|Home||Ensembles||Faculty and Staff||Media||Merchandise||Contact Us|
From JFK to the Olympics, “Tributes!” offers a musical salute
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Music’s at its best when composers create dramatic passages and employ swelling chords to celebrate occasions and pay homage to special people and events. The opening concert of the Purdue Bands & Orchestra 2008-09 season is a concert filled with these special “Tributes!”
“Each of the pieces on the concert is a tribute to someone or something, whether it’s an event, a person or an era,” says Jay Gephart. With the presidential election season absorbing Americans’ interest, one tune of particular interest is Ronald Lo Presti’s “Elegy for a Young American” written in 1967 to honor President John F. Kennedy.
“The opening tries to embody the grief of a nation,” says Gephart who describes it as an “extremely powerful piece.”
“There’s a feeling of unsettledness that’s prevalent throughout the work, so much tension and anxiety with no resolution. That’s the way Americans felt at that time.”
A decided mood shift marks other works on the program. “Celebration Fanfare” by Steven Reineke was written to pay tribute to noted Cincinnati Pops conductor Eric Kuenzel on his 30th anniversary with the orchestra.
Gephart says it is very similar in style to fanfares written by John Williams for the Olympics. He chose it to pay tribute to the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band’s successful trip to China in the summer of 2008 to participate in pre-Olympic festivities.
“It’s an upbeat and joyful piece of music,” he says.
Mark Camphouse’s “Symphonic Prelude,” subtitled “The Cemetery at Colleville-Sur-Mer” was inspired by the emotions that swept over the composer when he visited Normandy, France, and the site of World War II battle at Omaha Beach. Camphouse’s reflective theme describes the foggy weather on the day of the battle and the nearly insurmountable defenses. “It honors the past but also the future with the horns making an uplifting statement at the end to bring the piece to an exciting close.”
The final piece on the Symphonic Band’s portion of the program is Roger Cichy’s “Maestro!” written in tribute to one of Gephart’s own mentors, the retired director of the Indiana University School of Music, Ray Cramer.
Cichy, who will be a guest artist at Purdue in April 2009, pays tribute to the spirit of Cramer who was on the IU faculty for 37 years.
At different spots in the piece, “Cichy uses words like youthful, playful, energetic and lively to describe the playing style to musicians,” Gephart says. “When I listen to it I have a visual connection to the Cramer he’s trying to present. I can see him walking briskly across campus or energetically conducting an ensemble.”
The Oct. 5 program also features a set by the Fall Concert Band which has its own set of tributes. One is a tribute to the U.S. Marine Band, which will perform at Elliott Hall of Music on Oct. 8 with John Philip Sousa’s “Bell of Chicago March.” A medley of big band tunes is planned in tribute to the swing era and Larry Daehn’s “I’m Seventeen Come Sunday” is an adaptation of an English folk tune created to honor Percy Grainger who hiked around Britain making field recordings of folk songs in the early 1900s.
The concert is sponsored by Purdue Bands & Orchestra which offers a series of jazz, concert band, orchestra and percussion events throughout the year.
Copyright © 2013, Purdue University, all rights reserved.