May 2013 Concert Notes
Two Works by Frank Ticheli
Frank Ticheli (born January 21, 1958 in Monroe, Louisiana) is an American composer of orchestral, choral, chamber, and concert band works. He lives in Los Angeles, California, where he is a Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California. He was the Pacific Symphony’s composer in residence from 1991 to 1998, composing numerous works for that orchestra. A number of his works have become standards in the concert band repertoire.
An American Elegy was composed in memory of those who lost their lives at Columbine High School in 1999 and in honor of the survivors. Ticheli said, “It is offered as a tribute to their great strength and courage. . . . I hope the work can also serve as one reminder of how fragile and precious life is and how intimately connected we all are as human beings.” Calling the work “an expression of hope,” Ticheli incorporated the school’s Alma Mater in the closing section. You can listen to it here.
Ticheli has this to say about his San Antonio Dances. “The dances were composed as a tribute to a special city, whose captivating blend of Texan and Hispanic cultural influences enriched my life during my three years as a young music professor at Trinity University….The first movement depicts the seductively serene Alamo Gardens and its beautiful live oak trees that provide welcome shade from the hot Texas sun. A tango mood and lazily winding lines give way to a brief but powerful climax depicting the Alamo itself.
The second movement’s lighthearted and joyous music celebrates San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk…. Picture a group of friends seated at an outdoor patio of one of the Riverwalk’s many Tex-Mex restaurants, enjoying the scenery, the food, the company. In time, the evening settles in, the air cools, the mood brightens, the crowd picks up, and music is heard from every direction. Before you know it, the whole place is one giant fiesta that could go on forever.” Listen to it.
January 2013 Concert Notes
Suite of Old American Dances by Robert Russell Bennett
Robert Russell Bennett (1894-1981) (not to be confused with the British composer Richard Rodney Bennett) was best known as the premiere orchestrator for Broadway shows and films. George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Kurt Weil, and Richard Rogers all depended on him to make their shows sparkle. Bennett also has a considerable catalog of original compositions to his credit.
The Suite of Old American Dances for band is one of his best known works. It was written for famous Goldman Band and premiered by them in Central Park in 1949. The dance styles of the movements were familiar dances from Bennett’s youth. He later arranged the work for orchestra. Hear the Cincinnati Wind Symphony perform this work.
Courtly Airs and Dances Suite by Ron Nelson
Ron Nelson’s work is also a dance suite, but in this case the dances that inspired him come from Europe in the fifteenth century. It opens with a fanfare-like Intrada followed by the Basse Danse (France), Pavane (England), Saltarello (Italy), Sarabande (Spain), and Allemande (Germany). Each has a distinctive rhythm. Hear the Sota Wind Ensemble perform it on YouTube.
Which composer listed below did not use dance rhythms in his music:
See Symphony Program notes for the answer.
Answer to Symphony trivia quiz: Ravel wrote a Scheherazade for mezzo-soprano and orchestra.