Born in the Bronx, William Schuman (1910-1992) dropped out of business school to pursue composition after hearing the New York Philharmonic for the first time. He became a central figure in New York’s cultural institutions, leaving his presidency of the Juilliard School to become the first director of Lincoln Center in 1962. All the while he was active as a composer. He received the inaugural Pulitzer Prize for music in 1943. He shared a fondness for wind music with his Juilliard contemporaries Vincent Persichetti and Peter Mennin, from which came many classic works for wind band.
Newsreel in Five Shots was Schuman’s first band piece, written in 1942 and dedicated to the Pennsylvania Forensic and Music League. It is in five movements, each of which captures a moment from an imagined newsreel, an informative short that would play before the feature at movie theatres of the day. Here it is, one movement at a time, in live performance by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Wind Ensemble:
Note that at m. 46 in movement I, the score calls for (essentially) double time, with a return to the original pulse at 53, but this performance charges ahead in 4/4.
Finally, a real 1940s newsreel for your viewing pleasure: