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The Fisher Who Died in His Bed
NMPL106
for concert band
by John Herberman

This beautiful work derives its inspiration from the ballad about the demise of East Coast fisherman Jim Jones. Each of the four movements in this suite portrays a contrasting mood. Audiences will appreciate the way the piece weaves prominent solo clarinet work and strong inner voices together with the entire ensemble to create a haunting aural tapestry. The suite of four movements may also be played separately.

The composer first heard this haunting ballad on a tape by the East Coast group Figgy Duff, performed a cappella. After much searching, a complete text was found, with notation. The verses portray the life of Jim Jones, a noted fisherman, who, like all of us, had both ‘saintly’ and dark traits. It is the chronicling of a folk hero:

  Old Jim Jones the fisher, the trapper, the trawler,
  Jim Jones the fish killin’ banker is dead.
  No fisherman surely never stepped in a dory,
  Like Jim Jones the fisher who died in his bed.

The Fisher Who Died in His Bed has been recorded by the University of Toronto Wind Symphony on a CD entitled Wind Symphony (Arbordisc UTWS 9701).

Approximate Duration 12'30" (3'0" + 4'0" + 3'0" + 2'30")
Grade 4.5
Score and parts $88.00
Score only $19.00
Replacement parts $3.00

Composer’s Notes
Instrumentation

Composer’s Notes on The Fisher Who Died in His Bed
Each movement of this piece segues into the next, and the entire suite can be played in its entirety, without pause or interruption. However, the four movements may also be played individually. The instruments that introduce each movement are indicated with brackets in the score, inserted at the beginning of movements II, III, and IV to indicate the appropriate starting points. The instruments that donŐt play have corresponding instructions to remain silent.

Movement I – Jim Jones – The Fisher: This movement should be played quite freely. The opening statement of the melody should be quite plaintive, and the dynamic should not exceed a warm mezzo-forte.

Movement II – Lament: The opening fanfare is meant to be very crisp, and the eighth-note - sixteenth-rest - sixteenth-note figure in bar 2, etc. should not be ‘cheated’ into a triplet. At rehearsal A, the melody is more subdued, but still should be precise, in contrast to the more fluid answering phrases in the woodwinds and brass. The climax at bar 45 should be quite majestic.

Movement III – Celebration: This movement is meant to be a rollicking gigue, Newfoundland style. Dynamic contrasts, such as at bars 28 and 29 can be exaggerated to create a comic effect, but the should never be too boisterous. The movement should have a feeling of lightness, and should propel itself to the broad stretto beginning at rehearsal L.

Movement IV – Remembrance: The final statement of the theme is meant to be played with warmth and majesty, never funereally. The reprise of the gigue at rehearsal C recalls the humour of the previous movement. The final stroke of the chimes lays to rest Jim Jones – The Fisher Who Died In His Bed.

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Instrumentation for The Fisher Who Died in His Bed
The quantity of parts provided in complete set is shown in the right-hand column. Extra scores for competition purposes and additional individual instrument parts may be ordered separately.

Part
Qty.
full score
1
C Piccolo
1
Flute 1
4
Flute 2
4
Oboe 1
1
Oboe 2
1
E flat Clarinet
1
B flat Clarinet 1
3
B flat Clarinet 2
3
B flat Clarinet 3
3
E flat Alto Clarinet
1
B flat Bass Clarinet
1
Bassoon
2
E flat Alto Saxophone 1
2
E flat Alto Saxophone 2
2
B flat Tenor Saxophone
2
E flat Baritone Saxophone
1
B flat Trumpet 1
3
B flat Trumpet 2
3
B flat Trumpet 3
3
F French Horn 1
1
F French Horn 2
1
F French Horn 3
1
F French Horn 4
1
Trombone 1
2
Trombone 2
2
Trombone 3
2
Euphonium Treble Clef
2
Euphonium Bass Clef
2
Basses
4
Percussion 1 (Snare Drum, Bass Drum)
2
Percussion 2 (Crash Cymbals, Suspended Cymbal, Tambourine)
2
Mallet Percussion (Chimes, Bells, Xylophone)
2
Timpani
1

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