Basic Information

Composed by Larry Daehn
Published by Daehn Publications
Grade 2
Length: 5 minutes

Teaching Concepts

Time Signature: 4/4
Key Signature: Bb, Eb, C
Tempo: Quarter note = 68 - 74
Other Information: As Summer Was Just Beginning offers bands an opportunity to work on long phrases, intonation, balance and key changes. The key change to the key of C will offer quite a challenge to bands unaccustomed to playing in it.

Program Notes

I liken him to a kind of star, or a comet that fell through the sky, and everybody talks about it yet today. - Julie Harris

He seems to capture that moment of youth ... where we're all desperately seeking to find ourselves. - Dennis Hopper

He is not our hero because he was perfect, but because he prefectly represented the damanged but beautiful soul of our time. - Andy Warhol

James Byron Dean (1931 - 1955) experienced the brightest and briefest movie career ever. In 16 months he made three movies: East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. Only the first had been released when he was killed in a car accident at age 24. His death on September 30, 1955, sparked an unparalleled outpouring of sorrow. For three years after his death, Warner Brothers received more letters to him than to any living actor.
And the James Dean phenomenon has never really ended. Thousands still come to the little town of Fairmount, Indiana, to see the farm where he grew up and to visit his grave there. His familiar image appears worldwide on posters and T-shirts. He has been the subject of many books, songs, TV documentaries, plays, movies, and hundreds of magazine articles. Forty years after his death, James Dean is still a hero to his own generation and to succeeding generations who keep his legend alive.

People were robbed of him. Whenever you're robbed of something, it lingers with you. - Martin Landau

A bronze bust of James Dean by artist Kenneth Kendall stands near Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, California. There is a Greek inscription on the right shoulder which, when translated reads, "As Summer Was Just Beginning." This sentiment, from a painting by John La Farge, is a Greek epitaph concerning the death of a young person. I chose it as the title for this piece.
I loosely based the main melody (heard at the beginning and at measures 33 and 57) on an old British Isles folksong, "The Winter it is past, and the Summer's here at last." I chose it because Dean's Quaker heritage goes back to England, Ireland and Scotland, and because this simple bittersweet song about summer seemed appropriate for remembering James Dean.

Small School Considerations

Larry Daehn is a master of writing pieces that will work well with almost any band, large or small, and As Summer Was Just Beginning is no exception. In the opening of the work the melody is shared by the clarinets, alto saxophones and horns, but for those bands lacking in any of these areas, the melody is cued in the first trumpet part. At measure 17 the clarinets have an ostinato line which is cued in the alto saxes if this part is not strong enough when played by the clarinets alone. The bass line is nearly always played by the tuba, baritone saxophone, bassoon and bass clarinet.

A band lacking in both a baritone and a tenor sax will want to look closely at measures 24, 37 and 63. In these measures there are figures that are only played by those two instruments.

In measure 49 there is a horn solo which is also written in the alto saxophone part.


Flute (and Piccolo)
Eb Clarinet
Bb Clarinet 1, 2, 3
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1, 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Cornet 1, 2, 3
Horn 1, 2, 3, 4
Trombone 1, 2, 3

Percussion Requirements and Possible Substitutions

Suspended Cymbal
Vibraphone ad lib

Three people will be needed to cover these percussion parts, four if you have a vibraphone to play. While there are musical challenges, there should not be much in the way of instrument requirement problems.

Link to Available Recording

A recording of As Summer Was Just Beginning is available at Stanton's Music Library.


As Summer Was Just Beginning at Stanton's Music Library
Score to As Summer Was Just Beginning