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ClassicsOnline Home » Wind Band Music - DAUGHERTY, M. / BURRITT, M. / GILLINGHAM, D. (Synergy) (John B. Yeh, Columbus State University Wind Ensemble, Rumbelow)
Three outstanding musicians join the Columbus State University Wind Ensemble for this thrilling addition to Naxos’s popular Wind Band Classics series, which exemplifies the theme of synergy (‘working together’). Described by the composer as ‘a panoramic clarinet concerto’, Daugherty’s Brooklyn Bridge pays tribute to the splendid view from this New York landmark. Burritt’s Duo Concertante, composed for John Yeh and his daughter Molly, shows the composer’s affinity with jazz and popular music. In his Concertino, Gillingham pits four percussionists against the wind ensemble, David’s
Fantasy Etudes pay tribute to Stravinsky and Ligeti, while McAllister’s Black Dog rhapsodizes on the classic Led Zeppelin song.
By Benn Martin
Synergy: Music for Wind Band
Michael Daugherty (b. 1954): Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge for Solo Clarinet and Symphonic Band was commissioned by the International Clarinet Association, with assistance from ten leading university wind band programs including Columbus State University. Award-winning composer Michael Daugherty writes the following regarding this composition:
Designed by John Roebling (1806-1869), the Brooklyn Bridge endures as the most admired and best-loved bridge in New York City. After the opening of the bridge to the public in 1883, Harper’s Monthly reported, “The wise man will not cross the bridge in five minutes, nor in twenty. He will linger to get the good of the splendid view about him.” As I have lingered and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge over the years, the stunning vistas of the New York and Brooklyn skyline have inspired me to compose a panoramic clarinet concerto.
Like the four cables of the webs of wire and steel that hold the Brooklyn Bridge together, my ode to this cultural icon is divided into four movements. Each movement of the clarinet concerto is a musical view from the Brooklyn Bridge:
I. East (Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights)
II. South (Statue of Liberty)
III. West (Wall Street and the lower Manhattan skyline
once dominated by The World Trade Towers)
IV. North (Empire State Building, Chrysler Building,
and Rockefeller Center)
In the final movement of the concerto, I also imagine Artie Shaw, the great jazz swing clarinetist of the 1940s, performing with his orchestra in the once glorious Rainbow Room on the sixty-fifth floor of the Rockefeller Center.
– Michael Daugherty
Michael Burritt (b. 1962): Duo Concertante
Duo Concertante, was written for John Yeh, Associate Principal Clarinet with the Chicago Symphony, and his daughter Molly, an outstanding young percussionist, in celebration of Chicago’s Northshore Concert Bands 50th Anniversary. The Concertante is a one-movement work in three distinct sections following in the traditional concerto fast-slow-fast model. The solo percussion part calls for five-octave marimba and six concert toms or any combination of bongos, timbales and conga drums. The clarinetist remains on a B flat instrument for the entirety of the work.
The thought of writing a concerto for clarinet and percussion brought to mind the wonderful contributions of the great jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman and his groundbreaking drummer Gene Krupa. It was Benny Goodman’s famous tune, “Sing, Sing, Sing” that provided the drums with one of the first avenues to shine as a solo instrument. In formulating the work, I decided upon developing sections of the piece that would reflect this historical combination.
Because of this influence, the orchestration and rhythmic backbone of the outer sections are unquestionably a result of my affinity for jazz and popular music. The center or slow movement of the work is essentially a love theme meant to express the deep and profound feelings shared between a parent and child. This section closes with a cadenza incorporating both marimba and clarinet soloists.
My mother was an outstanding clarinetist and gifted teacher. I dedicate this piece to her. Thanks for letting me play the drums mom.
– Michael Burritt
David Gillingham (b. 1947): Concertino
The Concertino or “small concerto” (for four percussion and wind ensemble) seeks to exploit keyboard, membrane and auxiliary percussion instruments with the marimba, xylophone, timpani, vibraphone and bass drums as the featured instruments assisted by crash cymbal, suspended cymbal, tam-tam, bells, chimes, triangle, and hi-hat to enhance both the
wind ensemble and the solo instruments. Two thematic motives are used as a point of departure for this work. Both appear in the slow and mysterious introduction. The first, played by the marimbas, is dramatic and the second is haunting and played by vibraphone and bells. The following Allegro is structured similar to a rondo with recurrences of both themes interspersed by episodic sections. The first theme, however, is transformed into a very lively arpeggiated tune played by the xylophone and marimba. The coda is marked by a relentless rhythmic competition between bass drums that accompany the primary thematic material as first heard in the slow introduction. The work draws to a resounding conclusion when the second haunting theme is stated dramatically in tour de force by the brass.
– David Gillingham
J.M. David (b. 1978): Fantasy Etudes, Book II
Fantasy Etudes, Book II is the second set of a continuing series of short etudes, the first of which was written for trumpet and piano in 2006. The work can be played by solo clarinet and basset horn (as in this performance) or two solo clarinets. The primary inspirations for these works are Ligeti’s brilliant suites of short movements including the Piano Etudes and his works for wind quintet. Like Ligeti, each is based on a central compositional principle that is set into motion and elaborated upon for the duration of the movement. The titles of each movement are indicative of these guiding thoughts. “Boris Prime” is inspired by a chord progression (referred to as “tritone substitution” by jazz musicians) that is heard prominently in the coronation scene from Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, as well as rhythmic motives that are based on a series of prime numbers (for example, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11). The second movement, “Contrary Motion,” explores the various contrapuntal phenomena created by scales moving in
opposite directions. The extremely short “Tri-tetra” is melodically derived from three and four note sections of diatonic scales. Finally, “Shrovetide Divergence” is inspired by the opening of Stravinsky’s Petroushka and by the “tempo fugues” of Ligeti, which tend to diverge into greater and greater rhythmic complexity from a single point. This set of etudes was commissioned by Columbus State University’s Wind Ensemble program, and this is the premiere recording.
– J.M. David
Scott McAllister (b. 1969): Black Dog
Black Dog is a rhapsody for solo clarinet and wind ensemble. The work is inspired by classic hard rock music, particularly Led Zeppelin’s rhapsodic-style song Black Dog. The clarinet solo takes the role of the lead singer in a hard rock band with its extreme range and emotions juxtaposed with the pyrotechnic solos in true “Hendrix” fashion. The rhapsody begins with a long solo cadenza which introduces most of the material in the work. The middle section is a very slow, upward, “Stairway to Heaven” gesture. The last section of Black Dog concludes with a “head-banging” ostinato pattern that leads to the final fiery cadenza.
– Scott McAllister
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