Basic Information

Composed by James Curnow
Published by MusicWorks/Hal Leonard
Grade 3
Length: 5 minutes 49 seconds

Teaching Concepts

Time Signature: I. 4/4, II. 4/4, III. 4/4
Key Signature: I. Bb, II. Eb, III. Eb
Tempo: I. Quarter note = 96, II. Quarter note = 80 - 84, III. Quarter note = 120 - 132
Other Information:
First movement 'Intrada": This movement provides an opportunity to work with students on marcato style. Additionally, there are many opportunities to help students work both triplet rhythms and dotted eighth/sixteenth note rhythms. These two rhythms are both a part of the melody, and are a useful tool to help students hear the difference between them, and to perform each rhythm accurately.

Second movement 'Intermezzo': The second movement gives students an opportunity to work on playing a slow, legato ballad. The work has a wide range of dynamics, and provides many chances to work with the students on intonation within a piece. Finally, there are a few short solo (or soli) opportunities, providing a chance to develop player's confidence and ability to solo.

Third movement 'Finale': This movement is quick moving and requires that students play lightly while accenting notes for it to work properly. There is also a legato section in the middle providing style contrast. The final measures of the piece will give directors a chance to work with the upper woodwinds on stagger breathing.

Program Notes

Nathan Hale (1755 - 1776) was an American patriot of the Revolutionary War. He was hanged by the British as an American spy when he was only 21 years old. His conduct and courage have made him one of American's best-remembered heroes.

This triptych (three movements) represents three important places or events in Nathan Hale's life:

I. Intrada - In July, 1775, he receives a lieutenant's commission from the Connecticut assemble, and fought in the siege of Boston.

II. Intermezzo - HALESITE - a monument that marks the place of his capture and death. Before he was hanged he made a speech, concluding with the words which have since inspired Americans, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

III. The Rangers - a small fighting group, of which he was a member, that were respected for their fighting qualities and their daring leadership in dangerous missions.

Though designed as a three movement suite, each movement may be performed separately (or two movements) if time does not permit the inclusion of all three movements.

Commissioned by and dedicated to the students of The Nathan Hale Middle School Concert Band, Theodora Sotiropulos - Conductor, and premiered on May 10th, 1990.

(Notes taken from the score)

Small School Considerations

Overall, the scoring of this piece tends to work very well for a small band. Depending on the instrumentation of the ensemble, Nathan Hale Trilogy will tend to make a band sound bigger than it really is. Specific problem areas for each movement are indicated below:

I. Intrada - Throughout this movement, the low voices (bassoon, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone and tuba) are in unison. You will need three trumpet players to assure that all of chord tones are being played in the melody. Finally, if you do not have a horn player, you will need two alto saxophones to cover all of the chord tones.

II. Intermezzo - The second measure of this movement will require either a tenor saxophone or horn to assure that every note is covered. The alto saxophone does add into this line on beat three, and you might want to consider having some alto players add the note from the horn/tenor sax line that is missing.
In measure 31 a horn solo is written, and cued in the baritone. If you do not have a baritone or horn player, the tenor sax or trombone will be able to cover this.
In measure 42 the tenor sax, clarinet and horn 2 have the melody. This should be find without a horn, but if it is being playing by only the clarinets, consider adding a trombone to this line. The part will go high for a trombone, but if you have the right player it will give them a good challenge.

III. Finale - The third movement opens with the alto, horn and tenor sax making the first statement of the melody. If you are without both horn and tenor sax, add a trombone to this line to get a lower voice sound. This line appears again at measure 42.

In measure 26 the bass clarinet and baritone saxophone are playing a whole note bass line. Without this part, the legato section sounds hollow, so write the whole notes out for the trombones (who are resting). Additionally, the bassoon, baritone, and tuba are playing a more rhythmic bass line which could be written for trombones if you are missing these bass voices, but have the others.


Bb Clarinet 1, 2, 3
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1, 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet 1, 2, 3
Horn 1, 2
Trombone 1, 2
Tuba (String Bass)
Percussion 1, 2
Mallet Percussion

Percussion Requirements and Possible Substitutions

Snare Drum
Tenor Drum (or Field Drum)
Crash Cymbals
Suspended Cymbal

I. Intrada: 6 players will be required to cover everything. The tenor drum and snare drum are in unison, so if necessary you could just have one player on snare drum instead of both covered. (Consider tuning the drum a little lower to get the right sound.) Throughout the movement, the Xylophone reinforces the upper woodwind part. With a few important exceptions, the timpani part reinforces the bass line.

II. Intermezzo: 5 players will be needed to cover every part in this movement. There are long stretches in this music without movement in some of the parts and you might be able to combine some of percussion one and two into one part which requires fewer players.

III. Finale: 6 players will be required to cover every part, but you might be able to alter the percussion 2 part to bring that number down to 5. Like the first movement, the mallets are always reinforcing the upper woodwind part. Unlike the first movement, the timpani part is often different from the bass line and will be missed if not performed.

Link to Available Recording and Score

A recording of Nathan Hale Trilogy is available a
A sample of the score is also available at


Score to Nathan Hale Trilogy
Nathan Hale Trilogy at
Nathan Hale Trilogy at