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Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966) was an Italian-American composer and teacher.  He wrote operas, songs, symphonies, and a handful of wind band works.  His Symphony no. 3 is one of the staple long-form works in the wind band repertoire.  For most of his career he taught in New York at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music.  He also taught at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute and founded the North Carolina School for the Arts.

According to the Oklahoma City University Program Notes Resource for Band Directors, Giannini had this to say about his Symphony No. 3:

The Symphony No. 3  was composed on a commission by the Duke University Band and its conductor, Paul Bryan, during the summer of 1958, in Rome Italy, where I was spending my vacation.  It is my second work for band; the first, Preludium and Allegro, was commissioned by Richard Franko Goldman.

I can give no other reason for choosing to write a Symphony to fulfill this commission than that I “felt like it,” and the thought of doing it interested me a great deal.

I will not go into the technical details of the work.  Basically, the listener is not concerned with them beyond what they can hear for themselves.  I follow no ‘isms’ when I compose; I try to project and communicate a feeling, a thought that is in me at the time, using whatever technique is suggested by my mood to achieve this communication.

The form of the movements is this:  first movement – sonata allegro; second movement – A B A; third movement – A B A B; fourth movement – sonata allegro.  There is no program – only what I heard and felt at the time.  I hope it makes music.

Vittorio Giannini on Wikipedia

Short bio on Giannini from Voices In the Wilderness by Walter Simmons, a book about neo-romantic American composers.

There is a CD of Giannini’s complete band works, available at Naxos, Amazon, and at emusic.  All the sites allow you to play short clips of the tracks, and Naxos MAY even allow folks on campus to listen to full tracks by logging in.  The customer reviews at Amazon have a good deal of information about the Symphony.  For some more information on Giannini himself, read the reviews of the CD on the Naxos site.

Further program notes on the Symphony from Kenyon University (scroll down to the last 2 paragraphs before “about the ensemble”).

The Eastman Wind Ensemble plays the entire symphony:

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  1. […] and the Eastman School of Music under such notable composers as Aaron Copland, David Diamond, and Vittorio Giannini.  He has published more than 50 compositions which have won him many awards, including the 1995 […]

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