Magic Circus Music


Magic Circus Music, for wind ensemble, was composed in the summer of 1994 especially for the Commissioning Cooperative. My idea for the piece was to evoke feelings and memories of acrobats, parades, clowns, trapeze artists and other icons of the big top. The piece is intended to be impressionistic rather than programmatic.

Harmonically speaking, quartal harmonies, synthetic scales (particularly the octatonic) and tonal fragments (often juxtaposed in bitonal or polytonal strands) are featured in all three movements. Rhythmically, the second movement is challenging because of the shifting meters.

This is my 12th piece for wind ensemble. I played clarinet in high school bands, and my first piece for band - written when I was in high school - used evocations of circus band music in it, so I guess I’ve come full circle. This is meant to be a fun piece to learn, perform and hear.

Selected Performances of Magic Circus Music

Premiere: November 19, 1994, The F&M Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Brian Norcross, Director, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA

1994, 12 performances by a consortium of 12 different high schools  

© John Carbon 2015