Fanfare for the Third Planet

Richard L. Saucedo
MusicWorks, 2005


Fanfare for the Third Planet (2005) begins with a two measure percussion crescendo into a very syncopated and accented opening fanfare that continues through measure 11.  At 11, the flute and clarinet begin with the melody, answered in alternating measures by the trumpet. Underneath this call/response the low brass, low reeds, and saxophones play long, sustained chords.  On reaching18, the accompaniment changes to light eighth note figures.  The “B” section stays in the same meter and key, but exhibits a lighter motif where the woodwind voices seem to “chase” each other across the stage in a whimsical game of tag, culminating in a 3/4 section of mostly rhythmic unison eighth notes.  Measure 71 (with energy!) features strong brass chords to the powerful conclusion with the entire band in rhythmic unison.

Performance Notes

Fanfare for the Third Planet (2005) was commissioned in 2004 by the Keller Independent School District, Texas.  This performers should maintain the “joyous” tempo of QN=148-158 for the length of the composition.  Articulations should be crisp and clean, providing energy while not adding weight to this piece.  The middle section changes intensity only in that the instrumentation is reduced, but the style should be light and energetic throughout.

Musical Challenges

This is a great piece to open or close a program.  The driving tempo, energetic percussion, and syncopation help keep the piece exciting throughout its 91 measures. That said, this is also a piece with very few pitfalls for the unwary.  Instrument ranges a lie well within what would be expected of a Grade 3 ensemble.  The key never changes from Bb Major, while the meter only changes to 3/4 for a brief four measures.

Stylistically, the performers need to avoid the trap of playing everything loud and heavy.  Accents are provided to lend energy and drive to the piece, not to make it into a pep band tune!  Quarters and eighths should be played with separation unless written specifically otherwise.  There are several moments, like at 51, where different parts “chase” each other across the page.  Care should be taken to make sure the opposite voices match in intensity, note length, and timbre.

A minimum of seven percussionists are required to cover all parts printed in the score, but if fewer are available, some of the mallet parts can be eliminated while still covered on a different mallet implement.  Snare, bass, and timpani should be especially wary of dominating the texture and be careful to make sure they can always hear the wind parts.

Overall, Fanfare for the Third Planetis a light Grade 3, almost a Grade 2.  The complexity of percussion parts and advanced syncopation in the rhythms are the only elements I can see keeping this above the Grade 2 list.

About the Composer

Richard Saucedo is currently Director of Bands and Performing Arts Department Chairman at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana. Under his direction, Carmel bands have received numerous state and national honors. The Carmel High School Wind Symphony was invited to the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival in 1992 and 1999, and was named the Indiana State Champion concert band in 1999. The Carmel High School Marching Greyhounds, having been a consistent National finalist since 1995, was crowned the 2005 Bands of America Grand National Champion. Also in 2005, the Wind Symphony 1 was invited to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago. The Indiana Bandmasters Association named Mr. Saucedo Indiana's "Bandmaster of the Year" for 1998-99.
The band program at Carmel currently serves 350 instrumentalists in four concert bands, four jazz ensembles, a 200-member marching band, a 140-member pep band, a competitive and non-competitive winter color guard, a competitive winter drumline, three music theory classes, a jazz improvisation class, a music technology class and two percussion classes.

Mr. Saucedo is a freelance arranger and composer, having released numerous marching band arrangements, concert band works and choral compositions. He is currently on the writing staff for Hal Leonard Corporation.

Mr. Saucedo is constantly in demand as an adjudicator, clinician and guest conductor. He has served as Music Caption Head for the Drum Corps Midwest Judges Guild and as a brass and music judge for Drum Corps International. Mr. Saucedo is currently brass arranger and music ensemble consultant for the DCI World Champion Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps from Rosemont, Illinois. The Cavaliers performed a show of original music by Mr. Saucedo during the 2002 Drum Corps International Season.

Mr. Saucedo did his undergraduate work at Indiana University in Bloomington and finished his master’s degree at Butler University in Indianapolis.