Saturday, April 03, 2010

Enigma Variations, Marching Metamorphosis and A Lot of Bands at Once

The North Coast Wind Ensemble welcomes spring with a symphony, a song, a couple of marches and some famous variations, in its Fulkerson Recital Hall concert on Saturday, April 3.

The Enigma Variations by English composer Edward Elgar may be “a staple of the orchestral literature,” according to Ensemble conductor Kenneth Ayoob, but this version of the landmark work has been re-scored for wind instruments in a “wonderful arrangement” by Earl Slocum. Each variation is a tribute to one of Elgar’s friends, and the “enigma” of the title refers to a hidden theme. Music historians still debate what that theme is—some guess it is as simple as Auld Lang Syne.

Symphony #3 for Band
by 20th century American composer Vittorio Giannini may not be so enigmatic, but it does have variety: a heroic theme, a lyrical second movement, “shifting rhythmic playfulness” in the third movement, and a final movement of “pure excitement.”

The two marches on the April 3 program “could not be more different,” said Ayoob, “as they contrast the composers’ unique styles.” Twentieth century German composer Paul Hindemith wrote his Symphonic Metamorphosis after emigrating to the U.S. during World War II. The Ensemble plays the March section of this larger work, as arranged by Yale University band director Keith Wilson at Hindemith’s request.

Contrasting with this serious work is the Country Band March by 20th century U.S. composer Charles Ives who “draws from his own experience with amateur bands,” Ayoob said. “It’s a parody of what those bands might sound like if several of them played at once. It includes quotations from no fewer than twelve well-known tunes.”

Colonial Song by composer Percy Grainger is a “lyric work written for and about the people of his native Australia.” Grainger was the subject of “Passion,” the 1999 movie by Australian director Peter Duncan.

The North Coast Wind Ensemble performs on Saturday April 3 at 8 pm in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $5/ $2 students and seniors from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Conducted by Kenneth Ayoob, produced by the HSU Department of Music.

Media: Arcata Eye, Humboldt State Now, Humboldt Beacon

1 comment:

SirPadgett said...

The missing principal theme of Sir Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” Opus 36 is the famous Reformation hymn “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” by Martin Luther. To learn more about this exhilarating discovery, visit

http://enigmathemeunmasked.blogspot.com/