An Improbable Journey (2008) SZM052

For Concert Band

Difficulty Level: Medium

Duration: 6:30

Publisher: Suburban Zombie Music


  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Clarinet in Bb I & II
  • Bass Clarinet in Bb
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Bassoon
  • Trumpet in Bb I & II
  • French Horn in F
  • Trombone I & II
  • Euphonium (BC)
  • Euphonium (TC)
  • Tuba
  • Timpani, Chimes, Ship's Bell (optional)
  • Percussion 1 - Snare Drum
  • Percussion 2 - Bass Drum, Ocean Drum
  • Percussion 3 - Suspended Cymbal, Crash Cymbal, Vibraphone
  • Percussion 4 - Triangle, Ocean Drum
  • Percussion 5 - Tambourine, Anvil, Orchestra Bells, Rainstick

This piece was commissioned by Tommy Ferlazzo and the Mariner Middle School Band as part of a campus wide reading project involving the novel "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle" by Avi. Since the piece was to be a musical companion to the book, there are several sections in the composition written to mirror the action in the novel.

The opening section introduces the maim theme of the piece and sets the tone with the use of "sounds of the sea." To accomplish this, the performers rely on the use of specialized percussion instruments including wind chimes, ocean drums and a ship's bell. This section of the music was also constructed in a way that has a natural flow to it, very similar to the motion of the waves.

"Just One of the Crew" is the chosen title for the second segment of the piece and represents Charlotte's time serving as part of the crew. You might expect to hear sounds of normal work on an ocean crossing vessel. You can also hear the ocean waves "crashing" against the hull of the ship at one point.

"The Night Sky" is a view of the heavens from the deck of the ship. Unobstructed by buildings, trees or obscured by the lights of civilization, the stars must have illuminated the sky from horizon to horizon. It is a peaceful calm in the midst of hard work and treachery.

"The Storm Approaches" is exactly what it sounds like. The serenity of the waves is replaced with the building fury of the approaching storm. The pressure mounts until finally the storm attacks with the total of its strength brought to bear on the vessel, before fading away.

"The Journey Home" is the triumphant conclusion of an improbably journey! Weeks of grueling labor, challenging conditions and danger at every turn is conquered as the ship pulls into port. While Charlotte is grateful to have completed her quest, she longs for the adventure found on the seas!

Full Score    $15.00   

Full Set    $75.00