December 4, 2015 Concert
February 26, 2016 Concert
April 8, 2016 Concert
May 13, 2016 Concert
L'Harmonie La Croix Valmer
Come hear the arranger speak about how he brought this original work for wind band
by a French master composer back to life. Hail! California
will be performed at the concert following the lecture.
Peter Stanley Martin
The opera Samson and Delilah tells the Biblically-based
story of Israelite leader and hero Samson who has been betrayed by the seductive
Philistine beauty Delilah. He is blinded and then chained to the pillars of the
temple of Dagon as the Philistines celebrate their victory over his people. Bacchanale (found in Act III of the opera) begins softly,
reprising a "song to spring" heard in Act 1. The music then becomes fast-paced and
exotic to act as the musical accompaniment to the wild revelry taking place just
before Samson, calling upon the Lord for one last burst of strength, brings down
the mighty pillars and tumbles the temple roof, destroying his enemies and himself.
Program notes compiled by Beth Seavers.
Sousa prefaced the sheet music's score for this march with a quotation from the
English diplomat John Hookham Frere: "A sudden thought strikes me; let us swear
eternal friendship." Though Sousa does not indicate a particular nation the march
was composed for, it certainly represents the goodwill that the Sousa Band brought
with them on their world tours. Composed in the wake of the Spanish-American War,
this march is idealistic, in addition to patriotic, in nature. When it was premiered
in 1899 the audience insisted it be repeated three times.
Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.
This piece was written by Saint-Saëns for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco
in 1915. Originally scored for full orchestra, organ and supplemental wind band
of 60 members, the performance at the Exposition included a full orchestra (reportedly
the Boston Symphony Orchestra), an organ soloist, and the Sousa Band. It was a tribute
to Franco-American relations entering a critical phase as World War I unfolded.
The piece was important enough to have been mentioned in Saint-Saëns' obituary in
the New York Times but disappeared into virtual obscurity until now.
Arranger Peter Stanley Martin found the score at the Sibley Music Library at the
Eastman School of Music and carefully arranged the work for concert band in a Centennial
Performing Edition. This proud finale combines the melodies of
La Marseillaise (the national anthem of France) with the
Star Spangled Banner in a dramatic and triumphal finish to the grand
cantata that was performed 100 years ago in San Francisco and never again until
last season by the Ridgewood Concert Band.
Paprikash is a popular dish of Hungarian origin whose name is derived from the ample
use of paprika. It is a dish prepared by people in Jewish, Greek, Hungarian, Arabic,
and Russian cultures. Giroux utilized the dish’s name for the title of this piece
as it draws heavily on the Phrygian Dominant Scale, which is used in the music of
these cultures. Listeners will easily hear this “flavor” in the melodies, harmonies
and overall energy. This piece was composed for the Saitama Sakae Wind Orchestra
(Japan) and premiered by the ensemble in December 2014 at the Midwest Clinic, an
international band and orchestra conference in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1990, James Barnes (b. 1949) was commissioned to compose a work to help celebrate
the 250th Anniversary of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Realizing that Bethlehem was in
the very center of the many settlements of Moravian Baptists who founded the city,
Barnes searched for some sort of musical identity that would be appropriate for
this commission. He found it in an obscure but very beautiful Moravian hymn entitled
Morning Star, O Cheering Sight. Instead of composing
the normal "theme and variations" based on this hymn, Barnes opted to save the tune
in its entirety until the very end of the work, so it essentially became a variations
and theme. After a lengthy introduction featuring the percussion seection and three
extensive variants, the hymn tune is finally presented in its entirety by a trombone
choir. Barnes chose this instrumentation because the Moravians are most famous for
their wonderful trombone choirs accompanying the singing in their church services.
The full band then plays the hymn and the work ends in a Vivace tempo derived from
the music at the very beginning of the piece.
Finale, Symphony No. 3 – Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)
is generally referred to as the "Organ Symphony" and the last major effort by the
composer in symphonic form. The piece was dedicated to his friend and fellow composer
Franz Liszt upon his death. Although the symphony is still performed in the symphonic
world, the Finale is the most memorable movement and has been transcribed for wind
symphony. The sustained organ chord announcing the Finale is testimony to the grandeur
of the piece and the movement contains considerable artistic variety. It includes
a massive climax with a show of musical alliance between the winds and the organ.
The final sustained organ chord is reflected with the winds that will leave the
listener breathless in the dramatic conclusion.
Taps - Eternal Father – Daniel Butterfield (1831-1901) and
John B. Dykes (1823-1806) Arranged by Capt. Kenneth R. Force, USMS. 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 and women. 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. This reverent music is
an emotional ride.
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) is widely regarded as the leading Soviet composer.
Along with Serge Prokofiev and Aram Khachaturian, Shostakovich completes the "Big
Three" composers of the Soviet era. Alternately hailed and reviled by the ruling
communist party, Shostakovich consistently answered his critics with his music.
Festive Overture as transcribed by Donald Hunsberger,
is a bright, bravura work for band that requires a great deal of control from all
sections. Its challenging score seeks mature responses across the ensemble. The
piece contains one of Shostakovich’s greatest attributes and that is the ability
to write a long, sustained melodic line combined with a pulsating rhythmic drive.
In addition to the flowing melodic passages, there are also examples of staccato
rhythmic sections which set off the flowing lines and the variant fanfares. It is
truly a "festive" overture
Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.
Kenneth J. Alford (1881-1945) pseudonym of Major Fredrick Joseph Ricketts, was born
in London and by the time he was fourteen had lost both of his parents. Yearning
for a career in military music, he lied about his age to join the Royal Irish Regiment
in 1895 and remained in the Army until 1927 when he was commissioned into the Royal
Marines as a Director of Music. After a total of almost fifty years of service to
the Crown, he retired in 1944 in rather poor health and died in the following year.
During his long military career, he wrote 18 marches that were best described as
dignified and restrained "poetic" marches. He was as famous in England for his marches
as Sousa was in the United States with the most well known being the famous Colonel
Bogey March featured in the 1958 film The Bridge on the River Kwai.
The Eagle Squadron March was the last march Alford wrote in 1942 as a
tribute to the American Airmen who joined their efforts with the Royal Air Force
during World War II. Featured in this march are cleverly woven excerpts of The Star
Spangled Banner, Rule Britannia, and the Royal Air Force March.
From the first brassy notes of this overture it is clear that this music is about
destiny. It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that the opera itself is
reputedly cursed. The stories of strange happenings associated with productions
of La Forza del Destino began soon after the premiere
and continue to the present. While most tales involve mysterious power outages and
scenery accidents, the story of American baritone Leonard Warren is much more convincing.
In 1960, as the forty-eight-year-old baritone was about to sing his aria, he pitched
forward on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera and died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
While many singers have dismissed the curse and happily taken a role in the opera,
others such as the superstitious Luciano Pavarotti avoided it. This well known beloved
overture has become a staple of concert halls around the world, both in its original
instrumentation for orchestra as well as a number of transcriptions. It contains
all that the world loves about Verdi's operatic works, intense drama, driving rhythms,
and hauntingly beautiful melodies
Paul Mealor (b.1975) best describes this composition in his own words: "My Liturgy
(or ceremony) of Fire is an imaginary one. It is the concept of ceremony (or procession)
that particularly interests me, and the importance of fire and fire worship, particularly
in early cultures. Therefore, one can imagine this piece as music to accompany an
early ritual celebrating the immense power and unpredictability of fire. My work
begins dramatically and aggressively with the percussion section presenting the
main driving-force behind this imaginary ritual; however, the music slows down and
a calm elegy is presented. This offers solo passages for Tuba, Euphonium and Oboe,
before the energy of the opening returns and takes the listener, with blistering
ferocity, to the work's conclusion. Liturgy of Fire
was written for the NYU Wind Ensemble and received its first performance on December
6, 2006 under the baton of Dr. Christian Wilhjelm."
Paul Mealor (b.1975) was commissioned to write a hymn for the Glasgow Cathedral
service commemorating the centenary of the First World War. The lyrics of the hymn
speak of love and sacrifice. In this setting for band, the intensity of emotion
is no less without the text. There is great solemnity in the chordal texture and
their dramatic resolutions let the audience feel the composer's reverent intention.
This lovely sacred work delivers an aura of comfort for all listeners.
Teacher Katherine Bates wrote the original words to America,
the Beautiful in 1893 after a trip to 14,000-foot-high Pikes Peak. She
revised the now familiar words twice. More than 60 different musical settings have
been written for Bates's words, but this one by Samuel Augustus Ward is the most
popular. The arrangement is by Carmen Dragon, an Oscar- and Emmy-award-winning composer
and orchestrator known for his rich, lush arrangements that convey the emotion of
the music to audiences. His rendition of America the Beautiful is simply the very
best ever written: simple, direct, and perfect.
Victor Herbert (1859-1924) was an Irish-born American composer, cellist and conductor.
Although he enjoyed important careers as a cello soloist and conductor, he is best
known for composing many successful operettas that premiered on Broadway from the
1890s to WWI. In 1898 Herbert became the principal conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony,
a position he held until 1904. Under his leadership, the orchestra became a major
American ensemble and was favorably compared by music critics with ensembles like
the N.Y. Philharmonic and Boston Symphony. The orchestra toured several major cities
and notably premiered his Festival March for the twelfth
anniversary of Chicago's Auditorium Theater in 1901. The march contains the style
of Herbert and includes the familiar melody of Auld Lang Syne.
This instrumental work has remained within orchestral programming through the years.
The transcription for band presented this evening is the result of the capable hand
of our very own composer, arranger-in-residence, Richard Summers. By transcribing
this grand march for band, Mr. Summers is offering Victor Herbert's
Festival March to a future generation of musical performance and audience
Sousa marches often bear a dedication to people, places, or events. This march is
no exception and bears the dedication "To the officers and men of the U.S. Infantry."
When written in 1918, the subjects of the title, Bullets and
Bayonets, were a frightening reality to his soldiercountrymen then engaged
in the struggle raging on the western front in World War I. Frederick Fennell's
editing has preserved the scoring of the original, with its musical ideas, deceivingly
simple yet solid and immediately rewarding to the performer and listener. Sousa's
fondness for the sound of drum sticks "on the hoop" of wooden snare and field drums
is preserved within the trio.
Return To Top
Paul Hindemith collaborated with choreographer Leonid Massine on a ballet
utilizing music of Carl Maria von Weber. The project was eventually scrapped due
to artistic differences between the two men. Hindemith felt he was just being used
as an arranger, while Massine found the music too complex to set to dance. The musical
ideas were salvaged three years later, when Hindemith completed his Symphonic Metamorphosis
in 1943. The work was originally written for orchestra, but the composer believed
it should also be available for band. Hindemith asked his Yale colleague Keith Wilson
to create the transcription heard here, which was completed in 1961. The March is
the fourth and final movement of the composition and is based on a piano duet by
Weber. The two bar opening statement by the brass is heard in several forms throughout
the movement. The woodwinds underscore the sonorous melodies of the brass with a
driving rhythm and articulation that carries the movement to its finale.
John Philip Sousa is best known for his marches but always had a passion
for writing in the "legitimate" genre. The Bride-Elect operetta that he composed
in 1898 stood alone as the only operetta he solely wrote, including the libretto.
Although the work was charming and well-received, it was soon overshadowed by the
more popular Sousa operetta El Capitan. The Bride-Elect March concluded the second
act and was often used in Sousa's touring programs around the country. Typically,
as in many of Sousa's treatments of his operetta marches, it changes rhythm from
triple to duple meter at the midpoint for an interesting effect.
Meredith Willson was born and raised in Mason City, Iowa. He left for New York City
in 1920 where he studied at the Institute of Musical Art, now the Julliard School,
before he toured with the famous Sousa Band. In 1924 he became the first flutist
with the New York Philharmonic under Arturo Toscanini. After serving in the military
during World War II he returned to work in radio and television and started composing
as well. In his three capacities as composer, lyricist and librettist, Willson evoked
a small-town America that no longer existed in the mid-1950's but was still part
of the childhood memories of some Americans and in the fantasies of others. This
was particularly true of his musical The Music Man that featured brass bands and
barbershop harmonies. Lewis J. Buckley has made a wonderful band arrangement of
Willson's score that brings the audience back to a picture of America that still
lives in the hearts of us all.
In 169 B.C. the Romans founded Cordoba, Spain. After the fall of Rome, it existed
under the rule of the Visigoths and became the capital of Al Andalus, Muslim Spain,
in 716 A.D. When the Moors conquered Cordoba, they found a Visigoth cathedral, promptly
pulled it down and built a mosque complex, the wall of which enclosed about four
acres. Over the centuries, the Moors roofed over and developed more and more within
this complex. Muslim, Christian, and Jewish faiths alike were practiced within its
walls, an unprecedented feat that would be unheard of today. When the Christians
once again conquered Cordoba in 1236, the new rulers were so awed by its beauty
that they left it standing, building their cathedral in the midst of its rows of
arches and columns and thus it is preserved to the present day. Julie Giroux's La
Mezquita de Cordoba opens with the destruction of the original Christian church
in 716 A.D. and proceeds as a musical celebration of its multi-cultural, religious,
and artistic accomplishments. The music at times is calm and contemplative before
it soars to dizzying rhythmic heights taking the listener on a musical journey through
centuries of Spanish history.
Giuseppi Creatore enjoyed a fame which rivaled that
of his contemporary, John Philip Sousa, during the first two decades of the 1900's.
By combining showmanship with musicianship, he and his concert band performed to
huge and enthusiastic audiences in the United States, Canada, and England. Creatore
emigrated from his native Italy to the United States in 1899, playing trombone in
a touring Italian band and became an overnight celebrity when he filled in for the
conductor who had fallen ill. Within two years he established his own band, performed
at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City in 1901 from February through July and concluded
that season with a 5,000 mile tour that was received with rave reviews. Creatore
arranged numerous Italian operatic selections for band, most of which are still
in manuscript form. His original March Columbia is a classic style march that echoes
true Italian musical flair.
Upon meeting Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1868, Tchaikovsky renewed his keen sense
of musical nationalism. Inspired by the master composer, Tchaikovsky's compositional
style would forever capture the color and zest of Russian folk dance and music.
Dance of the Jesters is one of the more commonly performed works from the ballet
The Snow Maiden, often used as an encore in orchestral settings. Ray Cramer's transcription
is a highly energetic work with intermittent brass fanfares and rapid, technical
woodwind passages. The flurry, energetic drive, and playful melodies associated
with Tchaikovsky’s ballet scores are all heard in this rare and invigorating music.
Morten Lauridsen is an American composer of principally choral music. He is best
known for his six vocal cycles and his setting of O Magnum Mysterium. He is a three
time Grammy nominee and the recipient of numerous awards. O Magnum Mysterium has
received thousands of performances and at least one hundred professional recordings
since its 1994 premier, making it one of the most performed compositions of the
last twenty years in its original setting. The wind band arrangement by Robert Reynolds,
retired director of the University of Michigan Bands, can claim similar accolades
within wind band circles. This celebrated setting, through a quiet song, provides
a profound peace for the listener’s spirit.
Lewis J. Buckley served as Conductor and Music Director of the U.S. Coast
Guard Band in New London, Connecticut for 29 years, and now serves as Music Director
of the Metropolitan Wind Symphony. When auditions were held to choose Captain Buckley's
successor as Conductor of the Coast Guard Band, part of the conducting audition
was a sight-reading session. Since most of the candidates were members of the band,
it was virtually impossible to find anything in the band library that was unknown
to all of them. Thus Captain Buckley wrote a conducting exercise for the audition.
To provide a challenge he included conducting obstacles he had confronted over the
years, including mixed meter, tempo changes, instrumental cadenzas, and fermatas
in different places. Eventually Captain Buckley expanded the work into Con Sabor
Español that the band is performing tonight.
Frank Ticheli was commissioned to write this piece in memory of the mother
of his friend and mentor H. Robert Reynolds, who requested the composition not be
an elegy commemorating his mother’s death, but rather an energetic piece celebrating
her life. Therefore the piece is reflective of her character – vibrant, whimsical,
and succinct. The composition was premiered by the University of Michigan Symphony
Band on April 17, 1992 and has received numerous performances by college bands throughout
the United States. Mr. Ticheli, a University of Michigan graduate, is Assistant
Professor of Music at the University of Southern California and composer-in-residence
with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra.
Joseph Schwantner offers this ambitious musical work as his latest publication for
wind orchestra. Luminosity, an astronomical term for the total amount of energy
and brightness radiated by a celestial object, serves as the title and metaphor
for a palette of rich and vibrant instrumental colors explored here. Many of the
work's musical ideas are framed by and are associated with specific individual instrumental
groups each having their own unique and individual timbre and articulate identities.
In Movement I the percussion presents a series of forceful and propulsive figures
immediately followed by a second layer of rhythmically animated woodwind motives.
A third texture stated by muted trumpets and stopped horns complete the presentation
of the full ensemble framing this initial opening section. Movement II is a slow
movement for solo clarinet and ensemble. It engages the clarinet's wide ranging
voice from low whispered and darkly-hued phrases in the haunting chalumeau register
to intense and sweeping arch-like gestures in its brilliant upper range. Movement
III draws from a variety of diverse and distinct musical elements that appear earlier
in both Movements I and II. A kind of kaleidoscopic quality emerges as the stratified
and layered ensemble textures move toward a final forceful conclusion.
A galop is a lively, playful social dance, possibly of Hungarian origin, that was
popular as a ballroom dance in 19th century England and France. It bore similarities
to both the polka and the waltz and often served as the last dance in a ball. Its
spirited rhythm occurs in the third act of Ponchielli's opera
La Giaconda where guests are dancing at a lavish party. It is one of
the most parodied musical pieces in opera. Anyone who has seen Walt Disney’'s ostriches
and hippos performing to this music in Fantasia, or
who has heard Allan Sherman’s Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh
lyrics will probably be unable to listen to this music without remembering them.
Gregory Fritze is a prize-winning composer and Fulbright Scholar, as well as an
active performer, conductor and educator. He is Professor of Composition and Tuba
and Composition Chair Emeritus at the Berklee College of Music. He has written over
sixty compositions for various ensembles and has won over thirty composition awards
both nationally and internationally. His compositions have been performed extensively
throughout the world. He is recorded on several CD labels. Trombonico
subtitled Moods for Trombone and Concert Band is a concerto for trombone in 3 movements.
It was premiered on July 9, 2015 at the International Trombone Association Conference
in Valencia, Spain and composed for and performed by Scott Hartman. It was at Hartman's
request that the composer included a tribute in the second movement to some of the
great trombonists of the past, namely Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. The concerto
highlights the trombone's versatility and the soloist’s virtuosity.
Vincent Persichetti was a prolific American composer, educator, theorist, pianist
and conductor. During a career that spanned half a century, Mr. Persichetti wrote
nine symphonies, chamber compositions for many different combinations of instruments,
more than a dozen sonatas for piano and harpsichord, songs and choral works, an
opera and an enormous quantity of music for wind band. Persichetti's
Lincoln Address for Narrator and Band was commissioned for Richard Nixon's
second inauguration. He chose Lincoln's most famous second inaugural address for
his text. Apparently, the words of the greatest Republican President embarrassed
the Nixon administration, which at the time was embroiled in the Vietnam War. Persichetti
was told to excise certain passages. He agreed to some and refused others. Ten days
before the event, the Inaugural Committee withdrew the commission. A front-page
story in the New York Times raised the work's profile by highlighting the controversy
and orchestras around the country gave more performances of the score than would
have occurred had the Inaugural Committee not acted with such shortsightedness.
This highly popular selection is from the German romantic opera Lohengrin which
premiered in Germany in 1850. The occasion for the procession in the opera is the
imminent betrothal of heroine Elsa to Lohengrin, mystic Knight of the Holy Grail,
come to deliver the people of Brabant (Antwerp) from Hungarian invaders. In the
operatic presentation, a large double chorus adds its song of solemn praise to that
of the orchestra. In this transcription for band by Lucien Cailliet, the instrumental
solo voices of the original are paralleled and the choral voices are deftly absorbed
in the rich instrumental texture, recreating all the luxuriant Wagnerian color,
drama, pageantry, power and mysticism of the original.
John Philip Sousa was best known for composing one hundred sixteen patriotic marches
that glorified liberty and freedom. Among all these there is only one written to
honor a king: King Edward VII of England. The king had honored Sousa with the Royal
Victorian Medal for conducting a private birthday concert for Queen Alexandra in
1901. One year later the composer penned this march in appreciation to the king.
It is said Sousa did not feel this was one of his better works and did not program
it very often in his many appearances around the United States. Sousa may have been
too self-critical as the work offers us a different characterization of a composer
we know well. It is more reminiscent of a stately English march and lacks the American
flare that we more commonly associate with our beloved Sousa.
Purchase Tickets Now!
Symphonie Fantastique is a piece of program music which tells
the story of an artist gifted with a lively imagination who has poisoned himself
with opium in the depths of despair because of a hopeless love. In the fourth movement,
the dose of the narcotic, while too weak to cause his death, plunges the artist
into a heavy sleep accompanied by the strangest of visions. He dreams he has killed
his beloved, that he is condemned, led to the scaffold and is witnessing his own
execution. The procession advances to the sound of a march that is sometimes somber
and wild, and sometimes brilliant and solemn, in which a dull sound of heavy footsteps
follows without transition the loudest outbursts. At the end of the march, the audience
can envision the fall of the guillotine providing the fatal blow.
Gustav Holst played a major role in re-energizing English concert music by injecting
it with the spirit and, at times, the letter of the country’s folk music. He created
music in a more cosmopolitan style, such as his immensely popular original orchestral
suite The Planets. It took Holst more than two years
to complete The Planets, which is composed in seven
parts, each one for the seven planets. Jupiter, the Bringer of
Jollity is the fourth planet musically described. The exuberance of this
movement shows itself not only in its tempo and rhythm but also in the multiplicity
of subjects. Jupiter might well be designated as "the English movement" because
it shows how Holst was profoundly influenced by the folk music of his country. Certainly
this is rustic English composition, music for a fair with crowds of people in it
and infinite good spirits. The grand tune that ends the parade of themes has become
the setting for a patriotic hymn with the words “I vow to thee my country.”
More than anyone else, Sousa is responsible for bringing the United States Marine
Band to the level of excellence upheld today. As a composer, he wrote the best known
and most beloved marches in the repertoire and as the band’s director, he was an
innovator who shaped the future of the Marine Band. Shortly after the completion
of the Panama Canal in1914, the Sousa Band was invited to perform at the 1915 Panama-Pacific
Exposition, held in San Francisco. At the request of Walter Anthony, a reporter
for the San Francisco Call, Sousa composed "The Pathfinder of Panama" march to commemorate
the opening of the Panama Canal and dedicated it to the exposition as well. The
"Pathfinder" in the title of the march refers not to an individual, but to the Panama
Canal itself, an engineering marvel that shortened the ocean voyage between San
Francisco and New York by approximately 8,000 miles and continues to have an incalculable
impact on the shipping of goods and passengers worldwide.
There is little doubt of the impact of John William's music on the entertainment
world. His film music, including a more than 20-year collaboration with director
Steven Spielberg, has been an integral part of some of the film industry's finest
achievements. John William's unique talent and respected artistry have made these
film scores a significant and vital part of our American culture. Williams's score
to Star Wars recreates in a science fiction world the same musical effects of Wagnerian
music-dramas. The music for the Star Wars franchise has become so deeply engrained
in our minds that to hear but a few seconds, or even an opening chord, is to be
immediately transported into that world and its entire engaging narrative. This
collection of marches from several of the films was arranged here by Jerry Brubaker
and promises to take you to “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”
The Scottish folk song Loch Lomond dates back to the late 18th century and the defeat
of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden Moor in 1746. Loch Lomond tells
the story of two prisoners, one to soon be executed and the other to be set free.
Oh! ye’ll tak' the high road and
I’ll tak' the low road,
An’ I'll be in Scotland afore ye',
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond
It's said that the spirits of those that died in foreign lands will take the "low
road" home to Scotland to arrive well before their still living comrades who had
to make the long journey home on foot. Ticheli has tried to "preserve the folksong's
simple charm, while also suggesting a sense of hope and the resilience of the human
spirit." The final statement of the Scottish melody is artfully combined with the
well-known Irish folksong Danny Boy. Together they
reach an inspiring crescendo before fading out to the last strains of the song "On
the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond."
The Triumphal March is the centerpiece of Act II of
Verdi's acclaimed opera Aida. In Scene 2 the people
of Egypt welcome a victorious leader of the Egyptian Army Radames and his men. They
watch as Ethiopian captives are paraded before them. This sequence has traditionally
been the occasion for the most spectacular staging that any opera house can manage,
involving multiple choruses, on stage bands, a large ballet corps, and sometimes
trained horses (the premiere in Cairo in 1870 reportedly used elephants.) From the
opening trumpet fanfare the music grips the audience with its profound pomp and
pageantry. Many opera critics have noted this scene to be the most popular in all
of operatic literature and the Triumphal March its cornerstone.
Carl Maria von Weber was best known as a composer of opera and came to be known
as the founder of German romantic opera. As a gesture of friendship, he composed
a work for solo clarinet and was immediately confronted by Georg Brandt, a colleague
of the clarinetist, to write a solo for bassoon. The result was his first concerto
for Bassoon in F. Brandt so loved the work, he asked von Weber to do another and
Hungarian Fantasy was born. To get it done quickly
von Weber rewrote a viola work he had previously written for his brother Fritz.
This solo has become much more popular with bassoonists today and can be heard in
many auditions and performances. The rondo's rhythms emphasize the Hungarian flavor
of the music. Weber’s writing of the work fully exploits the facility of the bassoon,
its agility over a wide range of notes, tonal quality, and its lyrical as well as
comical elements. All of these factors give our young soloist an opportunity to
showcase his most capable flare and virtuosity.
Patrick J. Burns best describes this piece in his own words, "The work consists
of one large movement with three contiguous sections following a brief introduction:
Comodo – Lirico – Meccanico. The character of each section is quite different, one
from another, but so is the compositional style and harmonic vocabulary. Each movement
explores various traits of the clarinet's "personality," if you will – and affords
the soloist ample opportunity to be expressive in both highly technical and sweepingly
lyric passages throughout virtually the entire range of the instrument. The ensemble
itself maintains a very active role throughout, and is often on equal footing with
the soloist in terms of the evolution of the piece."