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maecenas music - wind bands and ensembles

Serenade in Afor Woodwind and Saxophones

Johannes Brahms arranged Derek Smith (after Op.16)

For Brahms, the serenade was a light hearted response to the Serenades of Mozart and Haydn, and works such as the Beethoven Septet and the Schubert Octet which exploited the development of symphonic structure and thought. He imagined them as loose limbed entertainment rather than a titanic struggle with symphonic form.

From the standpoint of orchestration, Op.16 was something of a 'practice' work. He dispensed with the Violins and scored the work for standard orchestral Woodwind including Contra Bassoon (to which this arrangement stays faithful), he then added a pair of Horns and strings consisting of Violas, Cellos and Basses, all making for a rich and warm sonority which is perfectly represented in this transcription by an extra Clarinet and a quartet of Saxophones. 

There are five movements each exploring typical Brahmsian characteristics including extended first and slow movements, an exciting Scherzo, a lilting 'Quasi Menuetto' and a boisterous Rondo Finale. 

Derek Smith's most appealing and beautiful transcription is scored for: 3 Flutes (3rd doubling Piccolo), 2 Oboes, 3 Clarinet in A and Bb, 2 Bassoons and Contra Bassoon. Alto Saxophone, 2 Tenor Saxophones and Baritone Saxophone, thirteen instruments in all.

Grade: AB 7  US 5

Duration: c: 35 minutes (movements may be played separately.)


Set and Score

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Score preview


Serenade in A Brahms arr. Smith

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