Brian Belanger

Tuskegee Airmen Suite

InstrumentationFULL ORCHESTRA: PICC., 2 FL., 2 OB., 1 ENG. HN., 2 CL. 1 BS. CL., 2 BN. 4 HNS. 3 TRPS., 3 TBS., 1 TB. TIMP., PERC., CELESTA, XYL., VIB., HP., STRINGS
Length30 mins.
CommentsPatriotic. Thematic. Strong programmatic style. Rousing finale. Though suitable for Black History Month, 4th of July, and Memorial Day concerts, it does not contain "military music" per se and is therefore suitable for any occasion.

The music tells the dramatic story of one man's journey from childhood and his yearnings to fly, carrying through to his experiences as a pilot in the Red Tails. In Part IV, a scherzo depicts a dogfight in the skies over Europe.

Before the finale music begins, a lonely trumpet pays homage to the men lost in battle. When Erich Kunzel conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, he placed the soloist in a box above the stage (with a stand, a light, and an extra copy of the part score). The score leaves ample time for the 2nd trumpet to return to his/her seat before the finale begins.

The four parts are: I. Dreaming of Flying, II. Fighting Adversity, III. First Flight (a Tuskegee Airman) and, IV. Dogfight & Finale.

Program notes are included.
SourcesYou may examine an 8 1/2 X 11 conductor's score, or listen to a CD of excerpts; MP3s of the excerpts are also available. An attractive promotional packet is also available that contains the program notes and a brief history of the Tuskegee Airmen.

For further information go to:
HistoryThe score was commissioned by the Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra, and premiered by the same under the baton of Felix Resnick. It has been performed the by Detroit Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel, and the International Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jerome David Summers.
ContributorBrian Belanger, composer (ASCAP)

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