Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Band Members Featured in Fall Concert

By Ken Troup

The Concord Band begins its 2016-17 season with a concert entitled "Suite Spots". The concert, led by Music Director James O'Dell, will take place at 51 Walden, The Performing Arts Center in Concord, MA, at 8:00 PM, Saturday, October 22, 2016. Admission is free; contributions are welcome at the door. Two long-time band members are featured in solos: Dan Diamond, the longest serving member of the Band, percussion section leader, and member of the Board of Trustees, will play the snare drum solo in Maurice Ravel’s Boléro. David Purinton, a member since 1973, will play the clarinet solo in Carl Maria von Weber’s Concertino. The program also includes four suites written for band and three transcriptions for band to round out the “suite spots.”

Dan Diamond
percussion
Boléro is one of Ravel’s most recognized works and is based on the musical form and Spanish dance of the same name. With a repeating ostinato and snare drum accompaniment, featuring percussionist Dan Diamond, this arrangement by Jay Bocook slowly builds from piano to fortissimo, all the time adding variations in instrumentation. The final climax brings all musical forces to bear as the work crescendos to a dynamic conclusion. Dan Diamond played in bands and orchestras in Springfield schools and MIT before settling in the Boston area and joining the Concord Band in 1970. He is a Concord Band Lifetime Service Award recipient, honoring his decades of service to the band as percussionist, board member, fundraising chairman, newsletter editor, and video executive producer and editor, just to name a few.

David Purinton
clarinet
The Weber Concertino, Opus 26, was written in 1811 and was arranged for band by Bruce R. Smith. This single-movement work features solo clarinet in a series of distinct and complementary variations. Weber composed two clarinet concertos the same year in his native Germany and was a prominent opera and orchestra composer until his death from tuberculosis in 1826 at the age of only 39. David Purinton, the clarinet soloist, is a Concord native who now lives in Devens and is the concertmaster of the Band.

Boston Liberties, by Julie Giroux, a prominent band composer originally from Massachusetts, was commissioned by The Concord Band in 2003. Most significant for this fall, the fourth movement of the suite pays tribute to Boston Light, the oldest lighthouse in the U.S., which just celebrated its 300th anniversary in September. Titled “A Penny a Ton,” the movement notes the early tax on cargo that helped pay for and maintain Boston Light. The other movements depict images of Boston Harbor and the Old Granary Grounds Cemetery, as well as a tribute to John Adams’ role as defense counsel for the British soldiers following the Boston Massacre, when he said “Facts are Stubborn Things.”

One of the high points of the concert will be H. Owen Reed’s masterpiece for band La Fiesta Mexicana: A Mexican Folk Song Symphony for Concert Band. One of the earliest full symphonies for band by an American composer, La Fiesta Mexicana came about after the composer spent six months in Mexico on a Guggenheim Fellowship. He used Mexican music cultural ideas and themes, stitching them together with elements of his own contemporary style in the three movements, “Prelude and Aztec Dance,” “Mass,” and “Carnival.” The piece was dedicated to the Marine Band, which played the premiere in 1949.

Third Suite, by 77-year-old Robert Jager, was composed for band in 1966 and is performed regularly in contests and festivals. The three movements are "March" - non-characteristically scored in alternating 4/4 and 3/4 time; "Waltz" - similarly juxtaposed in alternating 3/4 and 2/4 time; and the bright, energetic, and playful "Rondo."

Japanese band composer and arranger Tomohiro Tatebe wrote Suite on Celtic Folk Songs in 2001 when he was 44 years old. The suite is a three-movement work transcribed from old Irish melodies (March, Air, and Reel). The March movement is the old Irish O’Sullivan’s March and uses the traditional accented drum beat accompanied by the drone effect of the uilleann bagpipes in the trombones and lower winds and brass. Air is a slow movement titled "Yellow Village Gate" in Irish Gaelic, which features a solo piccolo as the image of a simple fife. The final movement, "Reel," is a typical Irish dance of very quick tempo, maintaining the intense pace from beginning to end.

Danzon is one of the dance movements from Leonard Bernstein’s music to the 1944 Jerome Robbins ballet Fancy Free. Along with a Waltz and a Galop, this was one of three dances in which three sailors attempt to outdo each other to be able to date two beautiful girls they met while on shore leave from the U.S. Navy in New York City. The dance, arranged for band by John Krance, is packed full of emotion and passion, set in a Latin-American style. The ballet became the inspiration for the musical On the Town.

Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst were friends and important composers for symphonic bands in Great Britain in the early 20th century. The Fall Concert includes two pieces with a slightly different twist for the two composers. Vaughan Williams’ lush Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis has been faithfully transcribed for band by Jay Bocook to capture and retain the style and mood of the original orchestral setting. Holst showed his mastery of orchestration by transcribing J.S. Bach’s organ fugue in G Major as Fugue a la Gigue. Originally done as a development exercise in band orchestration, Holst’s transcription skillfully adapts Bach’s counterpoint to the wind instrumentation.

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