Wind Ensemble Program
November 19, 2020
Valdosta State University
Benjamin Harper, conductor
Procession of the Nobles (1889), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mlada, first produced in 1892, almost defies the effort to describe it. In form, it is half-opera and half-ballet, and its libretto is unbelievably complex, even by the standards of opera librettos. Set a thousand years ago in an imaginary kingdom called Retra on the shores of the Baltic, Mlada tries to fuse Wagnerian opera with ancient Russian legend, and the result is an absolutely fantastic story. Princess Mlada, a role that is danced rather than sung, has been murdered by her rival Voyslava, who sets out to secure the love of Yaromir, Mlada’s lover. The story involves magic, evil spirits, and trips into the underworld, and at the climax, an entire village is submerged by an overflowing lake and Yaromir and Mlada are seen ascending on a rainbow.
Mlada has not held the stage, and the only familiar music from it is the Procession of the Nobles, the orchestral introduction to Act II, which begins with a festival of tradespeople. The music bursts to life with a rousing brass flourish, soon followed by the processional music, a noble tune for strings in E-flat major. This is music of color and energy, and in the opera it is punctuated by shouts from the crowd at the festival. A central section just as vigorous as the opening leads to a return of the march tune and a rousing close.
Chorale and Alleluia (1954), Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
Thetheus White, graduate conductor
Howard Hanson was one of the most important figures in the American musical world. He exerted widespread influence as a composer, conductor, and educator. Born in Wahoo, Nebraska, in 1896, Hanson studied music at the Institute of Musical Art, New York, and at Northwestern University. In 1921, he was the first composer to enter the American Academy in Rome, having won its Prix de Rome. Upon his return to the United States in 1924, he became director of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. The Pulitzer Prize, awarded to him in 1944 for his Symphony No. 4, is one of the many honors and distinctions he had received both in this country and abroad.
Chorale and Alleluia was completed in January, 1954, and was Hanson’s first work for symphonic band. It was given its premiere on February 26 at the convention of the American Band Masters Association at West Point with Colonel William Santelmann, leader of the U.S. Marine Band conducting.
The composition opens with a fine flowing chorale. Soon the joyous Alleluia theme appears and is much in evidence throughout. A bold statement of a new melody makes its appearance in lower brasses in combination with the above themes. The effect is one of cathedral bells, religious exaltation, solemnity, and dignity.
The music is impressive, straightforward, and pleasingly non-dissonant, and its resonance and sonority are ideally suited to the medium of the modern symphonic band.
English Folk Song Suite (1923), Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
- March - "Seventeen Come Sunday," "Dives and Lazarus"
- Intermezzo - "My Bonny Boy," "Green Bushes"
- March - "Blow Away the Morning Dew," "High Germany," "The Tree So High," "John Barleycorn"
Skye Holmes, guest conductor
Folk Song Suite was commissioned by the band of the Royal Military School of Music. It was premiered on 4 July 1923, at Kneller Hall, H.E. Adkins conducting. In three movements, the suite contains many different folk songs from the Norfolk and Somerset regions of England, including Seventeen Come Sunday, Pretty Caroline, Dives and Lazarus, My Bonny Boy, Green Bushes, Blow Away the Morning Dew, High Germany, and The Tree So High. Historically, the suite is considered (along with Gustav Holst’s two suites for military band) to be a cornerstone work in the literature, and one of the earliest “serious” works for the wind band.
Ralph Vaughan Williams was an influential British composer and folk-song collector. His powerful and expressive orchestral music is notable for its very “English” sound. His early adventures collecting folk songs in the English countryside profoundly influenced his later compositions. Along with Gustav Holst, his works for wind band form a foundation for the serious literature in that medium.
Variants on a Medieval Tune (1963), Norman Dello Joio (1913-2008)
Norman Dello Joio began his musical career at the age of 14 as a church organist and choir director in New York. With a father who was an organist, singer, and vocal coach, he grew up surrounded by musicians and music in the home. He studied at Juilliard and taught at Sarah Lawrence, Mannes College of Music, and Boston University. He wrote many works for chorus, orchestra, band, solo voice, chamber, concertos, operas, ballets, and television scores.
In dulci jubilo is a melody that has been used by many composers, among them Johann Sebastian Bach, as the subject for a variety of musical works. Norman Dello Joio was inspired by it to compose a set of variations. They consist of a brief introduction, the theme, and five “variants” which send the medieval melody through five true metamorphoses, strongly contrasting in tempo and character, and utilizing the possibilities of the band to the highest degree.
Leonardo Orellana, piccolo
Colton Smith, bass
Aiyana Turner, E-flat
Jaylon Farley, alto
Joshua Mclean, tenor
Jesse Ratliff, bari
James West, alto
Oscar De La Rosa
George Weathers, bass
Department of Music
- 1500 N. Patterson St. Valdosta, Georgia 31698
1500 N. Patterson St.
Valdosta, GA 31698
- Phone: 229.333.5804
- Fax: 229.259.5578
8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.