for jazz orchestra and percussion

Composition Date: 1973
Revision Date: 2014
Duration: 00:12:00
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Concert Band / Large Wind Ensembles


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 5 x Saxophone
  • 1 x Horn
  • 4 x Trumpet
  • 4 x Trombone
  • 1 x Drum
  • 5 x Percussion
  • 2 x Guitar
  • 1 x Organ
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Band
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Programme Note:
5,3,4 was composed in 1973 on a suggestion from Tony Mergel, conductor and founder of the Humber College Studio One Jazz Orchestra (Etobicoke, Ontario). At the time I was also heavily involved with experimental music, twelve-tone theory, and the percussion ensemble. Roger Flock, director of percussion at Humber, liked the idea of incorporating a percussion ensemble within the conventional jazz orchestra framework. Thus, 5,3,4 became a work for jazz orchestra with augmented percussion. I had also vividly recalled a performance in Buffalo, New York, of Alexander Mosolov's ground-breaking work, The Iron Foundry, with its impressive parts for heavy percussion. Consequently I employed multiple bass drums and a steel I-beam girder in the percussion section. The title refers to the work's division into three movements (played without pause): a slow introductory movement (5 minutes), a fast middle movement (3 minutes) and a still faster finale (4 minutes). The middle movement features three solos which can be spontaneously improvised or planned out according to a grid which is provided in that player's part. The three movements total twelve minutes in duration and thus, reflect my preoccupation at the time with serialism and group theory. The piece is essentially an abstract, atonal jazz work with various structures and durations, controlled by mathematical permutations and combinations of the number 12. 5,3,4 uses the same tone row as Andromeda, which is in a way a companion piece, at least originally. However, both works are miles apart structurally and emotionally. The five-note motive which introduces the finale here is quoted in augmentation at the climax of 5,3,4 and the final climax in Andromeda (and by extension, Symphony No. 3, Andromeda). To encourage more performances I made substantial revisions and changes during 2013-2014. The French horn part, not really part of a standard jazz band was removed and incorporated into the remaining instruments. The organ of the original has been modified into a piano part. Longer sustained organ lines, particularly the two long cluster build-ups in the final section were the hardest to retrofit, but I did this by adding a rhythmic pattern often one from another part in the texture. The guitar part was somewhat simplified and for that I wish to thank guitarist Adam Cord of Akron, Ohio, for his assistance. Finally, and most challenging was the reduction of the original drum set and six percussionists to drum set and four percussionists. Percussion colors had to be rebalanced, instruments reassigned and some eliminated. Thus, the percussion and piano will be the most notable sonority changes from the original. The wind and brass parts are very much the same. The grids for the three solos have been simplified. The bass has some new material. There have also been some changes and clarification to passages marked “straight” or “swing” and a little more finesse with dynamic markings. All changes I hope are for the betterment of the work as a whole. Performance Notes: 1. Saxophones and trumpets are transposed in the full score. Guitar and bass sound one octave lower. 2. Upright bass is preferred and if needed, only slight amplification. If used, amps should be inaudible during quiet passages. 3. The piano may be acoustic or electric. 4. The three solos in the middle section may be freely improvised to suit the overall style. 5. The dotted 8th-16th rhythmic figures from m. 166 to the end are to be performed as two swing 8ths. 6. The vamp from m. 208 to at least m. 229 should be held back in volume to allow the upper brass to clearly stand out.

Premiere Information:
Premiere: Mar. 24, 1974; Lecture Theatre, Humber College, Etobicoke, Ontario: Humber College Studio One Jazz Orchestra; Tony Mergel, cond.


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1800 H824fi
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Concert Band / Large Wind Ensembles
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • March 25, 1989
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (58 p.) ;
    58 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
    Parts page count: 78
    18 parts ([78] p.) ;
    Height: 32 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • For jazz orchestra and 5 percussion.
    Ms. (photocopy); originals of score and parts in CMC Toronto.
    Duration: ca. 12:00
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5,3,4 for jazz orchestra and percussion by Michael S. Horwood (Score)
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5,3,4 for jazz orchestra and percussion by Michael S. Horwood (Score and Parts)
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