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William Schuman

Publisher: AMP

Circus Overture (Sideshow) (1944)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
7 Minutes
Alternate Orchestration

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Score Score

Programme Note
William Schuman Circus Overture (Sideshow) (1944)
William Schuman’s Circus Overture was commissioned by Billy Rose for his review, The Seven Lively Arts. Maurice Abravanel conducted the premiere of the “show version” of this piece on November 24, 1944 in the Forest Theater, Philadelphia. The first concert performance of the score (in its “symphonic version”) took place on Deember 15, 1944 at a concert of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, with Fritz Reiner conducting. The work’s original title was Side Show for Orchestra

Composer Note:

The opening is a grandiose orchestral version of “Ladies and Gentlemen”—this is the barker attracting attention to his side show. It will be observed that this theme is heard often during the piece, in the manner of a rondo. This is carnival music and the materials have been developed with this in mind. I have tried to compose, in this instance, music that would be sufficiently virtuosic to go over with an average theater audience, and, at the same time, have enough purely musical interest to make it a serviceable repertoire piece for our symphony orchestras.

—William Schuman

Related works:
   Circus Overture (Sideshow) for Band
   Circus Overture (Sideshow) for Orchestra

  • Ensemble
    Seattle Symphony
    Gerard Schwarz
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