Xerxes – adaptable

Adaptable/"flex" scoring, Wind Ensemble/5'/Difficulty - Medium/2021

adaptable version, 5-part (SAATB) plus at least one percussionist
arranged from the original version for concert band
arranged by Patrick Dunnigan

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Xerxes

US Coast Guard Band
conducted by Richard Wyman
(original version for concert band)

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“Xerxes” takes its name from Xerxes the Great, the King of Persia from 485 to 465 BC. The music, unexpectedly, is a concert march. Whereas most marches for concert band — at least the ones with which I’m familiar — are cheerful and in many cases patriotic (usually either American or British), I wanted to write a sort of anti-march: an angry, nasty march, that still follows the traditional structure one would expect from a military march.

Xerxes, as the music hopefully suggests, was one of your nastier rulers, even by ancient standards. (His claim to “fame” was invading and burning Athens to the ground.) Xerxes was assassinated by Artabanus, who in turn was murdered by Xerxes’ son, Artaxerxes I.

It was, to put it lightly, a violent time. What better subject matter for a march?