Saturday, February 26, 2011

Commemorations and Flexibility with the HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra

HSU’s largest jazz ensemble performs more like the smallest, in a concert the Jazz Orchestra shares with the Symphonic Band on Saturday February 26 in Fulkerson Recital Hall.

The Jazz Orchestra will play a Charles Mingus tune (“E’s Flat, Ah’s Flat, Too”) "Moten Swing" by Bennie Moten's 1930s Kansas City Orchestra and two works by British composer Graham Collier, "Ryoanji" and "Under The Pier."

“What all of these pieces have in common is that they give the performers a level of control over the music rare in big band jazz,” said Jazz Orchestra director and HSU Music professor Dan Aldag. “What we're after is much the same kind of flexibility that a small jazz group can have.”

"’E's Flat’ consists of 5 different melodies or riffs which the band has created an arrangement from in rehearsal,” he explained. “With "Moten Swing", the band is starting with the arrangement that Ernie Wilkins wrote for the Count Basie band in the 1950s, but we've altered it in rehearsal and some elements will be improvised during the performance. The Collier pieces give the players a great deal of latitude, so each performance of them can sound quite different.”

On the same evening the HSU Symphonic Band plays three selections that were each written for a specific person. David R. Holsinger wrote “Havendance” for his young daughter, Haven. “Its driving rhythms are a reflection of the energy of an 8-year-old, who loved to dance and twirl around the house and dreamed of becoming a ballerina,” said Symphonic Band director and HSU Music professor Kenneth Ayoob.

Australian-born composer Percy Grainger wrote “Molly on the Shore” as a birthday gift to his mother. “It is an arrangement of two contrasting Irish reels,” Ayoob said, “that presents the melodies in a variety of textures and orchestrations.” “Elegy for English Horn and Band” by noted American wind ensemble composer Jack Stamp was commissioned by Kenneth Ayoob in memory of his father. It was first played by the Northeastern University Band, with current HSU Music professor Virginia Ryder as English horn soloist.

The Symphonic Band also plays “Paris Sketches” by contemporary English composer Martin Ellerby, a four-movement tribute to the City of Light.

The HSU Jazz Orchestra and the HSU Symphonic Band perform on Saturday February 26 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students/seniors, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Free to HSU students with ID. Symphonic Band directed by Kenneth Ayoob, Jazz Orchestra directed by Dan Aldag, produced by HSU Music Department.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye, North Coast Journal

No comments: