Friday, May 5, 2017 @ 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Brown Wind Symphony Concert
Matthew McGarrell, conductor
Kevin Plouffe, conductor
Daniel Muller ’17, conductor
8pm Friday, 5 May 2017
Salomon Hall: The De Ciccio Family Auditorium
The Brown University Wind Symphony will perform in a special “by-request” program of wind-band classics suggested by members of the ensemble and will honor its graduating seniors while being led by Daniel Muller ’17.
John Alfieri — Fanfare for Tambourines
Percy Grainger — Country Gardens, Ye Banks and Brae’s of Bonie Doon, Mock Morris
Gustav Holst — Suite in F
Gustav Holst — Mars (from The Planets)
Frank Ticheli — Shenandoah
David Holsinger — Scootin’ on Hardrock
The Australian-born pianist, folk song collector, composer and inventor, Percy Grainger, was educated in Germany at the Hoch Conservatorium, Frankfurt-am-Main. He had begun a successful career as a concert pianist in England before 1914 when he moved to the United States, settled in White Plains, New York and became a US citizen. Although he maintained a hectic performance schedule, made many arrangements of folksongs and other music (the combined efforts yielding significant financial resources) and dabbled in a variety of musical inventions, Grainger never regained the promise of his early performing career. His legacy rests on a few, mostly obscure recordings of his powerful, virtuosic piano playing, some early compositions—the orchestral works, In a Nutshell and The Warriors, for example—numerous folk song arrangements and many, often-performed works for band, including one of the cornerstones of contemporary wind literature, Lincolnshire Posy.
Grainger scored his best known work, Country Gardens, for an orchestral recording project with Leopold Stokowski during 1949-1950. He rescored this setting for band in April 1953. Originally 'rough-sketched' for two whistlers and a few instruments in 1908, Grainger frequently improvised on the Country Gardens tune at Liberty Loan concerts during the first World War, while he was a member of the Band of the 15th Coast Artillery Corps. He worked it out for piano as a birthday gift to his mother in 1918 and published it the following year. Ironically, this most popular (and most remunerable) of Grainger's work was collected not by Grainger but by his close friend, Cecil J. Sharp from Morris dancers.
The Scottish folk song with words by Robert Burns Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonie Doon was originally set by Grainger in 1901 for women’s or children’s (or both) unison chorus with an accompanying chorus of four men’s voices and whistlers, harmonium, or organ. In accordance with his theory of ‘democratic scoring’, Grainger then re - orchestrated the work in 1932 to allow for an elastic instrumentation, so that it could suit the needs of any sized ensemble. The folk song, originally called The Caledonian is a pastoral and bittersweet poem typical of Burns’ more refined works. These qualities were captured faithfully and beautifully by Grainger in this sensitive and delicate work. (note by Jaemi Loeb ’03)
Mock Morris, like most of Grainger’s works, appeared in many versions for various forces. Joseph Kreines arrangement for band was based on the original 1910 “Birthday-gift for Mother for string six-some or string band.” Published as Room-music Tit-Bit No. 1, Mock Morris is an original composition. “No folk-music tune-stuffs at all are used herein.”
By 1914, when Holst composed the first four movements of his seven-movement orchestral suite, The Planets, the planet Earth was experiencing the beginning of the largest man-made catastrophe in its history. Mars, The Bringer of War, with its ominous dissonance and relentless rhythmic drive, began the suite in a tumultuous, frightening depiction of the horrors to come on the battlefields of France and elsewhere. Holst’s own life at the time was blissfully peaceful. By 1914, he had been teaching for eleven years in two London area girls' schools. At one, St. Paul's in Hammersmith, Holst served as Director of Music until his death. Previously, he had completed his studies at the Royal College of Music in London (1893-1898) and had enjoyed a short career as a trombonist with the Carl Rosa Opera Company and the Scottish National Orchestra (1898-1903). Although neuritis in his right arm prevented him from serving during the Great War, Holst was appointed, in 1918, to the education department of the YMCA as music organizer for the Near East to work with troops awaiting demobilization. His friend, Balfour Gardiner, hired the Queen’s Hall and its orchestra for a send-off concert in Holst’s honor. Adrian Boult conducted a hastily prepared performance of The Planets at the event, which occurred on 29 September 1918.
The exact circumstances of the composition and the first performance (possibly at the Festival of Empire, Crystal Palace, London in 1911) of the Suite in F for Military Band are not known. The first documented performance was by the Band of The Royal Military School of Music, conducted by Lt. HE Adkins at the Royal Albert Hall, London on 30 June 1922. The Suite is based on folk songs collected by Holst's and Percy Grainger's friends, Cecil Sharp and Balfour Gardiner as well as published sources. The work reflects Holst's interests in both English folk song as well as in eighteenth century polyphonic techniques. (The 'Fantasia on The Dargason' which includes the superimposed tune of 'Greensleeves' is a particularly brilliant display of contrapuntal writing.) In its complexity and in the challenges it posed to the performer, the Suite was a remarkable departure from band music of the early twentieth century. It was immediately popular with band musicians and has become a staple of wind repertoire.
Frank Ticheli was born in 1958 in Monroe, Louisiana. He received his Bachelor of Music in Composition from Southern Methodist University and Masters Degree in Composition and Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan. He is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Southern California and is the Composer-in-Residence of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. Ticheli wrote the following notes about Shenandoah: "In my setting of Shenandoah I was inspired by the freedom and beauty of the folk melody and by the natural images evoked by the words, especially the image of a river. I was less concerned with the sound of a rolling river than with its life-affirming energy -- its timelessness. Sometimes the accompaniment flows quietly under the melody; other times it breathes alongside it. The work's mood ranges from quiet reflection, through growing optimism, to profound exaltation."
Since 1999, award winning composer and conductor David R. Holsinger has served on the faculty of Lee University, Cleveland, Tennessee where he is conductor of the Lee Wind Ensemble and teaches composition, orchestration, and conducting. He holds degrees from Central Methodist University, University of Central Missouri, and the University of Kansas. Regarding Scootin’ on Hardrock, Dr. Holsinger wrote: "About half a mile east of my office on Shady Grove Road, you will cross Hardrock Road, the former main street of Shady Grove Township, Texas. Sitting close to the railroad line between Dallas and Ft. Worth, this little community thrived for its initial 20 years. But when the township was absorbed by Irving and Grand Prairie 30 years ago, Hardrock Road was destined to suffer dearly the abandonment of both a future and "county maintenance". The road runs only about a mile in length, from the entrance to a bankrupted wildlife park on the south, to Rock Island Road, parallel to the old Rock Island Railroad tracks, to the north. There are a number of houses left in the dilapidated neighborhoods. Most are suffering the ravages of too many uncaring renters, however, some still appear neat and cared for, despite their age. Several defunct horse stables and exercise corrals line the road, in addition to a couple of "joints", a small grocery store, a welder's shop, and a number of scrap yards. Located midpoint on Hardrock Road is a cemetery and close by, a vacant lot, where the original Shady Grove Baptist Church stood from 1937 until December, 1974, when disgruntled church members allegedly put a torch to the building and burned it down. (And you thought YOUR church board had heated meetings!...) One doesn't mosey down Hardrock Road anymore. You scoot along because now the only reason to drive through there is to go from somewhere you've been to someplace you haven't.. And anyway, only the locals consider the route a shortcut to wherever.. But once upon a time, Hardrock Road was the center of town."