the beginning is an additional reference to the
second movement of Gordon Jacob’s Original Suite, the climax and
conclusion of the exterior sections are obvious references to the second
movement of Gustav Holst’s Suite in F, and the faster interior section is
an homage to the second movement of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s English Folk
The third movement, “Finale,” is dedicated to the band’s
third (and present) conductor, James O’Dell.
He is a tuba player, so the opening solo this time is on that instrument.
This movement is intended to reflect the band’s more serious, indoor
concerts in which they have gradually approached more and more challenging
musical works, especially under the leadership of Mr. O’Dell.
Therefore, this movement takes the basic tri-chord and expands it to become a
full whole tone scale for parts of the movement.
It also uses a technique called bitonality, where sections of the ensemble are
playing different chords at the same time.
The movement is in ABAB form with a short coda at the end.
The A sections are based entirely on the opening tuba phrase, with the melodic
material simply being an augmented version of the energetic bass line.
The first B section recalls the trio melody from the first movement and the
second B section recalls the main melody of the second movement, thereby
connecting each of these movements to each other.
The climax of the work arrives with a final, decisive C-B♭-A♭
statement in the brass.
There is a moment of silence and then the three soloists/conductors (snare
drum, alto saxophone, tuba) combine to lead the ensemble into a final