Concord Band Logo The Concord Band
Box 302, Concord, MA 01742
Tel: 978-897-9969

Program Notes

Satiric Dances

Concord Band commission (1975)

Norman Dello Joio, composer

Our first major commission was a learning experience for the Band and me. We wanted to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of 1775 with something of substance. A commissioned piece seemed perfect, and time has shown that it was perfect. We started with the concept of a composition contest but the task proved to be daunting as well as financially impossible. The contest was put aside in favor of a commission. Oddly enough, we had one entry to our composition contest which was entered anonymously, and we never did find out who submitted the piece! The financing for the commissioned composition came from private donations and the Eastern National Park and Monument Association in cooperation with the National Park Service.

We decided on a composer, only hoping he would agree for the small fee we had. Norman Dello Joio, probably the most prestigious composer who has ever written for us, agreed to do the commission but stipulated it would be a piece he had used as background music for a comedy by Aristophanes. Dello Joio’s Satiric Dances was published shortly after the premier performance, and it has been one of the best selling and most performed band pieces for the last twenty years. Our first contact with the piece was from the publisher’s manuscript, which had been incorrectly transposed. The corrected parts arrived shortly in Dello Joio’s own hand!

At the time of commission Dello Joio was Dean of Boston University’s School for the Arts. He took a special interest in the commission and came to band rehearsals to offer suggestions on the performance. Dello Joio and his family brought a picnic supper to Minuteman National Park the night of the scheduled premier, but it poured that night. The next week we all showed up again, including Norman, his family and picnic, and we enjoyed a festive concert. In his note to me after the performance he said he "...was proud to be a member of the Concord Band family."

Satiric Dances has become a staple of the concert band repertoire and is frequently performed by high school, college, and community bands throughout the world.

WMT

Satiric Dances, the Concord Band’s first major commission, was written to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the events in Concord of 1775. The financing for the commission came from private donations and the Eastern National Park and Monument Association in cooperation with the National Park Service. Norman Dello Joio agreed to do the commission but stipulated it would be a piece he had used as background music for a comedy by Aristophanes. Dello Joio took a special interest in the commission and came to band rehearsals to offer suggestions on the performance. After the scheduled performance was rained out, Satiric Dances was premiered on July 17, 1975 at Minuteman National Park with Norman Dello Joio and his family in attendance. Satiric Dances was published shortly after that, and it has been one of the best selling and most performed pieces of the concert band repertoire.

—WMT

Satiric Dances for a Comedy by Aristophanes was the first work for concert band commissioned by the Concord Band. The Town of Concord wished to make a tangible recognition of the Bicentennial of April 19, 1775. The Town funded the commission with assistance by the Eastern National Park and Monument Association, in cooperation with the National Park Service. William Toland was the Music Director of the Concord Band when the work was premiered. Satiric Dances has gone on to become a classic in the standard concert band repertoire and is performed widely throughout the world.

WGM

INDEX


This page last updated: 2017/7/13
David Tweed, webmaster
© Copyright 1995-2017
The Concord Band Association.