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Wind Ensemble, Fall Concert
Bands bring "The Seasons" to
As fall turns to winter, the Purdue Wind Ensemble and Fall Concert Bands explore “The Seasons” at a 2:30 Sunday, Nov. 21, concert in Lafayette’s Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St. Admission is free.
Both the seasons of our lives, and the seasons of the year, are reflected in the wide variety of works picked for the concert. Under the director of Jay Gephart, the Wind Ensemble will feature “October” by Eric Whitacre.
“October is my favorite month. Something about the crisp autumn air and the subtle change in light always make me a little sentimental,” the composer says. “As I started to sketch out the tune I felt that same quiet beauty in the writing. The simple, pastoral melodies and subsequent harmonies are inspired by the great English Romantics (Vaughan Williams and Elgar) as I felt that this style was also perfectly suited to capture the natural and pastoral soul of the season.”
In honor of the spring season, the Wind Ensemble includes “Fête-dieu à Seville”which describes Corpus Christi Day, a traditional procession in Seville, Spain, that occurs 60 days after Easter each year. They also look forward to the holiday season with Alfred Reed’s “Russian Christmas Music.”
Reed’s piece has ties to World War II, especially 1944 when optimism was running high with the successful invasion of France and Belgium by the Allied forces. A holiday band concert was planned by the city of Denver to further promote Russian-American unity with premiers of new works from both countries. Reed found an authentic 16th-century Russian Christmas Song “Carol of the Little Russian Children” to use for an introductory theme. Drawing on his investigations of Eastern Orthodox liturgical music for other thematic ideas, he completed the score of “Russian Christmas Music” in 11 days. The music was first performed on December 12, 1944, on a nationwide NBC broadcast.
The Wind Ensemble’s set closes with “Limerick Daydreams” by Nathan Daughtrey which won second place in the 2005Percussive Arts Society International Composition Contest. The 12-minute work, scored for full symphonic band with six percussionists and piano, is based on the Irish reel, “Highway to Limerick.” “A raucous drumming section gives way to a full presentation of the reel in the flutes,” the composer says. “What follows is a series of melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic transformations of the Irish tune – some quite playful, some beautifully melancholy, and some majestically resolute.”
Fall Concert Band Black, directed by Andrew King, and Fall Concert Band Gold, directed by Steve Cotten, also perform on the Sunday’s concert.
Steven Reineke’s “Goddess of Fire” opens the afternoon program. Inspired by Pele, the Goddess of Hawaii’s volcanoes, the work begins with primordial, mysterious sounds representing the foreboding volcanoes of Hawaii. Suddenly and violently, one of her volcanoes erupts, creating massive chaos and destruction. After the eruption subsides, Pele’s theme of creation and beauty returns again.
King’s band also performs “Sinfonia India,” by Carlos Chavez, who is often referred to as the Aaron Copland of Mexico. Known for his blends of Aztec and Mayan folk music,” the “Sinfonia India” has been described as a “firecracker of a symphony” because of its vigorous, chaotic folk-dance rhythms contrasted with quiet evocations of the grandeur of ancient ruins.
Fall Concert Band Gold includes “Spring Sketches” by contemporary Japanese composer Satoshi Yagisawa on its concert set along with a 2005 piece by Kentucky composer Brant Karrick, “Bayou Breakdown,” that’s inspired by Louisiana’s Cajun music, and Henry Fillmore’s “Klaxon March” inspired by many seasons where the klaxon automobile horn was the most common sound on the road.
The concert is sponsored by Purdue Bands & Orchestras which offers a variety of free concerts throughout the school year.
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