Finale Maestoso (from Academic Festival) (easy version)

Brahms/arr. Paul Jennings

We've always enjoyed Brahms' Academic Festival Overture, so it was fun to adapt the finale of this great work for your recorder players. Based on "Gaudeamus Igitur," an old Latin student song, this finale is the last of four continuous movements in what Brahms called a "musical thank you to the University of Breslau."

Actually, Brahms meant the piece to be a bit of clever humor, as he filled the work with favorite student drinking songs set in an "academic" way. But as it turned out, Brahms was such a craftsman that his settings turned those songs into a masterpiece that has lasted for more than a century as an orchestral favorite. (As a bit of trivia, can you think of a popular 20th century work based on similar songs? The answer is upside down at the bottom of page 66.)

While there was a bit of arranging done to make this workable for younger players, the accompaniment track uses much of the original Brahms setting in the original key. We provide two recorder parts: Recorder A requires more notes and more technical prowess, but is still quite playable; Recorder B is considerably simpler, using only the notes G, A, B, C, and D. Given the orchestration, this can be performed with either part or both together.

You may want to roll this into a larger lesson on Brahms as his 175th birthday is this May. To assist with that, we have published a student-friendly biography which you will find on our web site. There you will also find the reduced score for this piece. (See details following.) And if you would like to hear the full recording of the Academic Festival Overture, visit and their listing for the work.

Online extras - The free, downloadable extras mentioned can be found under the Graphics and Extras for Volume 18, No. 5 at

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.