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Dr. Michael Burch-Pesses, Conductor
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SPRING CONCERT 2011

 

"Planes, Trains, and Automobiles"

Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 7:30 PM
Tualatin High School

Dr. Michael Burch-Pesses, Conductor


PROGRAM

Henry Fillmore The Klaxon
  March
Julie Giroux Husaria Cavalry Overture
Jamison Alderson Laurelhurst Rhapsody
Walter Leslie Night Flight to Madrid
Jay Kennedy The Path Between The Mountains
Intermission
John Philip Sousa Black Horse Troop
  March
Sammy Nestico Cable Car
Eric Whitacre Noisy Wheels of Joy
James Curnow Where Never Lark or Eagle Flew

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PROGRAM NOTES

The Klaxon
We open our program with one of Henry Fillmore's most famous marches, The Klaxon. Composed in 1929, the march (subtitled March of the Automobiles) was written for the 1930 Cincinnati Automobile Show. Fillmore even invented a new instrument for the occasion called a klaxophone. It consisted of 12 automobile horns mounted on a table and powered by an automobile battery. Like the cannons in Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, the klaxophone was a bit noisy. Fortunately, our French horns substitute for the klaxophone and are much easier to listen to.

Husaria Cavalry Overture
The Husaria Cavalry often were referred to as "The Winged Cavalry," the pride and glory of the Polish military from 1550 to 1683. An elite fighting force earning one-third more salary then the other enlisted men, they were offered political offices, titles, many privileges, and even land after six years of service. Only those who demonstrated great fighting and equestrian skills were accepted into the regiment, including many of the sons of the highest born nobility. In addition to their armor they also wore wings, great wooden arcs bristling with eagle feathers. Over their shoulders they wore the skin of a tiger or leopard as a cloak, and their boots were painted with gold. Just the sight of the elite regiment could strike fear in the hearts of the bravest of men. This overture is a tribute to those gallant men and their horses.

Laurelhurst Rhapsody
For the past four years, the composer, a percussionist in OSB, has taken the MAX light rail every day to and from work. He spent much of the time during his commute relaxing, and it was on the MAX that many of his melodies and ideas came to light. All of the main themes from this piece were created during his commutes to and from work, so this piece essentially was written on a train. Each melody presented in Laurelhurst Rhapsody began as a simple recorder tune conceived during his walks in Laurelhurst Park, and evolved into the finished symphonic band work. The opening melody, presented by the solo clarinet, is the composer's favorite, and can be heard in some variation throughout the piece.

Night Flight to Madrid
We offer a bit of mystery, intrigue, and—perhaps— romance in the fast-paced Night Flight to Madrid. Written for orchestra more than a half century ago, the composer transcribed this highly evocative work for band in the hope that it would receive wider performance. Although it is now out of print, many bands keep it in their libraries and still perform it as part of their "pops" concerts.

The Path Between the Mountains
Imagine a long car trip through a mountain range, beginning before the sun comes up. The air is crisp, clean, and quiet. As your drive progresses and the sun comes up the scenery becomes more visible, and so does the traffic. You must slow down on the uphill stretches, but can coast and speed up on the downhill stretches. As you approach your destination you become ever more excited about reaching our goal and stretching your legs. If you can imagine such a trip, you could easily have Jay Kennedy's The Path Between the Mountains as your soundtrack. Mr. Kennedy is a faculty member of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and is a well-known composer of music for commercials, film, and television.

Black Horse Troop
Sousa was an inveterate sportsman, and loved horses in spite of a permanent arm injury that he suffered in a fall from a high-spirited steed in 1921. He wrote Black Horse Troop for Troop A of the Cleveland National Guard. Years before, in 1881, Sousa had marched with his U.S. Marine Band and the same mounted troop in President Garfield's funeral procession. When Sousa and his band premiered this march in 1925, the troopers rode their beautiful black horses right up on the stage with the band.

Cable Car
Composer-conductor Sammy Nestico, former leader of the U.S. Air Force's jazz ensemble The Airmen of Note and staff arranger for the U.S. Marine Band, is one of the world's most highly respected composers. He has over 600 published works to his credit, ranging from elementary school level to the professional level. He composed Cable Car in 1968, and Frank Cabral, former stall arranger for the U.S. Navy Band, arranged the piece. It seems Mr. Nestico didn't care which military service he was working with, as long as they made good music! Cable Car is one of his first compositions for band, and evokes a carefree ride through the streets of San Francisco on America's only mobile National Monument.

Noisy Wheels of Joy
Eric Whitacre's Noisy Wheels of Joy is just pure, simple fun, written in the tradition of the great comic operatic overtures. The three themes (love, adventure, and boffo) get thrown around the wind band with wild abandon. Mr. Whitacre, an accomplished composer, conductor and clinician, is one of the bright stars in contemporary music. He received his master's degree in composition from the Juilliard School of Music in New York.

Where Never Lark or Eagle Flew
The closing work in our concert is based on the poem High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (1922-1941). Magee, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, had flown up to 33,000 feet in a Spitfire Mk I, and was struck with the inspiration for a poem---"To touch the face of God." He completed the poem later that day after landing, and enclosed the poem on the back of a letter to his parents. The manuscript copy of the poem resides at the Library of Congress, and it has become a mantra of pilots everywhere. American composer James Curnow, one of today's most performed and highly sought-after composers, created this majestic work reflecting Magee's poem and the thrill of flight.

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