“A French Noël” is a setting of the tune accompanying the text “Il est né, le divin Enfant,” published in Airs des noêl lorrain (1862) and there called “Ancien air de chasse” (“Old hunting air”) due to its similarity to an old Normandy hunting tune.
Following a short introductory fanfare, the “A” section of the tune is presented by clarinets and saxophones, handing off to brass and upper woodwinds on the “B” section. A short transition from the repeat of the “A” section modulates from the opening key of Bb major to Eb major, with brass then taking up the tune. Throughout, contrasting instrument textures and simple-yet-creative harmonizations add interest to this delightful piece, easily playable by young and developing bands.
Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Bb Clarinet 1-2, Bass Clarinet, Eb Alto Sax, Bb Tenor Sax, Eb Baritone Sax, Bb Trumpet 1-2, F Horn, Trombone, Euphonium B.C./T.C., Tuba, Timpani, Bells, Snare Drum, Susp. Cymbal/Bass Drum
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Score, parts (8.5×11 pages, PDF) — $40.00