Washington Grays

Concert Band

Washington Grays


Concert March, March
Grade Level:
Performance time:
Full Score + Condensed Score + Parts
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Claudio S. Grafulla (1810-1880) was born on Menorca, one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea, and came to the United States when he was 28 years old. There he joined the ranks of the New York Lothiers Brass Band which was later attached to the 7th Regiment New York National Guard. During that period he became acclaimed as a composer, arranger and conductor, as the press in both New York and Washington often covered his musical activities and was full of praise. The climax of his concert activities was an appearance before President Lincoln in 1864. Apart from his own contributions to the literature for wind band, his creative activities focused on arrangements of composers like Rossini, Balfe, von Suppè and others who were extremely popular at that time. Period sources report that Grafulla who was not married, was an unassumingly quiet man. His life and activities exclusively centered on his music. In the course of time Grafulla’s name fell into oblivion, but he has been duly reappraised only recently on the basis of new research in the field of wind music.

The march “Washington Grays” goes back to the year 1861 and was dedicated to the Washington regiment of the same name. It is generally regarded as a masterpiece and prototype of the period concert march. In terms of musical style, it is largely influenced by the Italian march tradition, although some German traits are noticeable too. In addition, the march excels in a brilliant balance between melody and technique.

This fine march has long belonged to the international core repertory of marches of great appeal, while in Central Europe it has remained virtually unknown. Consequently Siegfried Rundel’s new arrangement makes available for bands in our region one of the most thrilling marches ever written.

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