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[#39] April 20, 2020

1980 | Soprano and Wind Ensemble | Grade 6 | 15'-20' | Solo work, tone poem, contemporary

William Kraft

Dialogues and Entertainments by William Kraft is our Composition of the Week.

Composed in 1980, it was a commission of the University of Michigan Wind Ensemble “and respectfully dedicated to that superlative group and its excellent director, Mr. H. Robert Reynolds”. Its premiere took place on February 13, 1981.

Dialogues and Entertainments has a duration of about 20 minutes, and it is scored for Solo


Stringbass.Timpani.Percussion (6)

The work offers a stylistic collage very much in keeping with the composer’s concerns. Instrumental color is of paramount importance, and toward this end the composer has included parts for handbell choir and groups of antique cymbals bowed by performers stationed in the audience.

The last of the four movements calls for a soprano soloist, singing a text by the composer himself.

Dialogues and Entertainments is published by Theodor Presser Co.

William Kraft (Chicago, 1923) has had a long and active career as composer, conductor, percussionist, and teacher. In the summer of 2002, he retired as chairman of the composition department and holder of the Corwin Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara. From 1981-1985, Mr. Kraft was the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Composer-in-Residence. During his residency, he was founder and director of the orchestra’s performing arm for contemporary music, the Philharmonic New Music Group. Mr. Kraft had previously been a performing member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 26 years – eight years as percussionist, and the last 18 as Principal Timpanist. For three seasons, he was also assistant conductor of the Philharmonic, and, thereafter, made frequent appearances as guest conductor.


You can watch a portrait of William Kraft here:

Part I

Part II

You can see the Dialogues and Entertainments’ Score here:


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