Dynamic works fill Purdue Wind Ensemble's Sunday concert
Dynamic fanfares, traditional marches and light-hearted pieces that can be described as everything from mischievous to dance-like, fill the late fall program of the Purdue Wind Ensemble and Fall Concert Band on Sunday, Nov. 18.
The concert begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St., Lafayette. Admission is free. Doors open at 2 p.m.
Fall maybe surrendering its light and warmth to winter, but the concert put together by Purdue directors Jay Gephart and Ishbah Cox keeps the emphasis on contemporary and time-tested works that are resilient and upbeat.
"Cajun Folk Songs," a "Symphonic Suite from Star Trek," "J.S. Jig," a dance-like interpretation of two J.S. Bach pieces, and "Molly on the Shore," based on Irish reels, are among the works on the program.
Fall Concert Band kicks off the program with Frank Ticheli's "Cajun Folk Songs." Two different tunes within the work -- "La Belle et le Capitaine" and "Belle" -- are based on folk songs of southern Louisiana that are "powerful representations of Southern society," Cox says.
In "Clowns," Philip Parker's faced paced piece is unpredictable in the nature of clowns. Cox says it depicts the "frantic pace of clowns running around and performing zany antics."
The light-hearted mood continues with Brant Karrick's "J.S. Jig" that draws its inspiration from two serious pieces -- "Jesu," Joy of Man's Desiring" and "What God Does is Well Done." This 2006 piece fuses the two themes together into a lilting Irish jig, Cox says. The piece goes back and forth, sampling and combining the themes. Karrick includes a traditional Chorale section and audiences will hear whistling near the end of the piece. "It's an interesting use of harmonies which is what Karrick is known for," Cox says.
The Purdue Wind Ensemble opens its section of the concert with Philip Rothman's "Monument Fanfare and Tribute." "It's just a dynamic piece that honors Veteran's Day," Cox says. The U.S. Military Academy Band premiered it in 2000 at Ulysses Grant's Tomb.
Vincent Persichetti's "Divertimento" and Gustav Holst's "First Suite in E Flat for Military Band" are both considered staples of the wind band repertoire, Cox says. In 1909, Holst's "First Suite" was considered revolutionary in that it was written exclusively for wind band. At that time, concert wind band repertoire consisted of reductions of pieces originally scored for orchestras. Holst wanted to make the concert band a serious concert medium, and this piece is seen as the first step in that direction.
The piece starts off with the Chaconne, a melody of 16 notes that starts in the baritone makes its way throughout the entire band, and in the middle of the piece, and the trombone plays the inversion of this progression.
In 1909, Holst composed the First Suite in E-flat, a revolutionary piece in that it was written exclusively for wind band. At that time, concert wind band repertoire consisted of reductions of pieces originally scored for orchestras, essentially program music. Holst wanted to make the concert Originally, "Divertimento" started out as an orchestral work, but as the woodwind, brass and percussion figures evolved, composer Vincent Persichetti eliminated the idea of incorporating strings. The resulting piece has been described as "alternating between a sense of mischief and a poignant vein of nostalgia" and has become one of the most widely performed works in the entire wind band repertoire. It features tuba, coronet and piccolo solos.
The concert ends with "Funiculi, Funicula Rhapsody" a set of variations based on the famous melody written by Luigi Denza. This dance-song in tarantella rhythm was written to be played at the opening of the new tourist attraction in Naples, the funicular (incline railroad) that takes travelers to the top of Mount Vesuvius. A new fantasy arrangement by Yo Goto, one of Japan's premier educational writers, offers adds unexpected twists and turns to the 135-year-old piece.
The Nov. 19 concert is sponsored by Purdue Bands & Orchestras which offers a full season of free jazz, concert band and orchestra concerts.