Saturday, January 27, 2007

Stirke Up the Bands Wind Ensembles

An annual tradition took place last night: the All-Region Bands concert in my part of town (with "part of town" being relative this year, as the school where it was held was in the eleventh quadrant of the far western spiral arm of the Galaxy, with the added oddity of having the school auditorium in the back of the school and nowhere near any parking; I felt bad for the older gentleman who was headed there in a shuffling gait and the band kid on crutches who was carrying his trumpet as well).

This year's concert was very similar to last year's (which was also blogged) in terms of efficiency; every band played exactly when it was supposed to play, even if the previous band got done early, and there were plenty of seats for all comers. They've really got this down to a science now. They no longer have the 4A band, which in my case provided me an early exit, as the top tenor and bari were from 4A schools (my two who made 5A Area competition were thus the tops in their classification but second in their rooms). This was actually a good thing, as I was coming straight to the concert from teaching, with no time for dinner along the way.

Once again, this concert reinforced the idea that I like the newer style of wind music much better than its older counterpart. As I said last year,
Tonight also reminded me once again how much more I like "wind ensemble" music than traditional "band" music. Sure, I'm a sucker for a good march (which makes sense, seeing as how my first two widely-performed compositions were marches), but the more orchestral style of wind writing that's employed today just draws me a lot deeper into the music than most of the old band "warhorses" do. (It doesn't hurt that a lot of wind ensemble writing draws heavily from the modern film-scoring sound...which reminds me--sometime soon, I need to write the post about "How Film Scoring 'Saved' Modern Classical Music.") The effective use of the different colors of the winds, along with the expanded percussion section, really heightens the overall appeal of the genre. I wasn't familiar with a lot of the compositions I heard tonight, but I would definitely acquire some of them on CD for when I'm in a classical mood (yes, it happens)>
One of the bands played something from an older era, and it was striking to me how there was just something missing in the old-style writing. Sure, I loves me some Festive Overture and Second Suite in F, but the new stuff just grabs my attention as a listener much more. (And yes, a year later, I still need to write the post about film scoring and its beneficial effect on contemporary classical music.)

Congrats once again to all of those who made the bands this year (I had nine people make it from my studio, which I think is way more than a year ago). As much as we all get tired of hearing the audition music by December, it's still a great honor to be selected.

Strke Up the (Marching) Bands (10/29/06)
Strike Up the Bands (1/20/06)
Region: A View from the Audience (1/25/04)

Least surprising headline of the week: Scientists can't get sloth to move.

Interesting hybrid products of the week: Coffee stout (yes, we're talking beer here) and caffeinated doughnuts.

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