Mower, Michael, MACKEY: Redline Tango / MOWER: Flute Concerto / PANN: Slalom (David Fedele/ John P Lynch/ University of Kansas Wind Ensemble) (Naxos: 8.570074), Fedele, David
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Redline Tango - Music for Wind Band
Carter Pann (b. 1972): Slalom
Carter Pann's honours in composition include the K. SerockiCompetition and a Grammy nomination for his Piano Concerto
, first prizesin the Zoltan Kodaly and Fran?ºois d'Albert Concours Internationales de Composition,a Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and five ASCAPcomposer awards. His works have been performed by the London Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, NationalSymphony of Ireland, Stockholm Radio Symphony, the Czech State Philharmonic,and the Seattle Symphony. Slalom
for Wind Ensemble is his first work forband. Carter Pann holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University o f Michigan.
for Wind Ensemble was commissioned in 2003 by the University of Kansas. It is a taste of the thrill of downhill ski-ing. The work is performed at a severe tempothroughout showcasing the wind ensemble's volatility and endurance. The ideafor a piece like this came directly out of a wonderful discovery I made severalyears ago at Steamboat Springs, Colorado when I embarked on the mountain-basegondola with a cassette-player and headphones. At the time I was treatingmyself to large doses of Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony
and Rachmaninov'sSymphonic Dances
. The exhilaration of barreling down the Rockies with such music pumping into my ears was overwhelming. After a few years of ski-ingwith some of the greatest repertoire, it occurred to me that I could customizethe experience. The work is presented as a collection of scenes and events onemight come by on the slopes. The score is peppered with phrase-headings for thedifferent sections such as "First Run", "Open Meadow, Champagne Powder","Straight Down, TUCK", and "On One Ski, Gyrating", amongothers. In this way Slalom
shares its programmatic feature with that ofRichard Strauss's Alpine Symphony
. The similarities end there, however, forSlalom
lasts ten minutes ... precisely the amount of time I needed to getfrom Storm Peak (the peak of Mt. Werner, Steamboat Springs) to the mountainbase.
Charles Ives (1874-1954), arr. Jonathan Elkus: The Alcotts
At once revered and reviled, Charles Ives is one of America's most colourful 20th-century musical icons. An insurance salesmen by trade and amusician at heart, Ives uses the commonplace and the strikingly dissonantside-by-side. It is music both distinctive and personal.
is a re-imagining of the lyrical third movement of Ives's ConcordSonata
. Jonathan Elkus, an eminent Ives historian and former arranger forthe United States Marine Band, provides us this wonderful setting. For Ives,the Concord Sonata
was a summation of his worldview and aestheticphilosophy (ideas expounded on in his literary commentary Essays before aSonata
). The three main ideas presented in the sonata include the idea ofhonest, robust self-reliance embraced in the utopian mysticism of thecommonplace associated with the New England Transcendentalists. The second ideapresented in The Alcotts
is the reaction against the intellectual trendsof the world of his time in favour of the innocence and naivete of his home in Danbury, Connecticut. The third idea is Ives's personal obsession with the issue of artmusic's presumed threat to his masculine identity. It surfaces in the sonata asa mixture of shock and dissonance and confrontation. The Alcotts
representsboth the idea of home and a real historic family. Ives conjures up the humbleAlcott parlour where we can hear the old spinet piano Sophia Thoreau gave tothe Alcott children on which Beth played the old Scotch airs, the "fifthsymphony," and a missionary tune. The movement opens in B flat and ispervaded by what Ives calls the "human-faith-melody" that floats above Concord and rings out at the climax near the end, elevating ustranscendentally a whole step higher to C major.
Michael Mower (b. 1958): Concerto for Flute and Wind Band
Concerto for Flute and Wind Band
was composed in 2004 by MichaelMower and commissioned by a small consortium of universities including the University of Kansas. Mower is a native of England and has been composing "cross-over"music for many years fusing classical and jazz styles. This concerto marks hisfirst major work for the wind band medium. A variety of popular stylesincluding swing, Latin, and rock are utilised in the concerto and theorchestration includes a drum set and upright bass. Jazz rhythms andinflections are found throughout, especially in the outer movements. The middlemovement, by contrast, is more free flowing and impressionistic. The flutewriting is virtuosic with technical and stylistic demands throughout.
Mike Mower works as a composer, mainly writing newlycommissioned works. His music is published by Itchy Fingers Publications, forwhich he has written a series of very successful books of educational standard music.
He also works as an arranger for commercial music in a wide range of styles andcombinations. He studied flute at the Royal Academy of Music in London and was later awarded the ARAM (Associate of the Royal Academy of Music). As afreelance musician he has played and recorded with jazz, rock and classical artistsas diverse as Gil Evans, Tina Turner, Paul Weller, Bjork, James Galway andRyuichi Sakamoto. As a composer and arranger he has written for numerous Big Bandsincluding the BBC Big Band and Radio Orchestra, NDR Radio Big Band, the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, the University of Kentucky and the Texas Tech Wind Orchestra.
Individual artists such as James Galway, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, Clare Southworthand the Safri Duo have commissioned works from him as well as numerousensembles from saxophone quartets to string quartets. He has arranged orchestralpop scores for styles as diverse as for Pop Boy Bands, MOR covers, and for theEurovision Song Contest.
John P. Lynch (b. 1963): Were You There?
Were You There?
by John P. Lynch is a tone-poem based on the traditionalhymn tune. The title becomes a philosophic rhetorical question examiningvarious contemporary views of the message of religion. The introduction hintsat the hymn tune and is followed by the river motive marked "flowing",a metaphor for life. Two new themes are then introduced. The first marked"with conviction" is strong and righteous representing the literalinterpretation of the message of Christianity and is vaguely reminiscent ofanother traditional hymn. This gives way to the second original theme marked"tenderly" which expresses a looser interpretation based uponcompassion. The following section re-introduces the flowing river idea, nowwith a sense of stasis reflecting Buddhist philosophy, in which the themes are presentedas questions. A circular contrapuntal motive appears in the piano presentingthe atheist viewpoint. This section culminates in the most straightforward statementof "Were You There?
" The piece draws to a close with aforceful presentation of the three main themes in juxtaposition, leaving thefinal conclusion up to the listener.
John Mackey (b. 1973): Redline Tango
*Winnerof the American Bandmaster's Association Ostwald Composition Contest, 2005.