Savannah River Holiday Overture
by Ron Nelson

Ron Nelson (born 1929) is a native of Joliet, Illinois. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1952, the Master’s degree in 1953, and the Doctor of Music Arts degree in 1956 from the Eastman School of Music. He studied in France the Ecole Normale de Musique and, in 1955, at the Paris Conservatory under a Fulbright Grant. Dr. Nelson joined the Brown University faculty the following year as an Assistant Professor, attaining the rank of Associate Professor in 1960 and Full Professor in 1968. He served as Chairman of the Department of Music from 1963-1973, and in 1991 he was awarded the Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts, becoming the first musician to hold the chair.

Year of Publication: 1957

Publisher: Fischer

Grade: 6

Type of composition: Overture

Programming Suggestions: Originally composed as an orchestral overture, Savannah River Holiday Overture, received its premiere over NBC Radio on March 16, 1953, and subsequently its first public performance at the Fournder’s Day Concert of the 23rd American Music Festival in Rochester NY. Several years later, the work was recorded for Mercury Records by Howard Hanson and the Eastman Symphony Orchestra. Two contrasting moods are alternating throughout the piece: 1. gay and reckless and 2. quiet and relative. First performance of the transcription was commissioned by the New Rochelle High School Wind Ensemble for their performance at the 1973 MENC convention.

Solo instruments: Piccolo, Clarinet, Trumpet

Anecdotal notes: Numerous meter and time changes. Tenor clef in bassoon. Oddly notated rhythms. Extreme range on dynamics will require great control by players. Glockenspiel, gong, piano/celesta have important parts. Repeated passages may be difficult for players to follow. Some heimola sections. Mallet players must play two notes in one hand on rapid passages.

Discography: Ron NELSON: Savannah River Holiday Boston Pops Orchestra /Keith Lockhart RCA 68786 CD

Recording of "Savannah River Holiday Overture"