Music for Brass Instruments

I. Chorale Fantasy ('Christ Lay in the Bonds of Death')

II. Intermezzo

III. Fugue




Ingolf Dahl (1912-1970)

Composer Information

Ingolf Dahl was one of the many gems in America's musical crown that fled from Europe to this country during the 1930's and settled in greater Los Angeles. Becoming part of an extraordinary expatriate community that included Stravinsky, Milhaud, Krenek, Toch, and Schoenberg, among many others. Dahl was young and not established when he left, but found his niche in Southern California and spent most of his life teaching at the University of Southern California. Dahl had a wide and varied career; he was a great pianist in both jazz and classical idioms, a conductor, and taught musicology. His music seems a cross between Stravinsky and Hindemith.


Alfred Music





Ranking Position



Dahl: Concerto for Alto Saxophone, Music for Brass Instruments, The Tower of Saint Barbara, et al. by New World Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas, John Harle & New World Brass: Phoenix USA, 2010.

Defining Dahl - The Music Of Ingolf Dahl by Michael Tilson Thomas & New World Symphony: Decca Music Group Limitted, 1995.

Classic American Brass by American Brass Quintet, Charles Whittenberg, Elliott Carter, Ingolf Dahl & Robert Sanders: Summit Records, 2001.

Canadian Brass in Paris by Canadian Brass: Opening Day Entertainment Group Inc., 1974.

Arnold, M. / Ewald / Bozza / Maurer / Dahl / Calvert Works For Brass Ensemble by Center City Brass Quintet: Chandos, 2002.

Types of Instruments/Mutes

For 2 trumpets, horn in F, 2 trombones, (Tuba ad. lib). All instruments need mutes.


Final Considerations

In Music for Brass Instruments Dahl manages to use serial techniques without compromising the more tonal geared ears, which is just one of the many interesting aspects of this work. The first movement is a chorale fantasy based on Bach's Christ Lag in Todesbanden, one of his more famous chorale settings. The Intermezzo is, again, Dahl in an exuberant mood that changes gears completely; it sounds as if Stravinsky had fused his music with Copland's. The Fugue is the hardest movement to keep together, even more difficult than the first movement. In addition to the old chorale, musical material of the piece includes transcriptions of the telephone numbers of Universal Studies and composer Gail Kubik, Dahl's friend and the composer of the score for the Gerald McBoing, Boing cartoons.


Rhythmically and harmonically complex, this piece is, at times, powerful, reverent, and sometimes quite light. This delightful quintet is a masterpiece of the literature offering fresh sounds using the brass medium. If you are looking for a sophisticated feature piece for your quintet recital, this is it.