Basic Information

Composed by William Himes
Published by Neil A. Kjos
Grade 2
Length: 4 minutes 40 seconds

Teaching Concepts

Time Signature: cut time, 4/4
Key Signature: F, Bb
Tempo: Half note = 92-104, 72, 84, 92-104, Quarter note = 96, Half note = 92-104, 84, 112+
Other Information: Barbarossa is a great overture for a director looking to work on student's ability to play in cut-time, as well as the student's ability to change style and tempo frequently. During this four minute piece, the tempo changes eight times and the style changes nearly as frequently. The styles included in this piece are marcato, legato, accented and staccato. For your percussionist, there is a chance to learn to change notes on the timpani during a piece of music.

Program Notes

By the summer of 1940, World War II was well underway. Much of Eurpoe was occupied by German troops, and resilient Great Britain was being battered by Germany at sea and from air. German dictator Adolf Hitler, along with his generals now began making plans to invade the Soviet Union. Germany's invasion plan was named Operation Barbarossa.

The German invasion on the morning of June 22, 1941 went largely unchallenged, because Russian commanders had orders not to provoke the Germans. Human casualties and equipment losses were high. Quickly, however, Russian opposition became much more determined and ferocious and on July 3, Joseph Stalin, dictator of the Soviet Union called upon all Russian citizens to fight fervently against the invasion. the people responded unselfishly.

Adolf Hitler craved the capture of Russia's capital, Moscow, but the autumn rains had begun to fall, and roads were turning to mud. By the end of October, rivers had flooded and muddy roads and fields were next to impassable. Cloudy conditions limited visibility and reduced the number of air attacks by German bombers. The weather, and reorganization of the Russian Air Force, helped to slow the German invasion to less than two miles per day. Yet it was teh spirit of the Russian people that continued to provide the strongest defense.

By November, the forces of winter began to prevail. Hitler, hoping for a Moscow victory by the end of the year, risked sending his troops through the winter elements to advance on the Russian capital. By the end of the month, the Germans surrounded Moscow 20 miles outside the city, but that was as close as they were able to get. The Germans lacked warm clothing and food. Their machine guns froze, and engines had to be kept running, wasting valuable fuel supplies. The attack was called off on December 5, 1941.

The next day, the Russians went on the offensive. Soldiers brought in from Siberia were well prepared for the harsh conditions. Weapons were winterized with low-temperature oil. Russian troops were equipped with white winter gear and thick boots, and could withstand -40 degree Fahrenheit temperatures for hours. They achieved great success against the Germans, who were exhausted by the severe weather conditions. By the end of December, the Russians had recaptured much of the territory lost in the previous months.

In Barbarossa, composer William Himes, recalls these historic events of World War II through the use of lush harmonies, energized melodies, and creative counterpoint. the composition opens in a declarative manner with the sounding of a bold motive which reappears throughout the work. The tempo should remain steady until a dramatic ritardando beginning at measure 35 leads into the expressive second section at measure 37. The legato melody at measure 37 should be performed in a cantabile fashion. At measure 51, the tempo change is slight, but enough to support a leggiero presentation of the material at measure 53. the abrupt change in tempo at measure 67 leads into a short development section.

At measure 89, the gradual ritardando should continue through measure 93 until the new theme begins at measure 94. Here, the cantabile style returns. The ritardando beginning at measure 118 should be slight, with the tempo again changing suddenly at measure 122. The ritardando beginning at measure 150 should lead to a brief sostenuto presentation of the material beginning at measure 151, with a gradual allargando effect beginning at measure 159. The Allegro at measure 169 should be brisk - faster than the Allegro at the beginning of the composition - and should bring the composition to a rousing conclusion.

The Barbarossa Percussion I part calls for three timpani. If only two are available, the percussionist should play all notes written on a top space G on the drum tuned to a middle line D.

Small School Considerations

For nearly all small bands, there should be no wind instrument problems. William Himes was very careful to cue the tenor sax, bass clarinet, bassoon and horn parts when they are exposed. Additionally, when the whole band is playing, anything played by these instruments is also played by a more common instrument (clarinet or trumpet). Additionally, he has included an optional electric bass part for those bands really lacking in bass instruments.


Flute 1, 2
Bb Clarinet 1, 2
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1, 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet/Cornet 1, 2
Horn 1, 2
Trombone 1, 2
Electric Bass (optional)
Percussion 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Percussion Requirements and Possible Substitutions

Suspended Cymbal
Snare Drum
Bass Drum

To perform every part as written will take 7 percussionists. The percussion III and percussion IV parts could be combed through to combine them into one part. The timpani part has a solo in the last four bars, but at crucial times in the rest of the piece it is cued in the bass drum part. The mallet part is generally playing with another instrument and could be eliminated without a great deal of harm to the piece if necessary.

Link to Available Recording

A recording of Barbarossa is available at Neil A. Kjos's website.
A copy of the score is also available at Neil A. Kjos.


Barbarossa at Neil A. Kjos
Score to Barbarossa