Medium: Concert Band/ Wind Ensemble

Phoenix, is a bird from Greek mythology that dies in a show of flames and combustion, then obtains new life by arising from it’s ashes. Thus the piece follows this programmatic form. The first movement shows the death and the beginning of coming back to life, but it is slow and there is a question whether a full completion of rebirth will happen. In the second movement the Phoenix contemplates whether it will ever get back to the playful aspects of life again. The playful motif from Richard Strauss is used in this movement. The third movement is a dance by the bird as he sees that completion of rebirth is close at hand. Phoenix was composed expressly for French Horn soloist Radovan Vlatkovic and the CIM La Armonica Band of Buñol (Valencia), Spain conducted by Pepe Tello. It was premiered on July 12, 2019 at Auditorio de San Luis in Buñol as part of the WASBE (World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles) International Conference 2019 in Buñol. Along with the usual instrumentation of horn solo and concert band, an option of Balcony Horn Choir may be added for special effect. In the last minute of the piece (measure 192 of the 3rd movement) a separate horn choir can play the horn parts instead of or along with the horn players in the band. For the premiere performance in Buñol, Radovan Vlatkovic was teaching a masterclass to thirty horn students the same week of the concert. The added horn choir was a dramatic effect that made the concert special. Instrumentation is: Piccolo, 2 Flutes 2 Oboes, English Horn, 2 Bassoons, Eb Clarinet (Optional), 3 Clarinets, Bass Clarinet, 2 Alto Saxophones, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, 3 Trumpets, 4 Horns, Balcony Horn Choir (Optional), 2 Trombones, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Timpani, Cello (Optional). Double Bass (Optional) Solo Horn, Harp, Piano, Percussion (6 players – snare drum, bass drum, triangle, suspended cymbal, crash cymbals, spring drum, wood block, tam tam, anvil, castinets, tenor drums (4), claves, bongos (2), wind chimes, shaker, orchestra bells, vibraphone, xylophone)


12-Jul-19 by La Armonica - Buñol (Valencia), Spain, Radovan Vlatkovic, Soloist

Commissioned by

Maxi Santos


American Prize in Composition 2021 Honorable Mention Band Division