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Jaromir Weinberger (1896-1967) was a Czech composer who emigrated to the United States and eventually became a US citizen.  His opera Schwanda the Bagpiper is his most famous contribution to the standard repertoire.  While the opera was wildly popular following its premiere in 1927, today it is all but forgotten, and its concert suite, Polka and Fugue from Schwanda the Bagpiper, is performed much more frequently than the opera itself.

As a side note, this opera has a fantastic German name: Schwanda der Dudelsackpfeifer.

Jaromir Weinberger on wikipedia.

Extensive article on Weinberger at the Orel Foundation, a group dedicated to uncovering neglected works of 20th century composers.

Description and plot synopsis of Schwanda the Bagpiper at boosey.com.

Link to the Naxos CD recording of the opera, as well as a thoughtful article about it and the composer.

Finally, some videos.  First, William D. Revelli and the University of Michigan Symphony Band from 1965:

Then a Cincinnati Pops version under Erich Kunzel.  Be aware that it’s slightly different in form from what we’re playing and is in a different key with one different modulation in the fugue as well.  And of course it’s for orchestra.

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  1. By Fall 2010 recap « Andy Pease's Wind Band Blog on 21 Nov 2010 at 8:43 pm

    […] Polka and Fugue from Schwanda the Bagpiper by Jaromir Weinberger […]

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