Bayerisches Osterfest

Concert Band

Bayerisches Osterfest
Bavarian Easter Festival

op. 142

Concert Piece, Sacred Music, Overture
Grade Level:
Performance time:
Full Score + Parts
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“Bayerisches Osterfest” (Bavarian Easter Festival) was commissioned by the Bishop Ireton High School Band, the band of a private Catholic school in Virginia, USA. The band’s conductor, Randall Eyles, is an old friend of mine. I first met him when he was the principal percussionist in the United States Air Force Band. Eyles contacted me for a commission, explaining that, after the premiere in Virginia, the Bishop Ireton Band would play the piece on a tour of Bavaria at Eastertide 2013. I decided to compose an overture based on old Catholic Gregorian Chants sung at Easter. The piece opens with a very somber statement of the first plainsong: “Victimae paschali laudes”. The opening setting for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets and two bassoons in unison is sort of an “inside joke,” since it is the same instrumentation as the opening bars of Nicholai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Russian Easter Overture”. It is my homage to Rimsky-Korsakov, whom I admire above all other orchestrators. Three statements of “Victimae paschali laudes” are followed by the introduction to the second plainsong: “Christ ist erstanden”, probably the oldest liturgical song in German language. This tune was also used by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi in his “Feste Romane”. The music then moves to a lively allegro, where both of these old plainsongs are developed in connection with an additional original theme. As I was working on the first part of this overture, I could not decide how to end the piece. I finally decided to introduce a more modern Easter hymn sung in American churches: “Jesus Christ Has Ris’n This Day”, based on a hymn from the 14th century with the Latin title “Surrexit Christus Hodie”. This music is stated by a brass chorale with each phrase interrupted by scampering woodwinds playing faster snippets of music from the allegro section. The third hymn ends in a tutti chorale setting, before the band returns to a rapid coda based on all three tunes; a rousing final celebration of the resurrection of Christ the Savior on this happiest of all Christian holidays.

James Barnes

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Bayerisches Osterfest (James Barnes)

"Bayerisches Osterfest" von James Barnes, gespielt von der BläserPhilharmonie Ostwestfalen-Lippe unter der Leitung von Thiemo ...


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