Jupiter, from The Planets: : Gustav Holst composed a musical depiction of each of the seven then-known planets (in 1916) reflecting their characters as they are interpreted by astrologers. Each planet has a completely different personality, and the seven movements together form one of the great masterpieces of 20th century music. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity, practically overflows with gregarious good cheer and excitement. The slower middle section with its glorious and majestic melody feels British through and through, and was later adapted by Holst as the tune for the patriotic hymn “I Vow to Thee.” Note that Earth is not included among the planets since it does not play a part in astrology, and Pluto would not be discovered until 1930. We welcome Steve Lewis to the podium for this number!
Shrine of the Fallen: by Brian Balmages. This somber piece commemorates some 80 protesters who died during protests in Kiev in 2014 during the unfolding of events in which the Ukrainian president rejected a free trade deal with the European Union in favor of a treaty that included a massive loan from Russia. The president eventually fled to Russia and was impeached unanimously by the Ukrainian parliament. This piece was commissioned by the Dauphin Community Band, in Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada, which is home to a large Ukrainian population. We hope you will enjoy this powerful work.
Easter Monday On The White House Lawn: This gem by John Philip Sousa celebrates a tradition dating back to the days of Dolly Madison in which children roll Easter Eggs with a spoon across the White House Lawn. Though written in 1928, the piece has a decidedly earlier style, filled with syncopations that give it the flavor of turn–of-the-century ragtime or the even earlier cakewalks. Whichever, the sound is contagiously happy, and to me evokes images of 1890’s town squares complete with gazebos, and surrounded by homes with white picket fences.
Firebird Suite, Berceuse and Finale: : Igor Stravinsky completed the music for this ballet in 1910, and it was to become the first of his great ballets. In this portion of the ballet we see and hear the mysterious transformation, first in the haunting lullaby, and then the triumphal resurrection as the firebird rises from the ashes. The energetic and rapid 7/4 finale section greatly challenged the dancers of 1910, and foreshadowed the far more difficult rhythms to appear a few years later in the Rite of Spring!
Brule River Celebration: This energetic Robert Sheldon piece remembers Tim Recia, a highly popular and talented band director from the upper peninsula of Michigan. The Brule River area was a place he loved, and the excitement of the piece suggests his passion for snowmobiling. The more thoughtful middle section takes and develops themes from the fast section, and features a trumpet solo, reminding us of Recia’s own instrument.
Broadway Show-Stoppers: Warren Barker can always be depended upon to provide fine arrangements of popular movie and Broadway show tune medleys. This is no exception, and you will enjoy classic Broadway Hits including Everything’s Coming Up Roses, People, With a Little Bit of Luck, On a Clear Day, Try to Remember, and That’s Entertainment.
March On An Irish Air: This early piece by Missouri composer, Claude T. Smith is based on the well-known Irish tune, “The Minstrel Boy,” and turns it into a quite respectable march. I would have had no idea what the name of the tune was (it is supplied in the music score), but I recognized the tune almost immediately when I began studying the score, and you are likely to as well. This slightly down-tempo march has a dignified feel similar to many British marches that suggests ceremonial use rather than street marching. Brass fanfare-like flourishes also suggest techniques favored by the composer in some of his later works.