Birthday Treat

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Birthday Treat

A year or so ago Timothy Reynish wrote to me and several other composer friends to ask if we would be interested in writing some Grade 3 and 4 pieces to celebrate his impending 60th birthday. I quickly learned a few home truths about available instrumentation in school and youth bands and, granted that, as a theatre musician, I have acquired a practical attitude to such problems, I was quite pleased to finally produce a score without cues, that makes sense even if piccolo, E flat clarinet, E flat alto clarinet, baritone saxophone and horns 3 and 4 are unavailable.

As Tim had asked me to write something for his birthday, I assumed he wanted a piece that was both celebratory and personal, as well as being (hopefully) a useful addition to the repertory. On the day I got down to work in earnest, Sonny (as in Sonny and Cher) died – younger readers ask your mums and dads (or grandparents!) – and snatches of his greatest hit, “I got you babe”, were repeatedly played on radio news bulletins. The catchy rhythm of those four syllables subliminally suggested the words “Happy Birthday” to me, and a theme which had possibilities of development and variation came into my head.

I found to my delight that, with a bit of fiddling, the celebrated horn theme from Richard Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel fitted my tune as a counterpoint, which was very appropriate, as I first met Tim in the horn section of the National Youth Orchestra, and, later, played with him at Cambridge and professionally in Sadler’s Wells Opera.

Guy Woolfenden

Birthday Treat


Guy Woolfenden


3 minutes


USA Band Grade 3.5

Date of publication


First performance

Autumn 1998
Northamptonshire County Youth Concert Band
Conducted by the composer


Timothy Reynish


Dinmore DRD 272 world-wide-woolfenden
Birmingham Symphonic Winds conducted by Timothy Reynish

  • 979-0-57009-113-3 [Complete set]
  • 979-0-57009-114-0 [Full score]
No. of Pages



Wind Orchestra

Full instrumentation
Full Score [1] TIMPANI
Piccolo [1] 3 Pedal Drums
Flute I [3]
Flute 2 [3] PERCUSSION 1
Oboe 1 [1] Glockenspiel
Oboe 2 [1] Xylophone
Eb Clarinet [1]
Bb Clarinet 1 [3] PERCUSSION 2
Bb Clarinet 2 [3] Side Drum
Bb Clarinet 3 [3] Triangle
Eb Alto Clarinet [2]
Bb Bass Clarinet [2] PERCUSSION 3
Bassoon 1 [1] Bass Drum
Bassoon 2 [1]
Eb Alto Saxophone 1 [1] PERCUSSION 4
Eb Alto Saxophone 2 [1] Suspended Cymbal
Bb Tenor Saxophone [1]
Eb Baritone Saxophone [1] Alternative transpositions supplied:
Bb Trumpet 1 [2] Eb Horn 1 [1]
Bb Trumpet 2 [2] Eb Horn 2 [1]
Bb Trumpet 3 [2] Eb Horn 3 [1]
F Horn 1 [1] Eb Horn 4 [1]
F Horn 2 [1] Bb Trombone 1 TC [1]
F Horn 3 [1] Bb Trombone 2 TC [1]
F Horn 4 [1] Bb Trombone 3 TC [1]
Trombone 1 [1] Bb Tuba TC [1]
Trombone 2 [1] Bb Euphonium TC [1]
Trombone 3 [1] Bb Trombone 1 BC [1]
Euphonium [1] Bb Trombone 2 BC [1]
Tuba [4] Bb Trombone 3 BC [1]
String Bass [1] Eb Tuba TC [1]
Timpani [1] Eb Tuba BC [1]
Percussion 1 [1] Bb Tuba BC [1]
Percussion 2 [1] Bb Euphonium BC [1]
Percussion 3 [1]
Percussion 4 [1]

Press & Public Reviews

Birthday Treat is light music scored very cleverly for the middle school band, with quirky rhythms and the odd harmonic or rhythmic twist and plenty to retain the interest of players and audience.

Winds Magazine

Birthday Treat is fresh and lively, bowling along at a great pace.

Winds Magazine

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Birthday Treat: a Grade 3 piece for Concert Band by Guy Woolfenden
Source: Winds Magazine Autumn 1998

Birthday Treat: a Grade 3 piece for Concert Band by Guy Woolfenden