Sunday, March 22, 2009

Modern Adventures with the new North Coast Wind Ensemble

The North Coast Wind Ensemble continues its inaugural season on Sunday, March 22 at Fulkerson Recital Hall with an ambitious and adventurous program that includes a tribute to Paris, Variations on America, some Gregorian chant and a little ragtime. And of course, a march.

But even the march—a standard part of the program for a large wind ensemble—is a little unusual, since it was authored by modern American composer, Samuel Barber. “Barber is best known for his sweeping symphonic essays and beautiful art songs,” observed Kenneth Ayoob, the ensemble’s conductor. “But he also composed ‘Commando March’ for our armed forces. It contains his familiar harmonies and lush melody in the context of a traditional march.”

The adventure continues with two compositions that combine several styles. Variations on America by another American modernist, Charles Ives, varies a single melody, including rendering it as a tango. Sinfonia V by contemporary American composer Timothy Broege is an eclectic mix of sounds that includes Renaissance motets, Gregorian chant and ragtime.

Paris Sketches is a tribute to the City of Light and the many composers it inspired, by contemporary British composer, Martin Ellerby.

The program also includes a song for winds by Richard Strauss, and one of the world’s most performed compositions—O Magnum Mysterium by contemporary California composer Morten Lauridesen, in a wind ensemble arrangement that captures the original feeling of “a quiet song of profound joy,” according to Ayoob.

The North Coast Wind Ensemble is comprised of 33 instrumentalists from local communities. Its first concert was in January.

This second North Coast Wind Ensemble performance begins at 8 p.m. on Sunday March 22 in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. $5 general, $2 students and seniors from HSU ticket office (826-3928) or at the door. Kenneth Ayoob, conductor.

Media: Humboldt State Now.

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