Spring Concert feat. Soloist Erik Steighner
May 20th, 2023
Commissioned by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, this dynamic work captures the spirit of military precision and valor, taking listeners on a thrilling musical journey. The piece opens with a bold and majestic fanfare played by the brass instruments, immediately grabbing the audience’s attention. The rhythmic drive and forward momentum set the stage for an exhilarating musical experience.
The main theme, introduced by the brass and then picked up by the woodwinds, evokes a sense of heroic determination and unwavering resolve. Barber’s mastery of counterpoint is evident as different sections of the orchestra intertwine, creating a rich tapestry of sound. The melodies soar above the rhythmic undercurrent, giving the piece a sense of grandeur and triumph. Throughout the march, Barber skillfully utilizes various orchestral colors and textures to maintain the listeners’ interest. The percussiCommissioned by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, this dynamic work captures the spirit of military precision and valor, taking listeners on a thrilling musical journey. The piece opens with a bold and majestic fanfare played by the brass instruments, immediately grabbing the audience’s attention. The rhythmic drive and forward momentum set the stage for an exhilarating musical experience.
The main theme, introduced by the brass and then picked up by the woodwinds, evokes a sense of heroic determination and unwavering resolve. Barber’s mastery of counterpoint is evident as different sections of the orchestra intertwine, creating a rich tapestry of sound. The melodies soar above the rhythmic undercurrent, giving the piece a sense of grandeur and triumph. Barber unfolds various orchestral colors and textures to maintain the listeners’ interest. The percussion section plays a crucial role, providing a powerful rhythmic foundation and adding excitement and intensity to the composition. Snare drums, bass drums, and cymbals punctuate the driving rhythms, while the woodwinds and strings provide contrasting moments of lyricism and reflection. The music builds to a dramatic climax, with the full force of the orchestra unleashing its power in a glorious finale. The final chords resonate with a sense of triumph and victory, leaving the audience exhilarated and inspired.
Whether performed in a military context or in a concert hall, Commando March serves as a stirring reminder of the sacrifices made by those who serve their country, as well as a celebration of the indomitable spirit of the human will. Samuel Barber’s Commando March stands as a timeless tribute to the heroism and bravery of those who defend and protect. One section plays a crucial role, providing a powerful rhythmic foundation and adding excitement and intensity to the composition. Snare drums, bass drums, and cymbals punctuate the driving rhythms, while the woodwinds and strings provide contrasting moments of lyricism and reflection. The music builds to a dramatic climax, with the full force of the orchestra unleashing its power in a glorious finale. The final chords resonate with a sense of triumph and victory, leaving the audience exhilarated and inspired.
Ride is a dynamic composition by Samuel Hazo, a highly regarded contemporary American composer and educator. Originally composed in 2003, Ride has become a staple in the repertoire of wind bands and has captivated audiences with its relentless energy and vibrant musicality.
The piece opens with a driving rhythmic motif in the percussion section, setting the stage for the exhilarating journey that is about to unfold. As the full ensemble enters, the main theme is introduced by the brass, characterized by its rhythmic intensity and powerful melodic lines. The woodwinds then take up the theme, adding a layer of agility and grace to the composition. Hazo skillfully weaves together contrasting musical elements, combining soaring melodies with intricate rhythmic patterns, creating a sense of constant motion and excitement.
Throughout the composition, the driving rhythm persists, creating a sense of forward momentum and propelling the music forward. As the piece progresses, the intensity builds to a climactic point, with the entire ensemble combining in a thrilling and powerful finale. The energy and excitement of the composition are palpable, leaving both performers and listeners breathless.
Chanteys is an evocative composition for concert band written by Robert Sheldon, a renowned American composer and educator. The piece was composed in 2012 and draws inspiration from the traditional sea shanties, or chanteys, sung by sailors during their arduous work on ships.
The composition consists of three distinct movements, each showcasing a different aspect of the sea shanty tradition. The first movement, titled “Drunken Sailor,” opens with a lively and energetic melody played by the woodwinds, reminiscent of the spirited and rowdy singing that would accompany the sailors’ work. As the movement progresses, the music alternates between moments of exuberant celebration and more introspective passages, representing the highs and lows of life at sea. The second movement, “Blow the Man Down,” takes a slower and more lyrical approach, featuring a haunting melody carried by the brass section. The rich harmonies and expressive phrasing in this movement convey a sense of longing and melancholy, capturing the bittersweet emotions experienced by sailors separated from their loved ones. The final movement, “Whalemen’s Song,” returns to a lively and rhythmic character, depicting the excitement and danger of hunting whales. The driving percussion and energetic melodies create a sense of urgency and adventure, while occasional shifts to quieter, more reflective passages offer moments of respite.
The piece showcases a wide range of emotions and musical colors, highlighting the resilience, camaraderie, and hardships experienced by sailors in their seafaring journeys. It provides a unique musical experience that pays tribute to the rich heritage of sea shanties while maintaining a fresh and contemporary sound.
Ballade for Solo Eb Alto Saxophone and Band
Ballade for Solo Eb Alto Saxophone and Band is a captivating and expressive composition by Alfred Reed, an esteemed American composer known for his masterful works for wind ensemble.
The Ballade unfolds as a musical conversation between the virtuosic solo Eb alto saxophone and the accompanying band. The soloist opens the piece with a lyrical and introspective melody, supported by gentle accompaniment from the ensemble. The solo line weaves its way through various emotions, at times contemplative and melancholic, and at other moments soaring with passionate intensity.
Throughout the composition, Reed demonstrates his exceptional command of orchestration and harmonic progression. The band provides a rich tapestry of textures, colors, and dynamic contrasts, enhancing the emotional impact of the soloist’s melodic lines. The ensemble often engages in a dialogue with the saxophone, complementing and responding to its phrases, creating a captivating interplay between solo and accompaniment. The soloist explores a wide range of technical and musical challenges, including rapid passages, expressive leaps, and soaring melodies. The band, in turn, showcases its versatility and ability to provide a sensitive and supportive backdrop for the soloist.
Ballade reaches its climax in a powerful and dramatic section where the soloist and the band engage in a passionate and virtuosic exchange. The energy and intensity build, leading to a resolute and majestic conclusion.
March to the Scaffold
March to the Scaffold is a gripping and dramatic movement from the larger work Symphonie Fantastique by the visionary French composer Hector Berlioz. Completed in 1830, March to the Scaffold serves as the fourth movement of this groundbreaking symphony. The symphony as a whole tells a semi-autobiographical tale of unrequited love, obsession, and despair. “March to the Scaffold” represents a crucial turning point in the narrative, where the protagonist, consumed by jealousy and delirium, dreams of his own execution.
The movement opens with a chilling and foreboding melody, setting the somber atmosphere. As the music unfolds, Berlioz skillfully builds tension through driving rhythms, bold brass fanfares, and menacing percussion. The relentless march-like rhythm propels the listener forward, creating a sense of impending doom. Throughout the piece, the music portrays a vivid depiction of the protagonist’s thoughts and emotions. The composer employs contrasting dynamics and orchestrations to convey the protagonist’s fluctuating mental state, moving from moments of resignation and introspection to bursts of frenzied agitation.
One of the most striking features of March to the Scaffold is Berlioz’s use of orchestral effects and vivid musical imagery. The listener can vividly imagine the heavy footsteps of the condemned, the tolling of bells, and the distant echoes of a macabre dance. The symphony’s narrative unfolds through the music, drawing the audience into the protagonist’s unsettling dream world. As the movement reaches its climax, the music surges to a powerful and tumultuous climax, symbolizing the protagonist’s final moments before the fall of the guillotine. The sudden silence that follows leaves the audience in a state of suspense and reflection.
March to the Scaffold is a tour de force of orchestral storytelling, displaying Berlioz’s innovative approach to composition and his ability to evoke powerful emotions through music. It stands as a testament to the composer’s unique vision and his mastery of orchestration, captivating audiences with its vivid depiction of a dark and haunting journey.
Diversion for Alto Saxophone and Concert Band opens with a spirited and rhythmic introduction, immediately grabbing the listener’s attention. The solo alto saxophone enters with a lively and agile theme, setting the stage for a dialogue between the soloist and the ensemble. Heiden’s writing for the solo instrument is virtuosic, exploiting the saxophone’s expressive capabilities and showcasing its agility and technical prowess.
As the composition unfolds, Heiden weaves a tapestry of contrasting moods and textures. The soloist navigates through lyrical and melodic passages, displaying the saxophone’s expressive and singing qualities. The band, in turn, provides a rich and varied backdrop, alternating between vibrant and energetic sections and moments of delicate accompaniment. Heiden’s skillful orchestration allows the band to complement and support the soloist, creating a harmonious musical conversation.
Diversion is characterized by its rhythmic vitality and dynamic contrasts. Heiden incorporates elements of jazz and contemporary idioms, infusing the work with a sense of freshness and excitement. Syncopated rhythms, intricate melodic lines, and unexpected harmonic shifts add layers of complexity and interest to the composition.
One of the notable features of Diversion is the balance between the soloist and the ensemble. Heiden ensures that the solo saxophone remains prominent throughout, showcasing its expressive range and technical brilliance. The interplay between the soloist and the band is seamless and engaging, with moments of call-and-response, virtuosic passages, and expressive dialogues. The composition builds towards a thrilling and energetic conclusion, with the soloist and the ensemble joining forces in a vibrant and exuberant finale.
Sinfonia – Arioso
Sinfonia – Arioso is an introspective composition by Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the most revered composers in Western classical music history. The piece is part of his larger body of works, displaying Bach’s remarkable ability to craft music of profound beauty and emotional depth.
The Sinfonia – Arioso is a movement from one of Bach’s cantatas, showcasing his mastery of polyphony and counterpoint. The composition opens with a serene and contemplative melody, presented by a small ensemble. As the piece unfolds, Bach weaves a tapestry of intertwining voices. The counterpoint between the voices creates a sense of depth and complexity, allowing the music to resonate with profound emotional impact.
The Sinfonia – Arioso embodies the essence of Bach’s music—graceful melodies, meticulous contrapuntal writing, and a profound sense of spirituality. The music unfolds with a sense of natural flow and balance, as Bach explores the depths of human emotions through his composition. The piece offers a glimpse into the profound beauty and transcendent qualities that define Bach’s music.
Rollo Takes A Walk
Rollo Takes A Walk takes its inspiration from the children’s book Rollo’s Experiments by Hermann Sudermann. The late David Maslanka explores the idea of Rollo, a mischievous young boy who embarks on a series of adventures, each filled with curiosity and discovery. The music captures the spirit of Rollo’s escapades and invites the listener to join him on his imaginative journey.
The piece begins with a whimsical and playful melody, introduced by the woodwinds. This light-hearted theme sets the stage for Rollo’s exploration, as the music gradually builds in energy and momentum. Maslanka’s use of harmonic color and orchestration creates a vibrant and engaging soundscape, allowing the listener to vividly imagine Rollo’s adventures unfolding.
As the composition progresses, Maslanka incorporates a series of contrasting sections, each representing a different scene in Rollo’s journey. The music seamlessly transitions between moments of tranquility and introspection to passages of rhythmic energy and excitement. Maslanka’s use of shifting textures, dynamic contrasts, and intricate rhythmic patterns keeps the listener engaged and captivated. One of the notable features of Rollo Takes A Walk to listen for is its emotional depth. Amidst the exuberance and playfulness, there are sections of serene beauty and contemplation. These moments serve as a reminder of the underlying themes of curiosity, exploration, and the joy of discovery.
The composition reaches its climax in a powerful and vibrant finale, with the entire ensemble coming together in a triumphant and energetic culmination of Rollo’s journey. The music radiates a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, capturing the spirit of adventure and the joy of new experiences.
Finale from Symphony in F Minor
The Finale from Peter Tchaikowsky’s Symphony in F Minor is a triumphant and emotionally charged masterpiece that showcases the composer’s profound musical genius. Completed in 1878, this symphony, often referred to as Tchaikovsky’s “Fate Symphony,” is a profound exploration of human emotions and struggles.
The Finale serves as the grand culmination of the symphony, bringing together the various musical themes and motifs introduced throughout the earlier movements. From the opening bars, Tchaikowsky establishes a sense of urgency and drama, captivating the listener’s attention through the frenetic 16th note running motif. The symphony’s driving energy and powerful melodies create a vivid and emotional musical narrative. As the movement unfolds, the music undergoes various transformations, moving from moments of turbulence and uncertainty to episodes of resolute determination. Tchaikovsky employs powerful climaxes and breathtaking flourishes, immersing the listener in a sea of sound that crescendos towards a magnificent conclusion.
The Finale is a tour de force that captures the human spirit and its capacity for both triumph and tragedy. The symphony’s final movement is a powerful reminder of the resilience and resilience of the human spirit. With its compelling melodies, rich harmonies, and orchestral brilliance, it continues to captivate and move audiences worldwide. It stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of one of the greatest composers in history, reminding us of the profound emotional power of symphonic music.