The School of Music’s Concert Band presented its first performance of 2005 Wednesday evening at Hill Auditorium. The ensemble showed that they haven’t lost a beat since their last concert in December. The compelling performance incorporated a lively, engaging assortment of pieces that appealed to a variety of musical preferences.
The band’s conductor, Associate Director of Bands and Conducting Prof. Stephen Davis, described the evening’s program as containing “a wide variety of pieces, some very contemporary and others more traditional.”
He went on to explain that this concert’s repertoire features “a mixing of styles that depict all of the human emotions.”
The brass section of the Concert Band began the performance with Fanfare from “Le Peri.” The Paul Durkas fanfare commanded listeners’ attention with full, resonant chords. This piece also prepared audience members for a musical journey that, according to Davis, “challenges listeners to grow as an audience.”
Gunther Schuller’s On Winged Flight was the featured piece of the evening. “The piece is exceptionally difficult,” explained Davis. “It is a 20th century piece and therefore contains a wide range of contemporary styles.”
Each of the five movements of this modern piece created a different atmosphere and environment.
From the delicate, sylvan sounds of bird calls in the Pastorale movement to the dark, sinister fear created by the ominous Nocturne, Schuller’s composition is constantly evolving in mood. “(Schuller) is a truly unique person, a great performer and composer,” Davis said. The Parody finale completed the piece on a large boisterous note, with fast melodic lines and loud obtrusive sounds characteristic of big city traffic.
The variety continued into the second half with the small ensemble piece, Old Wine in New Bottles. The Gordon Jacob piece, directed by graduate conductor Brian K. Doyle, created a lightness that balanced well against the previous, more heavily orchestrated pieces. With lovely woodwind melodies, the small ensemble illustrated the carefree and adventurous spirit felt by sailors before embarking on a voyage.
The band ended their performance with Tchaikovsky’s jovial and traditional Dance of the Jesters. The piece’s energetic, foot tapping melody was the perfect conclusion to the evening’s performance and sent audience members back out into the cold with warm sentiments.