Saturday, October 22, 2022

Livestream: RVW 150

RVW 150

Fall Concert

Saturday, October 22, 2022 • 8:00 PM
James O’Dell, Music Director
Steven Barbas, Assistant Conductor
Cindy Blanchard, Guest Conductor


The Concord Band
Flourish for Wind BandRalph Vaughan Williams
The Lords of GreenwichRobert Sheldon
Greensleeves: A Symphonic SettingClaude T. Smith
English Folk Song SuiteRalph Vaughan Williams
Steven Barbas, conducting
  1. March. “Seventeen Come Sunday”
  2. Intermezzo. “My Bonny Boy”
  3. March. “Folk Songs from Somerset”


CB Saxophone Quartet
David Southard: soprano, John Rabinowitz: alto,
Judy Piermarini: tenor, Seychelle Corbin: baritone
RhosymedreRalph Vaughan Williams
arr. Donald Fabian
Minuet from Le Tombeau de CouperinMaurice Ravel
arr. Christoph Enzel
The Concord Band
Fugue à La GigueJ. S. Bach
arr. Gustav Holst and Michael Brand
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas TallisRalph Vaughan Williams
arr. Jay Bocook
Cindy Blanchard, conducting
A Moorside SuiteGustav Holst
arr. Denis Wright
  1. Scherzo
  2. Nocturne
  3. March

Guest Conductor Cindy Blanchard

Cindy Blanchard
Cindy Blanchard
earned her BA in Music Performance and Composition from Bowdoin College. Her mentor was Elliott Schwartz, a life-long researcher of Vaughan Williams. She earned her MA from The College of New Jersey and Juilliard, studying conducting and trumpet. Ms. Blanchard has been a freelance musician and music educator on the east coast for nearly 30 years, teaching bands, strings, choral groups and general music to students ranging in age from 3 to the 80’s. She founded the Intergenerational Band and Harwich Community Orchestra (now the Cape Cod Community Orchestra) and the Cape Cod Brass. She has been a member of the Concord Band since 2011. Other interests are composing, genealogy and art.

Flourish for Wind Band

Flourish for Wind Band was written as an overture to the pageant Music and the People, performed in the Royal Albert Hall in 1939. The score was then lost, only to reappear in 1971. It was not made available to American bands until it was published in 1972. Flourish for Wind Band followed on the heels of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ great masterworks for band, English Folk Song Suite and Toccata Marziale, and is significant, in part, because it is a relatively easy work (grade 3), by a composer of high stature and skill. (Source: Creekside Middle School Wind Symphony concert program)

The Lords of Greenwich

Written in the style of an authentic British folk tune, Robert Sheldon's The Lords of Greenwich is an original composition inspired by the music of Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams. A jaunty theme greets the listener at the outset of the piece, followed by a lyrical and expressive ballad. A brief transition culminates in a musical statement that recalls the music of a British military brass band, which is then accompanied by the original thematic material bringing the piece to a definitive conclusion. (Source: Publisher)

Greensleeves: A Symphonic Setting

One of the most enduring melodies of all time has been sensitively arranged by the incomparable talent Claude T. Smith. Greensleeves: A Symphonic Setting presents intriguing combinations of wind colors and contrapuntal textures to make this the most unusual setting ever written for band. (Source: Publisher)

English Folk Song Suite

This beloved suite for military band, English Folk Song Suite, was premiered in 1923 and originally included a fourth movement, “Sea Songs.” After the premiere, “Sea Songs” was removed from the Suite and used as a standalone piece by the same name. Percy Grainger and Ralph Vaughan Williams collected the majority of the folk songs that were used as the inspiration of this work between 1906 and 1909. Along with Broadwood and Sharp, they carefully transcribed both text/lyric and tune of the songs sung by rural singers. Some were also recorded on wax cylinders, many of which still exist, though in poor condition due to the delicate nature of such recordings. There was a bit of a difference of opinion between Broadwood, who wanted to painstakingly note every nuance, every detail of each song to make sure the music was captured as exactly as possible, and Sharp’s opinion that many of these singers were aged and that time was of the essence in capturing as many of these tunes as possible. This came into play especially regarding lyrics as some did not meet the moral values of the day and revisions were thought to be appropriate. Vaughan Williams saw the value in both perspectives.

This Folk Song Suite has three movements. Movement I begins with the sprightly “Seventeen Come Sunday” which leads to the more legato melody of “Pretty Caroline,” with simple yet beautiful orchestration of these tunes. “Dives and Lazarus” is then heard in the basses as a countermelody before reprising the opening theme. The Intermezzo, Movement II, features “Green Bushes” and “My Bonny Boy,” and opens with a lovely oboe solo in the Dorian mode. Motifs found in “My Bonny Boy” are swapped around the band before entering the lively melody of “Green Bushes” before “My Bonny Boy” repeats, bringing the movement to a quiet close. Movement III opens with the light-hearted “Blow Away the Morning Dew” played by a clarinet solo and answered by the whole ensemble. The juxtaposition of the trumpet fanfare and basses playing “High Germany” centers the next section which then reverts to the opening theme. “John Barleycorn” is carried by the trombones and basses, and the trumpets then enter above before the final chord. (Source: Cindy Blanchard)


In 1920, Ralph Vaughan Williams composed three preludes for organ based on Welsh hymn tunes, a set that quickly established itself in the organ repertoire. Of the three, Rhosymedre, sometimes known as “Lovely,” has become the most popular. The hymn tune used in this prelude was written by a 19th century Welsh composer, J.D. Edwards, and is a very simple melody made up almost entirely of scale tones and upbeat skips of a fourth. (Source: Walter Beeler). The arrangement for saxophone quartet is provided by Donald Fabian.

"Minuet" from Le Tombeau de Couperin

"Minuet" is the fifth movement from Le Tombeau de Couperin, a suite by Maurice Ravel. Originally a piano composition, Ravel himself orchestrated it later. Each of the six movements is dedicated to a friend who died in World War I. The arrangement for saxophone quartet is provided by Christoph Enzel. (Source: John Rabinowitz)

Fugue à La Gigue

When Gustav Holst was commissioned to write Hammersmith for the BBC Wireless Military Band in 1928, he felt rather out of practice in orchestrating for the medium. For some years he had had the idea of arranging some Bach fugues for brass and military band, so he set himself the task of scoring the Organ Fugue in G Major BWV 577 (from Preludes, Fugues and Fantasias). Holst, rather than Bach, called it Fugue à La Gigue. The piece made an ideal exercise and Holst’s brilliant dovetailing of the counterpoint between different instruments shows his mastery. The piece is technically demanding and the characteristic unison clarinet writing suggests the orchestral conception of a large wind ensemble rather than a band. It was this conception which the composer carried forward into Hammersmith. (Source: Publisher)

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis combines the simple, elegant thematic material of the Elizabethan church composer Tallis, expanded and modernized through the luxurious harmonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams. A setting for band has been long overdue, and the original work for string orchestra has been masterfully transformed into a magnificent setting for winds. (Source: J.W. Pepper)

A Moorside Suite

A Moorside Suite is a masterpiece of Gustav Holst’s maturity. Written in 1928, six years before his death, it achieves a synthesis of his creative talent as a composer with the strong folk-song influences of 20 years earlier. The title of the work alludes to a country setting but does not describe an exact location, and this is mirrored in the musical material. The folk-song influence is apparent but not overt. The work was originally for brass band, commissioned for the National Brass Band Championships held at the Crystal Palace, London, England. Denis Wright was a musical scholar, and the transcription was carried out either during Holst's lifetime or shortly after his death in 1934. The score was not published until 1983, and has been re-edited by Geoffrey Brand. Interestingly, Holst himself always intended the work to be transcribed for “Military Band” and a first movement and some bars of the second movement exist in manuscript in the British Library. (Source: Publisher)

Friday, October 14, 2022

Celebrating Ralph Vaughan Williams

2022 Fall Concert Poster

The Concord Band opens its 2022–2023 season with a concert themed RVW150 in honor of the 150th birthday of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. The concert will be held at 8:00 pm Saturday October 22, 2022 at the 51 Walden Performing Arts Center in Concord, presented by Music Director James O’Dell and guest conductors from within the Concord Band.

Ralph Vaughan Williams, an influential English composer, wrote seminal works for twentieth-century concert band. Throughout his career Vaughan Williams drew inspiration from English folk tunes and hymn songs.

A highlight of the program will be Vaughan Williams’ English Folksong Suite led by Assistant Conductor Steven Barbas. This piece is considered to be the first composition written expressly for military band (the English term for a band including woodwinds as well as brass), which has become a staple of the concert band literature. Trumpeter and music educator Cindy Blanchard will appear as Guest Conductor to perform the beautiful Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, originally written for orchestra and arranged for band by Jay Bocook. The CB Saxophone Quartet will play Vaughan Williams’ Rhosymedre, a prelude based on the Welsh hymn tune by J. D. Edwards. The Quartet will also play "Minuet" from Le Tombeau de Couperin Suite by Maurice Ravel, with whom Vaughan Williams studied in Paris.

Composer Gustav Holst was a lifelong friend of Vaughan Williams since the age of 21. They traveled the English countryside on walking treks, conducted a concert together, and Holst dedicated one of his pieces to Vaughan Williams. Both composers incorporated folk songs into their music. The program features two selections by Holst. His Moorside Suite was originally written for brass band and is arranged for concert band by Denis Wright. Holst’s Fugue a La Gigue was a brass band transcription of Bach’s Fugue in G Major for organ, later arranged for concert band by Michael Brand. Two American composers who pay homage to Vaughan Williams will round out the program with Greensleeves: a Symphonic Setting by Claude T. Smith, and the Lords of Greenwich by Robert Shelton.

Join the Concord Band to celebrate Vaughan Williams’ birthday and enjoy music evocative of the English countryside which inspired these composers. The concert is free with a suggested donation of $10 per person. If you cannot attend in person, the concert will be live streamed, and online donations are gratefully appreciated. Take advantage of this opportunity to hear live music again!