John Barnes Chance – Variations On A Korean Folk Song (arr. for 2 pianos) with sheet music
John Barnes Chance
John Barnes Chance (1932-1972) was born in Beaumont, Texas on November 20, 1932. He studied composition at the University of Texas at Austin with Clifton Williams.
He worked as a timpanist for the Austin Symphony Orchestra and as an arranger for military bands. Chance had a small group of friends that included Patricia Weaver, Linda Riley and P.L. Smith. Barnes Chance married Patricia and Smith married Linda. Eventually both marriages failed. Chance married Linda, stepfather to the two children she had had from her previous marriage. He never had children of his own.
During his military service between 1958 and 1959 he was in the Korean capital Seoul with the military band of the US Eighth Army. Fascinated by a folk melody, he composes “Variations on a Korean Folk Song” for band.
His works include “Incantation and Dance” composed in 1960, “Introduction and Capriccio” from 1966 for piano and wind instruments, and “Blue Lake Overture” composed in 1971.
From 1966 Chance taught at the University of Kentucky, reaching the chair of theory and composition in 1971, which he held until his unfortunate death. His main works are for symphonic band, using a conservative style.
The “Symphony No. 2 for wind and percussion” was completed in 1972. It is based on an earlier work, the “Symphony for Winds” written while he was living in Greensboro in 1962.
While he was in Lexington, the Northwest Music Center of North Dakota asked him for a work for band Chance added a slow section and a coda to his previous work completing his previous parts. He unfortunately he couldn’t live long enough to hear his interpretation.
This is a monothematic work based on a four-note motif that seems to announce the tragic end of the composer himself, On August 16, 1972, he was at his home in Lexington cleaning a shop he had in his garden when one of his metallic sticks touched a misplaced 200-volt wire from an electrified fence he had to confine his dogs.
Barnes Chance was an electronics hobbyist and had built that fence. His contact with the wet ground produced an electric shock, which electrocuted him, dying shortly after at Central Baptist Hospital of cardiac arrest. He left his wife Linda and his two sons, a widow.
John Barnes Chance is considered an extremely important figure in the world of wind ensembles. After being selected as one of 12 winners of the Ford Young Composers Project in 1960, Chance was able to work with the Greensboro, North Carolina School District under the direct supervision of ABA member Herbert Hazelman.
In Greensboro, Chance was able to understand the limitations of high school students and was later able to compose for them. One of his first major wind ensemble compositions, Incantation and Dance, was composed and performed during his residency with Greensboro (now Grimsley) Senior High School.
Due to Chance’s obligations to work with the entire district, he had to write music for many different grade levels. Chance wrote thoughtful and involved music for the percussion sections, which is something most songwriters wouldn’t do at the time. Due to his contributions to the writing of more involved percussion music, more composers began to follow in his footsteps.
One of the reasons Chance made such an impression on the students he mentored, directed, and composed was his ability to take an interest in what the students wanted to learn.
After his tenure in Greensboro, Chance discovered that his earlier thoughts about just being a songwriter had changed and that he was interested in becoming a music educator.
Symphony No. 1, orchestra (1956) Overture to a Fairy Tale, orchestra (1957) Credo, trumpet and piano (1959) Incantation and Dance, concert band (premiered 11/16/1960; originally titled Nocturne and Dance) Fiesta!, orchestra (premiered 12/7/1961); transcribed for concert band by Herbert Hazelman (premiered 5/15/1975) Satiric Suite, string orchestra (premiered 3/23/1961) Blessed are They that Mourn, from Biblical text, chorus, horn, strings, and percussion (premiered 12/8/1960) The Noiseless, Patient Spider, text from Walt Whitman, female choir and flutes (1961) Alleluia, mixed chorus and concert band (premiered 3/1/1962) 3 Songs, text e. e. cummings, soprano, flute, and piano (1962) Ballad and March, on American traditional texts, mixed chorus and concert band (premiered 4/19/1961) Introduction and Capriccio, wind ensemble with piano (premiered 3/23/1961) Variations on a Korean Folk Song, concert band (premiered 3/11/1966); transcribed for orchestra by Robert Longfield (2006) Kyrie and Alleluia, chorus and orchestra (1967) Blue Lake Overture, concert band (1971) Elegy, concert band (1972), transcribed for orchestra by D. Wilson Ochoa (1997) Symphony No. 2, wind ensemble (1972) - (Allegro Energico movement premiered 11/15/1961) Burletta, a chromatic piece Overture to a Musical Comedy, concert band (premiered 5/23/1962) (published 1997 with slight title change: Overture for a Musical Comedy) WGOOM March, concert band (premiered 1/12/1961) (incorporated into Overture To A Musical Comedy 1962) Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, (written in Greensboro) Concerto for Trumpet and Band, (written and premiered in 1972 as a joint commission between Doc Severinsen and Charles Forque)
Carol Owens Awards in Composition (1957)
American Bandmasters Association’s Ostwald Award (1966)
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