[Ben Phelps looks at a crane]

Works > For Large Ensemble > Circus Maximus

Circus Maximus

overture for orchestra

for Piccolo, 2 flts. (flt. 2 = picc.), 3 ob. (ob. 3 = eng. hrn.), 2 clr. in Bb (clr. 2 = clr. in A), bs. clr., 2 bsns., contrabsn., 4 hrns., 3 trpt., 3 tbn., tuba, pno., timp., 4 perc (also available arranged for 3 perc), strings.

2006. Performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä, conductor, 2010. 9 minutes.

If you want to hear the music, you need JavaScript enabled and to download Flash

Circus Maximus is a circus march for orchestra. It has very little to do with the Roman circus maximus. It is more simply a maximal representation of the circus. But maybe it is better understood as a maximal representation of an orchestral overture. I took the salient features of the successful overture- playfulness, a certain joie de vivre, a certain showcasing of the ensemble, a certain loudness- and carried them out to their logical extremes.

The piece has also been performed under the title Overture Maximus. Circus Maximus was always the original title. I changed it to Overture Maximus to avoid confusion with a piece by a more famous composer written at the same time. I no longer care.