Prolific composer and New Jersey native Timothy Broege (b. 1947) has seen his music performed around the world by ensembles of all levels, from elementary bands to top professional groups.  His series of 21 Sinfonias for bands and other ensembles has opened the symphonic genre to players of all ages.  He has also composed series of Songs Without Words for small ensembles and Fantasias for solo instruments.  Beyond his band music, he has also written for orchestra, recorders, guitar, voices, and keyboards.  In addition to composing, he is an organist and an active solo performer on early keyboard instruments.

Burlesco for Band is a short, festive send-up of a traditional march.  Its score contains the following notes:

Burlesco for Band was composed during the spring of 2002 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ocean Grove Summer Band in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. The work was revised in 2005.  The music is dedicated to the band and its founding director, Mr. Harry Eichhorn.  The first performance was played in the Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove on August 21st, 2002.

Burlesco for Band has its stylistic roots in both ragtime and polka idioms.  A bright march tempo should serve the music well.  The Ocean Grove Summer Band performs each Wednesday evening during the summer at an open-sided pavilion on the boardwalk.  Sounds of the wind and surf often accompany the band’s playing, and Burlesco has something in it of the “outdoor music” tradition.

Find Burlesco at J. W. Pepper (includes a recording) and Broege’s website (tragically down at the moment of publication).  Learn more about Broege himself at Hal Leonard.

The Portland Community Wind Band performs Burlesco:

The recording at Pepper (above) is also worth a listen.

The title uses the Spanish word burlesco to imply wit and humor, which this piece successfully conveys.  There is no element of the racy burlesque dance in here, rather a circus-like treatment of traditional march ideas.