Homepage Update - February 2011
Once again it is time to wish everyone, albeit for some belatedly, for some rather early, a very happy Diwali, Eid Al-Addha, Hannukah, Yule, Christmas, Parairvana Day and New Year, whether you are on the beach or by the fire. Below is a seasonal Greetings Card.
Greetings to all who have happened upon this website. My webmaster and I hope that you will find some interesting ideas for repertoire for 2011-2012. Over 5,000 unique hits in the last month again, even over 120 on Christmas Day! Thanks for the interest, and please get in touch with me at email@example.com if I can help at all.
Last year there should have been three, probably more, major wind orchestra premieres by composers of international stature in USA. Should premieres of works by Skrowaczewski, Chen Yi and Aaron Lee Kernis really be ignored by our three great national and international wind music associations? Some news below garnered off the web. Furthermore, there were three major premieres in UK of works by Adam Gorb, news below, and probably many others worldwide of which we know nothing, no news.
As usual, the emphasis is on repertoire. Two great new works by Adam Gorb were premiered this Autumn to capacity audiences, brief reviews below. Nigel Clarke had a world premiere earlier last year, while from Mexico Leroy Osman has written a stunning new work for cello, saxophone and percussion, in Canada a new work emerged for school band by Polish composer, Norbert Palej, and at the Mid-west the US Marines played a revised version of Larry Bitensky's wonderful trumpet concerto. Another major concerto for trumpet and wind should have been premiered in New York after Christmas on December 28th at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, but the snows delayed it once again. The New York Philharmonic and Philip Smith, the principal trumpet, were offering the world premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis's A Voice, a Messenger, a concerto inspired by Biblical passages describing musical instruments; meanwhile news has filtered through of the long awaited premiere of Music for Winds by Skrowaczewski, rather less of Dragon Rhymes by Chen Yi.
Meanwhile, I get emails almost daily thanking me for suggestions on repertoire, so I guess we will continue with the service, hopefully improved on 2010 where I disported myself conducting orchestras instead of writing imperishable rubbish for this site. So back to normal this year!PLAUDITS
I sometimes wonder how useful this website is, and then every so often an email arrives which makes it all worth-while. This came from Jim Kull of St. Charles East High School Bands, St Charles Illinois
"OH MAN, WHAT A PIECE"
I am programming the Connor (Tails aus dem Vood Viennoise - Maecenas) on our next concert in early March. We did a first reading on it today, and oh man, what a piece! It will be such a great experience to get them to focus on presenting a large scale work of such emotional intensity. I am really looking forward to the challenge. I noticed a program note on your website about the piece. Was that written by the composer, or does it come from elsewhere?
Along with this we will be playing Illyrian Dances (Guy Woolfenden - Ariel) (too much for us to learn for our December concert, but we have some great work started), and we will play Improvisations, Rhythms in May (Andreas Makris - Ballerbach) . Thank you so much for your recommendations of these pieces-I really appreciate the time you took to send them to me.
And from New Paltz, New York
First of all, happy holidays to you and your family. I am writing to let you know that I am enjoying yet another work you have commissioned. We have started working on Deep Soul Diving with my high school wind ensemble here at New Paltz High School, and my students are benefiting from yet another work that you are responsible for. Thank you for making these works possible.
From Slovenia, Novak Matevz wrote:
Works with major melodic line are the best for my band. This year we won Grand Prix of Hungary and we played Paris Sketches. Specially the 3rd movement was great, and your information on your webpage was really helpful for me when I was building the piece with my band
Follow these works up in complete performances on the Maecenas site.
I was sorry to miss seeing dozens of friends at the Mid-West last month; too expensive, too commercial, too cold and I am getting too old, though I hope to get there in 2011 to celebrate 30 years of commissioning over on this side of the Pond. The danger of the Mid-West and the various conferences is that it is so easy to overlook any piece of music, often lost in the welter of mediocrity, but who am I to accuse any work of mediocrity. I recently came across Sunan Dances by Dorothy Chang in a recording by the US Marine Band, link below. I then discovered that I had heard it in Singapore and that my review of the Chinese Youth Corps Wind Orchestra (Taiwan) did not mention this work. Hearing it played superbly by the Marines under Michael Colbourn has reminded me of the pitfalls of making off-the-cuff decisions on the strength of one performance. Mea culpa, its worth hearing!
Have a great year,