Monday, March 16, 2020

Review: Festival de Música de Española

by Patti Lake

As a fellow musician it is not often that I get to just sit back and enjoy a concert. Most often you can find me in the horn section of the ensemble, forgoing the opportunity to just sit back and let the music take me to another place. I had the privilege of attending the Concord Band concert on March 7th and I was quite excited. It is not often that this girl of Spanish heritage has an opportunity to listen to Spanish music.

The concert opened with a rousing rendition of El Relicaro by José Padilla. With a tight low brass section and soaring trumpet solo I was taken back to the bullfight I remember attending as a young girl. True to form, this paso dobles set the tone for what was to come.

It is always a treat to hear an arrangement by the esteemed Lew Buckley. Buckley’s transcription of Bizet’s Carmen Suite was quite true to the orchestral score and the Concord Band’s presentation did not disappoint. Again, the trumpet soloist delivered a true taste of Spain while the horns played beautifully at both the beginning and end of the Nocturne.

Volver a la Montaña by Shelly Hanson perfectly captured the haunting melodies of the Quechuan people of Ecuador. The mournful cries of the flutes emulated the pan flutes while the harp added just the right timbre to the ensemble. Throughout the piece there were many glimpses of the majesty of the Andes mountains and the true essence of Quechuan music.

In Julie Giroux’s La Mesquite de Córdoba, one was truly able to imagine the destruction of the church and its subsequent rise to celebration. The ensemble effortlessly tossed the musical figures from section to section and held the listeners attention until the final celebratory note.

Composer Terry White, percussionist Neil Tischler,
and Music Director James O'Dell.
A favorite of mine since the first time I played it, Amparito Roca by Jaime Texidor was again reminiscent of the toreador parading around the bull fighting ring. O’Dell’s explanation of the authentic tempo was delightful and helped to make this “John Phillip Sousa March” of the bull fighting world come to life.

The world premiere of Fantasia Latina, commissioned by Neil Tischler and written by Terry White, was a big band meets traditional Latin dance surprise. The clever transitions and weaving of melodies made one want to get up and dance. The intricacies of the percussion lines were enjoyable, and the clean lines and soaring melodies were well executed by the band.

Area 9 Quartet
The Area 9 Quartet was simply fantastic! From the opening notes of Romero’s Fandango, to the brilliant runs of the Choro Y Tango, the skilled and exceptional musicianship of John Rabinowitz, Kangyi Lui, Sean Mix, and Seychelles Dunn-Corbin was on display. The full, lush, solid sound of the ensemble and the technical prowess of each player complimented the other as each movement provided opportunity for the soloists to shine. The Area 9 Quartet is completely amazing!

The evening ended with La Bamba de Vera Cruz by Terig Tucci. This piece was a fun and perfect ending to a delightful evening of Latin music. ¡Qué Bueno, Concord Band!  ¡Qué Bueno!


Patricia Lake is a Children’s Pastor in Central MA as well as a free-lance horn player in the greater Boston Area. She maintains an active horn studio and, when she isn’t in her pastoral role, she teaches children’s musical theatre and improv.

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