On Sunday, May 20, the Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble will present a program with a theme of “Rhythms of Life.” The free band concert, conducted by Dr. Keith Wharton, will begin at 4:00 p.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Cross and High Streets, Chestertown.
The concert will open with “Ignition,” a raucously energetic piece by Todd Stalter that is characterized by consecutive rising three-note cells that are the building blocks for almost the entire work. The following “Choreography,” by Robert Sheldon, draws its inspiration from dance movements found in contemporary stage, ballet, and theatrical productions. It opens with fast-paced, infectious beat patterns before yielding to a contrasting lyrical section with long, flowing lines.
“Reverberations,” by Baltimorean Brian Balmages, is based on a two-note pattern (a minor 3rd) and explores the concept of sound as it echoes through the ensemble, with timbres and harmonies constantly changing and evolving.
Richard Saucedo’s “Pulsation” (with a subtitle of “A ‘Groove’ for ‘Grove’”) is written entirely in one tempo but in rapidly alternating mixed meters, creating an ingenious effect of pulsating motion along with layers of textures and sounds.
Another Todd Stalter piece, “Rampage!”, is a relentless, aggressive work requiring playing with both force and finesse, with strong statements in the brass, interweaving woodwind parts, and a contrasting introspective section.
“The Trojan Trombones,” played by the band’s trombone and tuba sections, will provide a featured interlude. Written in 1976 by “Tommy” Pederson, trombonist extraordinaire (the go-to Hollywood trombonist for more than 20 years) and prolific composer for trombone, this Pederson medley was intended to be played by all the trombones of the huge, showy University of Southern California Band.
“Spontaneous Combustion,” by Robert Sheldon, lives up to its title. It starts explosively and keeps moving energetically, with shifting tonalities, tuneful melodies, mixed meters, and bombastic percussion driving it to the very end.
“Three Ayres from Gloucester,” written by American composer Hugh M. Stuart in an early English folksong style, resulted from his fascination with a 10th-century English couplet with a pronunciation quirk. The three “ayres” (“The Jolly Earl of Cholmondeley,” “Ayre for Eventide,” and “The Fiefs of Wembley”) were crafted to capture the rhythms of life of peasants on the fiefs (lands) of Wembley Castle.
“Sabre Dance,” from the ballet Gayane, written by Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian in 1942, is one of the catchiest and most familiar tunes of the 20th century. From the ballet’s last act, it accompanies a fast and furious Armenian dance, performed by men whirling ferocious-looking sabres. Over a simple repeated rhythmic pattern a dance melody drops by chromatic degrees, suggesting the flashing of the sabres.
The program will conclude with the title piece of The Lord of the Dance, an Irish musical and dance extravaganza created, choreographed, directed, and produced by Irish-American dancer Michael Flatley. Premiered in Dublin in 1996, with several troupes of dancers formed in 1997, the show has been touring the world ever since, usually performing in large arenas and stadiums rather than conventional theaters. The story follows the character Lord of the Dance (initially played by Flatley) and his fight against the evil dark lord Don Dorcha, to prevent him from taking over Planet Ireland. Irish composer Ronan Hardiman based this piece on the now-familiar song “Simple Gifts,” written in 1848 by an elder in an American Shaker community.
Directed by Dr. Keith Wharton, longtime music teacher in the Kent County Public Schools, the Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble is an all-ages community concert band formed to offer area wind and percussion musicians an opportunity to continue or return to the pleasures of playing quality music in a large ensemble—and to present such music to the public. New members are always welcome, without audition or fee. For further information, call 410-778-2829 or 410-810-1834. The ensemble is partially supported by the Kent County Arts Council.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Cross and High Streets
Chestertown, MD 21620