Divertimento, op. 9
Winner of the 1975 ASBDA/Volkwein Composition Award
1976/Revised edition 2021 – grade 5 – 4:55
This was my very first piece for band, written in 1971 when I was a junior in high school. Three years later, my university composition teacher, Clifton Williams suggested I submit this and another piece (my only two full band pieces at the time) for the Volkwein Composition Contest. In December of that year I received a call from Walter Volkwein informing me that Divertimento had won the competition, and my other submission, Maqamat had come in 2nd place. The award would be presented in December of the following year and I was sworn to secrecy about it. It saddens me now to know I never was able to tell Dr. Williams as he died before the announcement was made.
The prize was $1000, publication by Volkwein Bros. Press, and a performance of the piece by the United States Army Band at the American School Band Directors Association National Conference in Columbus, Ohio in December of 1975, my first year as a high school band and orchestra director.
Although out of print, I retained a copy of the score and parts. Being FIFTY YEARS since I wrote the piece, and as I was doing a COVID/lockdown reorganization of my library, I found it and noticed the published version had a number of wrong notes and several scoring issues such as undoubled and un-cued solos for Eb soprano, alto and contrabass clarinet and some notation problems that would make it practically unprogrammable. With 50 additional years of experience, and 17 years as an editor, I decided to give the original a bit of assistance and edit the piece with an eye toward common sense. Although tempted, I decided not to change any of the musical ideas, and embrace the "me" of 1971. I had named the piece "Divertimento" to reflect the "light and entertaining" nature of what I hoped the composition would be, and after these many years, I think the title does still seem to fit the piece. While still quite challenging to play, it is now, hopefully, at least "playable" should anyone have an interest. And serves as a foundational entity in this collection of my works on this website.