program notes by composition > H > The Hounds of Spring

The Hounds of Spring

Alfred Reed

The Hounds of Spring is a concert overture for winds, written in 1980. The composer was inspired by the poem Atalanta in Calydon by Victorian-era English poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, a recreation in modern English verse of an ancient Greek tragedy. A popular extract from that poem begins, "When the hounds of spring are on winter's traces." It was Reed's desire to capture the dual elements of the poem - high-spirited youthful jauntiness and the innocence of tender love. The piece was commissioned by, and dedicated to, the John L. Forster Secondary School Concert Band of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Arranger Alfred Reed (1921-2005) was born in New York City. Acquainted with symphonic and operatic repertoire from an early age, he played trumpet professionally in the Catskills while still in high school. During WWII he was a member of the 529th Army Air Corps Band where he produced over 100 compositions and arrangements. He studied at Juilliard and became a staff composer and arranger with NBC, then ABC. He later conducted the Baylor Symphony Orchestra, worked as a music editor, and taught at the University of Miami for 27 years. He composed over 500 works for band, wind ensemble, orchestra, chorus and various chamber ensembles.

Last updated on March 6, 2020 by Palatine Concert Band