Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wind Band Composer Snapshot: Norman Dello Joio

Norman Dello Joio(1913-2008) American Composer/Organist

- Parents were Italian immigrants(father organist/opera coach) in NYC
- began career as organist/choir director at the Star of the Sea Church on City Island in New York at age 14.
- Attended Juilliard(1939) studying organ and composition(BM, MM) on scholarship.
- studied with Hindemith at Tanglewood(1941), huge influence on his compositional style.
Norman Dello Joio
- Hindemith told Dello Joio, "Your music is lyrical by nature, don’t ever forget that." Dello Joio states that, although he did not completely understand at the time, it meant: "Don’t sacrifice necessarily to a system, go to yourself, what you hear. If it’s valid, and it’s good, put it down in your mind. Don’t say I have to do this because the system tells me to.”
- Compositions include choral works, orchestral, wind band, solo voice, chamber works, concertos, piano pieces, ballets, 2 masses, operas, and film scores.
- Taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Mannes College of Music, and was Professor of Music and Dean of the Fine and Applied Arts School of Boston University(1972-1978).
- Directed the Ford Foundation’s Contemporary Music Project(1959-1973), which placed young composers in high schools who were salaried to compose music for school ensembles and programs.

Circa 1964
Major Works for Band:

Variants on a Mediaeval Tune (1963) 11:40 Min Grade VI
- Commissioned by the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation for the Duke University band.
- Variations based on the tune “In Dulci Jubilo”
- Introduction/Theme and 5 variations
- Harmonic structure doesn’t reflect a past era
- Not a standard theme and variation form as each movement could be free-standing.
- Dello Joio was 50 years old when he wrote his first band piece.

Scenes from the Louvre “Based on Ancient Airs”(1966) 10Min Grade 5
- Commissioned by the Baldwin Wallace College Symphonic Band
- 5 movements: The Portals, Children's Gallery, Kings of France, Nativity Paintings, Finale
- Premiered March 13 1966 with the composer conducting
- Written as soundtrack for a documentary of the Louvre museum(France). It was orchestral in nature first.
- Winner of Emmy Award for Best Score for a Television Production.

Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn(1968) 14:30min Grade VI
- 3 movements: Theme and Fantasy I, Fantasy II, Fantasy III.
- commissioned by the MSBOA and dedicated to Mr. Leonard Falcone, Director of Bands at Michigan State University, upon his retirement.
- This work for band is based on a theme from a composition for piano by Joseph Haydn.

Satiric Dances (For a Comedy by Aristophanes) (1975) 7Min Grade V
- In 3 movements: Allegro Pesante, Adagio Mesto, Allegro Spumante
- Commissioned in commemoration of the Bicentennial of April 19, 1775 by the Concord Band, Massachusetts; William Toland, Music Director.
- It was a piece he had used as background music for a comedy by Aristophanes.
- features Mediterranean folk dance influences
- Performance Note: There should not be break between the final two movements

Other works of note(pieces based other works of Dello Joio)
From Every Horizon, A Tone Poem to New York – Music from his film score(Every Horizon)
Song of Abelard – Baritone solo and band – Trans from his ballet "Time of Snow"
Caccia – Trans. Of his Diversions No. 3 for orchestra
Colonial Ballads – 6 mov taken from his 13 movement Colonial Variants for Orchestra
The Dancing Sargeant – Transcription from Five Images for orchestra and piano versions.
Metaphrase – Original 12-tone band work, based on Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost”
City Profiles – Trans from New York Profiles for orchestra. For the Keystone WE, Jack Stamp.

Dello Joio's Obiturary from 2008 
When a major composer passes on, it sets off a series of concerts featuring his music as an homage to the composer. I hope this causes a bit of a resurgence in the in the programming of his works for wind band as directors and teacher are reminded of the wonderful literature he has left us.

1 comment:

Dr. Scott Watson said...

I enjoyed your reading your snapshot of Norman Dello Joio. Keep these coming!