Saturday, February 10, 2018

Concert Commemorates Composer Leonard Bernstein

1818, 1918, 2018Anniversaries

Join the Concord Band as it completes its 59th year of music-making, continuing a season-long exploration of some of the great works for symphonic concert band. The Band’s Winter Concert, 1818 1918 2018—Anniversaries, will be presented at 51 Walden, the Performing Arts Center in Concord, MA, on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at 8:00 PM. (The snow date, if necessary, is Sunday, March 4, at 2:00 PM.) Admission is free; contributions are greatly appreciated.

The works on the winter program revolve around specific composer centennials or musical milestones, with the majority of the pieces celebrating the 100th anniversary of American master Leonard Bernstein’s birth.

Overture to Candide takes a sprightly and comedic romp as the opening of his operetta, which has become extremely popular in recent years despite a less than enthusiastically-received 1956 premiere (Wikipedia). A Simple Song from the monumental composition Mass, commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy and premiered in 1971, is the second section of this thirty-two movement work. Three Dance Episodes from On The Town present the breadth and depth of musical theater storytelling combined with dance, featuring three sailors on a 24-hour shore leave in New York City. The episodes include "The Great Lover," "Lonely Town: Pas de Deux", and "Times Square: 1944."

Reaching further back in music history, we celebrate the birth of composer Charles Gounod (1818) with two compositions. The lovely Petite Symphonie is a nonet scored for flute, and pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns, and the tongue-in-cheek parody, Funeral March of a Marionette.

The beautiful and expressive A Trumpeter’s Lullaby by Boston musical icon Leroy Anderson was written for famed Boston Symphony trumpeter and professor of trumpet at Boston University Roger Voisin (born in 1918) and will feature Concord Band principal trumpet Richard Given.

The expansive multi-movement suite The Planets by Gustav Holst was first performed in 1918 at London’s Queens Hall for a select audience. The first movement "Mars, the Bringer of War”, has been strongly influenced by Stravinsky’s music, with its use of dissonance and mixed meter.

In the same year, Australian-born composer Percy Grainger wrote Irish Tune from County Derry (also well known as “Danny Boy”) and Shepherd’s Hey. The County Derry tune displays the com- poser’s mastery in scoring for woodwinds and brass, separately and then combined.

British composer Ralph Vaughn Williams was appointed Music Director for the British First Army in 1918, and, like Holst, is recognized as one of the first major composers to write music specifically for band. Toccata Marziale is an early concert band masterpiece, showcasing the composer’s craft, specifically in use of counterpoint and the exploitation of woodwind and brass instrumental sonorities and tone color.

As we pay tribute to important musical anniversaries in March, we look forward to the Band’s 2018–2019 season which brings a number of very special moments as we celebrate the Concord Band’s 60th Anniversary!

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