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Serenade in D minor, Op. 44 - Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
In May 1879, Johannes Brahms wrote to his friend, the renowned violinist Joseph Joachim: "Take a look at Dvorak's Serenade for Wind Instruments; I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do...It would be difficult to discover a finer, more refreshing impression of really abundant and charming creative talent. Have it played to you; I feel sure the players will enjoy doing it!" Brahms only omitted one fine detail in his critique, and that is the audience will equally enjoy listening to this enchanting work.
National Emblem March - Edwin Eugene Bagley
Edwin Eugene Bagley (1857-1922) was a somewhat obscure New England composer of patriotic tunes; much of his work remains unheralded even today. However, famed composer Frederick Fennell has said of Bagley's famous march National Emblem that "It is as perfect as a march can be". This march has often been mistakenly attributed to Sousa, in that it has all the hallmarks of a top Sousa hit. Written in 1906, National Emblem remains second perhaps only to Sousa's Stars & Stripes Forever as America's favorite patriotic march.
Transformed Spring - Patrick Burns
Notes by the composer.
Transformed Spring was commissioned by the Montclair State University Wind Symphony, directed by Dr. Thomas McCauley, for its 2009-2010 concert season. This piece is essentially an expression of the endurance of the human spirit through adversity and personal trial. It was inspired by my research into a memorial commission which I based on a line from The Prayer of Saint Benedict, "Always we begin again". The human soul is on a path of constant renewal and regeneration which is reflected in Transformed Spring's lyric and dramatic metamorphosis from E minor to E major. There are many personal elements of my own life in this piece, most especially my walks in solitude on the beach at night as a younger man. These meditative and reflective times live in my memory today and I recall them frequently. The trombone portamenti, which become more and more prominent as the piece evolves, are a sort of sigh from the past which inevitably leads us over the horizon to our future. I admit that it's extremely difficult to put into words what this piece means to me but I am hopeful that the music will communicate what I really mean. It is a highly personal piece which is meant to be taken personally by everyone who hears it.
William Byrd Suite - Gordon Jacob (1895 – 1984)
Gordon Jacob, a native of London, ranks as one of the foremost contributors to the repertoire of original works for large wind ensembles. He composed this Suite in 1923 as his contribution to the tercentenary of William Byrd's death; Byrd (1539 - 1623) was the foremost composer of the Elizabethan age and among the three or four English composers since the Renaissance who have stood as equals with their continental contemporaries. The Suite is Jacob's setting of six Byrd pieces that he felt were appropriate to the tonal framework of the British military band and at the same time portray the harmonic charm and rhythmic vitality that characterized the English madrigal and keyboard style of Byrd's time. The concluding movement opens with a simple two-note rising figure that persists throughout, while a set of variations built on the sounds of bells unfolds and rises above it
The Gladiator - John Philip Sousa (1854 - 1932)
This march became Sousa's first real hit and he knew it, for it is a fabulously swinging march that has everything. He was to borrow from it for the rest of his life. A few of its very attractive resources include an introduction and first strain in the minor mode, great use of the reeds throughout, a judicious piccolo concept in the trio, a break strain in the minor, and a rousing finale with all the melody brass in unisons or octaves--and no stinger (final chord). With this notable work, Sousa took his first definitive step to becoming the "March King".
The Invincible Eagle - John Philip Sousa (1854 - 1932)
Sousa composed this march for his band's performance at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY, in 1901. Soon after its premiere, Sousa described the conviction and spirit, which compelled him to compose this march, noting, "It is what I call one of my sunshine marches. Some of my heavy marches are intended to convey the impression of the stir and strife of warfare, but The Invincible Eagle shows the military spirit at its lightest and brightest - the parade spirit . . . with the bravery of uniform, the sheen of silken stands, and the gleam of polished steel."
Transcendent Journey - Rossano Galante (1967-)
Rossano Galante studied with film composer Jerry Goldsmith and composed or orchestrated on several movie soundtracks. Tonight's work was originally commissioned and premiered by the Hofstra University Symphonic Band in 2008. Written in a grand "film score" style, this magnificent work opens with a dynamic fanfare featuring soaring brass and woodwind flourishes. Descriptive and evocative with every phrase, including a beautiful slow lyric section, you will be transported on a thrilling musical adventure with this impressive overture!
Polka and Fugue from Schwanda the Bagpiper - Jaromir Weinberger
In Czech composer, Jaromir Weinberger's (1896-1967) 1927 opera, Svanda the Bagpiper, the audience is treated to a story of mischief, magic, royalty, accidental infidelity, and devilish trickery. Even though Milos Kares originally authored the libretto in Czech, Svanda opened in Prague performed with a German translation. As the public enjoyed the folk references and musical material, the opera was translated into 17 languages. Although Svanda is a now seldom-performed opera, the Polka and Fugue is a well-known and oft-performed excerpt from the opera.
Taps Eternal Father - Gen. Daniel Butterfield & John B. Dykes arr. Capt. Kenneth R. Force U.S.M.S.
The familiar melody of Taps is credited to Union General Daniel Butterfield during the Civil War. The melody was made the official Army bugle call after the war, but was not given the name "Taps" until 1874. The first time Taps was played at a military funeral may have been in Virginia, soon after Butterfield composed it. This has become a tradition that continues at military funerals in the present day. Eternal Father Strong to Save is known to United States Navy men and women as the Navy Hymn. It is a musical benediction that has had a long and special appeal to seafaring men. This arrangement of these two moving melodies places a lone bugler away from the band. The two echo each other back and forth, finally fading away into the night, just as Taps does each evening at sundown.
Semper Fidelis - John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1868 as an apprentice in the Marine Band. He was the conductor of this group from 1880 to 1892, where he built his reputation as a bandmaster of great precision. In 1888, he wrote a march titled after the motto of the Corps, "always faithful," and dedicated it to the officers and men of the Corps. In Sousa's own words: "I wrote Semper Fidelis one night while in tears, after my comrades of the Marine Corps had sung their famous hymn at Quantico." Musically, Sousa considered this his best march, and it became one of his most popular. According to Sousa, Semper Fidelis is one of the five most effective street marches. On December 11, 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed into law federal bill S. 860. The text of this law reads: "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representative of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the composition by John Philip Sousa entitled The Stars and Stripes Forever is hereby designated as the national march of The United States of America." And so this march officially took its place in our national heritage and ultimately became world renowned.