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Program Notes

Five Concord Diversions

Concord Band commsision, for Brass Quintet and Band (1987)

James Curnow, composer

Five Concord Diversions was the Band’s first commission by James Curnow. We had played so much of Curnow’s music that he seemed an obvious choice to receive a commission. In this case I wanted a piece for brass quintet and band. It seemed a natural yet no literature existed for this combination. Curnow was taken by the idea and a monumental piece was the result of his labors. The composition is divided in five movements of unusual interest. The first and last movements are for full band and quintet. The second movement features the brass with woodwind accompaniment, the third is percussion and brass, and the fourth is for brass quintet and the brass section of the band. It is a prodigious work, no mean feat for the band to play, and a virtuoso piece for the brass quintet. Five Concord Diversions gets many performances from professional, college, and service bands. The Concord Band is most known among musicians for its commissions of Satiric Dances and Five Concord Diversions.


Five Concord Diversions, composed by James Curnow, is a five-movement suite for brass quintet with symphonic winds and percussion. The work was commissioned by the Concord Band in commemoration of William Toland’s twenty-fifth year as Music Director of the Band. The premier performance was held in Sentry Center Auditorium in Concord on March 7, 1987 with the composer conducting the Concord Band and the Back Bay Brass Quintet. The first and last movements feature brass quintet and full band. The beautiful second movement is scored for the quintet and woodwinds. The percussion section joins the quintet in the third movement, and the fourth movement is scored for brass quintet and brass section. This work has been performed extensively throughout the United States and was recorded by the US Army Field Band.


One of the Concord Band’s many commissions, Five Concord Diversions was written in 1987 in commemoration of William Toland’s 25th year as Music Director of the Concord Band. Curnow chose to score the brass quintet with homogeneous and heterogeneous groupings of the band. The outer movements of this work feature brass quintet and the tutti ensemble, while the inner three movements feature the brass quintet paired with woodwinds, percussion, and brass respectively.

[The March 3, 2012] performance comes 25 years, almost to the day, after the premiére performance, held in the Sentry Center Auditorium in Concord on March 7, 1987, with the composer conducting the Concord Band and the Back Bay Brass Quintet. The composer’s inscription found on the inside cover of the manuscript score reads “For the outstanding preparation of, the commissioning of, and the support of ‘Five Concord Diversions’ Thank you, this has been an excellent weekend. Congratulations on 25 years you have a fine organization. Best wishes, Jim.”



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