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.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Winter Concert

Festival de Música Española
Saturday, March 7, 2020 • 8:00 PM
The Concord Band

– Program –
El RelicarioJosé Padilla
Carmen SuiteGeorges Bizet;
arr. Guiraud, trans. Buckley
  1. Les Toréadors
  2. Habanera
  3. Nocturne
  4. Danse Bohème
Volver a la MontañaShelly Hanson
La Mezquita de CórdobaJulie Giroux
· Intermission ·
Amparito RocaJaime Texidor;
arr. Winter
Fantasia LatinaTerry White
World Premiere commissioned by Neil Tischler
Saxophone QuartetAldemaro Romero
  • Fandango
  • Choro y Tango
Area 9 Saxophone Quartet, Guest Artists
La Bamba de Vera CruzTerig Tucci;
arr. Hunsberger

This program is supported in part by grants from the Harvard and Bolton Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

El Relicario

El Relicario by José Padilla is one of the most famous and best loved paso dobles in the band literature. This Spanish march is traditionally performed at bullfights as the participants enter the arena. This setting retains all of the delightful rhythms and enchanting melodies of the original. Its Latin flavor is full of colorful Spanish flourish. (Source: Program Note from Indian Springs Middle School Band concert program, 12 February 2016)

Carmen Suite

The music of French composer, Georges Bizet, was largely panned during his lifetime. Carmen was no different, receiving scathing reviews after its premiere. On June 3, 1875, just three months later and after 33 performances of Carmen, Bizet died. At his funeral, the organist improvised a fantasy of the themes from Carmen. In his eulogy, the contemporary French composer, Charles Gounod, stated “Bizet had been struck down just as he was becoming recognized as a true artist.” Lewis Buckley transcribed Carmen Suite selecting movements from the two suites. (Source: Greg Depp, MetWinds)

Volver a la Montaña

Volver a la Montaña (Return to the Mountain) by Shelly Hanson is the second movement of a four-movement suite and is based on several folk tunes of the Quechua (“Inca”) people of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Near the end of the movement, the folk song Separación (Separation) is quoted briefly. The words are “My mother told me not to cry, though I'm leaving the mountains forever.” Over the past century, many of the Quechua people have had to leave their villages forever because of the economic difficulty of maintaining their traditional mountain lifestyle. (Source: published score)

La Mezquita de Córdoba

In 169 B.C. the Romans founded Córdoba. After the fall of Rome, it became the capital of Al Andalus, Muslim Spain, in 716. The Moors conquered Córdoba in the eighth century and by the tenth century the city boasted a population of 500,000. Reigning with wisdom and justice, the rulers of Córdoba treated Christians and Jews with tolerance. They also improved trade and agriculture, patronized the arts, made valuable contributions to science, and established Córdoba as the most sophisticated city in Europe. La Mezquita de Córdoba by Julie Giroux opens with the destruction of the original Christian church in 716 A.D. and proceeds as a musical celebration of its multicultural, religious and artistic accomplishments. (Source: published score)

Amparito Roca

Jaime Texidor Dalmau (1884-1957) was an important Spanish composer of paso dobles, the bullfighting-inspired march style most closely associated with Spain. He was also the director of the municipal band of Barakaldo for almost 30 years. Amparito Roca (1925) is his most famous composition. (Source: Andy Pease)

Fantasia Latina

Fantasia Latina was commissioned by Band member Neil Tischler in celebration of his 48 years with the Concord Band, and is based on four Latin dance styles: Tango, Danzon, Songo and Samba. The extended introduction is intended to introduce idiomatic rhythms and motives that are common to the various styles such as montuno and 2-3 clave, etc. In each style there are unexpected rhythmic and harmonic twists intended to keep the performer and listener from settling into a “groove.” For example, there might be an extra measure in a phrase or a very brief harmonic modulation in harmony. (Source: Terry White)

Saxophone Quartet

Venezuelan-born Aldemaro Romero is credited with creating a new musical genre, the “Ondo Nuevo,” a combination of Venezuelan fandango and Brazilian bossa nova. In his Saxophone Quartet, the exuberant Fandango movement features kaleidoscopic harmonies over a driving rhythmic pulse, while in the joyous and virtuosic Choro Y Tango, each horn gets a chance to shine. (Source: John Rabinowitz)

La Bamba De Vera Cruz

A traditional huapango song, La Bamba De Vera Cruz by Terig Tucci is often played during weddings in Veracruz, where the bride and groom perform the accompanying dance. The dance is performed displaying the newlywed couple’s unity through their execution of complicated, delicate steps in unison, as well as the couple using only their feet to create a bow with a listón, a long red ribbon. (Source: David Cross for the Austin Symphonic Band)

Sunday, March 1, 2020

World Premiere Inspired by Latin Dance

The Concord Band continues its 61st season with its Winter Concert entitled “Festival de Música Española.” The concert, on Saturday March 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm, will feature the world premiere of Fantasia Latina by Terry White, a new work commissioned by Concord Band percussionist Neil Tischler. The concert will be held at the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street, Concord, MA. The concert is free, with donations gratefully accepted.

The new composition by composer Terry White is based on four Latin dance styles: Tango, Danzon, Songo and Samba. The piece has rhythms and motives that are common to the four dance styles, with unexpected rhythmic and harmonic twists that will keep Neil and his fellow percussionists busy. Neil sponsored the piece, his second commission for the Concord Band, in celebration of his 48 years with the Concord Band. Terry White has been a music educator and band leader in the Portland, Maine, area for over 34 years, and is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and the University of New Hampshire.

In keeping with the theme of the Winter Concert, Music Director James O’Dell has chosen  music from southern Spain, Andalusia, Peru, and Argentina, as well as Brazil. The program will include four movements from Georges Bizet’s famous opera Carmen, Julie Giroux’s Mezquita de Córdoba, Volver a la Montaña (Return to the Mountain) from a suite by Shelly Hanson based on Inca folk songs, La Bamba de Vera Cruz, and several familiar Spanish marches. The Concord Band also welcomes guest artists the Area 9 Quartet, a Boston-based saxophone quartet that includes two Concord Band saxophone players, John Rabinowitz and Kangyi Liu. Area 9 will play the Fandango and Choro y Tango movements from Aldemaro Romero’s Saxophone Quartet.

The Band is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, that gladly accepts any donations through on-line links at the Concord Band website ( or blog (, where you can also find more information about the 2013 Sudler Silver Scroll-winning Concord Band. The Concord Band is also supported by grants from Harvard and Bolton Cultural Councils, agencies of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.