Last week I finished “Intrada,” my first original band piece. I’m actually referring to it as a composition for “wind orchestra,” more of a hifalutin’ term for band. It’s in the capable hands of Roby George and the ISU Wind Symphony, who will begin rehearsing it this week in preparation for a March 6 premiere.
Writing for orchestra comes pretty naturally for me, but I’ve always found it difficult to write for band. There are a couple of possible reasons for this:
- I’m a violist who has spent most of my life playing in orchestras of one kind or another; although I played clarinet for a year in 6th grade, I’ve never really been a member of a band.
- It was orchestral music that first caught my interest and drew me into the field. My parents’ record collection included a great deal of orchestra music, but except for a record of Sousa marches, I don’t remember any band music in their collection.
I didn’t grow up listening to or performing band music, so it isn’t in my conciousness the way orchestra music is. Consequently I’ve always found it difficult to imagine large ensemble music without strings. Still, for a long time I’ve thought it was important to have some band (excuse me; “wind orchestra”) music in my catalogue, and I can finally say I do.
The term “Intrada” is one that really belongs to a past era. In the 16th and 17th centuries, is was sometimes used generically in the way that we might today refer to a “prelude” or “overture;” more specifically, it referred to a majestic, march-like piece involving fanfares, performed often during state occasions to accompany the entrances of visiting dignitaries. I had no specific purpose in mind while writing my piece, beyond writing something of a majestic, ceremonial character. I hope when the piece is heard, my reasons for reviving the term “Intrada” are apparent.