Report On Concert Report
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On April 16, 2015 at 7:30 P.M., Recital Hall from Laidlaw Performing Center Arts hosted an amazing concert. The performance was a part of concert series under the name of USA Musical Arts Series. The Wind Ensemble from University of South Alabama has performed seven pieces, the only exception that incorporated also a piano was the Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin but arranged here by Donald Hunsberger. The guest pianist, Jasmin Arakawa, Assistant Professor of Music enjoyed the audience with an astonishing performance of the piece. Four conductors climbed on the stage, on at a time to conduct the Wind ensemble. Three of them were guest conductors, invited especially for this concert. The pieces presented in this concert was surprised the audience due to the constant change of harmony, melody and rhythm.
Under the baton of William H. Peterson the concert started with Musica Mobilis by James A. Beckel Jr. A combination of sonorities, harmonies and melodies that were floating like a kaleidoscope around the main theme, formed from six principal notes: A, F#, G, C, D and E. The music was in a constant change regarding melody and harmony. The work has kept to its entire length the same tonality, only the musical material has changed during the development. I this particular way, the tonality have kept stability for the entire piece like the mobile sculpture which makes references to this work. The mobile was sculpture by the visual artist Alexander Calder.
The second piece from the concert was Vanity Fair. The composition was written by Percy Fletcher and edited by Brant Karrick. The conductor William H. Peterson has managed to create a wonderful balance between the fast tempos that opens and end the piece with the slow tempo from the middle section. The piece expressed a profound romantic harmony and melody, transmitting a feeling of light and joy, being a symmetric and tonal composition.
Michael Philips was the first guest conductor that went on stage. He started his program with The Immovable Do composed by Percy Grainger and edited by Joseph Kreines. This piece strikes me with the obsessive Do, which is held along the entire piece. In the Sol-fa musical notation Do means C. The invention of harmony and melody in order to fit with the high drone of C was built with lot of ingeniosity making the piece to be played effectively. Above the long pedal on C, lush chords and numerous countermelodies were presented, keeping the interest of the audience.
The second guest conductor Greg L. Gruner conducted Rhapsody in Blue composed by George Gershwin. The piece presented in this concert was an arrangement made by Donald Hunsberger. The frenetic jazz harmonies and rhythms could have been heard from the beginning of the piece. The symphonic jazz concerto was also supported by the astonishing pianist Jasmin Arakawa. The piece was combined improvisatory elements with serious elements creating a beautiful composition, charged with a lot of emotions. The blue scale and jazzy harmonies have been the main elements that built this work. The arrangement made by Donal Hunsberger changed a little the sonorities of the piece, being more metallic.
El Capitan came after the short intermission. The piece was composed by John Philip Sousa and edited by Frederick Fennell. The same conductor Gerg L. Gruner conducted the short piece which gathered only two minutes. The piece had a Marche form, with a strongly rhythm.
Lacey Powell conducted the last two pieces. Hymn for a Blue Hour by John Mackey was a calm piece, that described the moment between neither full light but not completely darkness. The harmonies were interesting, keeping the audience interest due to the slow development of the piece. The elements were used to compose this piece. The first element was hymnody being related with the transcendence and sacred tones, which were reflected in harmony two. The second element was the blue color, known for overwhelming sadness and nostalgia.
Niagara Falls by Michael Daugherty was the piece that ended the concert. U der the baton of Lacey Powell flowed in alert tempo ten minutes of music. The music prepared the audience by opening in a slow tempo and that during the development the tempo grew increasingly. The elements used in building this piece were a chromatic phrase of four tones which seems to be related with the composer perception of the syllabus from “Niagara Falls,” the rhythms from timpani and low brass which are creating the faster tempo and in the and the beautiful melodies that are going from clarinet to saxophone in a bluesy rhythm.
In conclusion, the concert presented seven pieces with different melodies and especially harmonies. 20th century was a century of music where composer could make everything they wanted, was a century of discovery and experiment, and it proved in this concert, that they did it really well. The audience was captivated from the Romantic melodies of Vanity Fair until the frenetic jazz from Rhapsody in Blue; everything was possible and has kept the audience interest.
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