Sunday, March 12, 2006

Band Concert

So I spent a delightful hour this afternoon listening to the DePauw Band. The first piece played was Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland, and I must say that the brass and percussion sections played very well. I liked when the horns joined the trumpets; it gave me goosebumps. Timpani imitated the trumpet call on occasion. The next piece was Sea Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Based on English folk songs, the work had a march feel to it with snare drum and clarinet/flute runs. Overall the piece was highly rhythmic. Copland returned to the program with "The Promise of Living" from The Tender Land. It opened with a series of woodwind solos including clarinet, oboe, flute, and English horn. The texture overall remained smooth with a few powerful brass sections.
A woodwind quartet followed with selections from Eugene Bozza's Trois Pieces pour une musique de nuit. This was probably the highlight of the concert for me; the group played incredibly musically, and they had awesome intonation. I was really impressed because intonation is one of my biggest problems in ensemble playing, as some of you probably know.
Miniature Set for Band by Donald H. White brought the focus back to the full ensemble with three movements. The first was march-like in character, similar to Sea Songs. The second movement opened with horn, euphonium, and flute. This movement was much darker and seemed to have more substance. The postlude was much like the first movement with more finality.
Saxophone quartet graced the stage next, playing Stella by Starlight by Victor Young. The piece was characteristic of the jazz style, and the director of the group, Randy Salman, danced along in his chair in the audience.
Another White piece, Patterns for Band, followed the quartet. The entire base motive for the work existed in the trombone line in the first measure, a series of four notes on which the entire work was built. It was interesting to hear how the motive was changed and shaped throughout the performance. The piece felt violent, turbulent to me. The concert ended with a common wind ensemble piece, Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich. The work opened with a brass fanfare followed by a clarinet solo melody. This piece was a race to the finish with a majestic brass melody and multiple deceptive endings. Yeah, awesome concert everyone in band; great job!

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