Saturday, April 03, 2010

Director's Notes

Two sets of works contrasting American and European traditions make up the bulk of the upcoming North Coast Wind Ensemble concert.

Elgar’s Enigma Variations are a staple of the orchestral literature and the work has been re-scored for winds in a wonderful arrangement by Earl Slocum. This long form work is contrasted with a classic of the wind literature, Symphony #3 by Vittorio Giannini. The symphony, in four movements begins with a heroic theme that is based on the interval of a fourth and is transformed into a fugue, with a contrasting lyric middle section. The second movement takes advantage of the lyric sounds of the woodwinds, while the third is marked by a shifting rhythmic playfulness. The final movement is pure excitement.

The second set of contrasts include the March from Symphonic Metamorphosis of Hindemith and the Country Band March of Ives. They could not be more different as each work showcases its composers unique style. The Symphonic Metamorphosis was composed by Hindemith while he was at Yale and he asked Yale’s band director, Keith Wilson to make a wind arrangement. The march is based on a theme by Carl Maria von Weber which is stated in a two bar fragment at the beginning and later transformed and developed throughout the work. The Country Band March of Ives draws from his own experiences with amateur bands and is a parody of what those bands might sound like if several of them played at once. It includes quotations from no fewer than 12 well known tunes.

The wind ensemble will also perform Colonial Song by Percy Grainger. This lyric work was written for and about the people his native Australia and expressed his wish to “voice a certain kind of emotion that seems to me not untypical of native-born colonials in general.

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