The Wichita Eagle
, May 2006
The international classical music label Naxos is known for its wide-ranging catalog and mid-line pricing. The label recently launched a new series of CDs, Wind Band Classics, which will feature music for wind ensemble. The series’ first release features the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble.
The band recorded music of recent vintage, subtle and sophisticated pieces propelled by fiery rhythms and an exciting, tangled interplay between instruments.
The program includes “Redline Tango,” an award-winning piece by John Mackey from 2004; a Concerto for Flute and Wind Band by Michael Mower written in 2004; and the energetic and infectious “Slalom” by Carter Pann, commissioned by KU in 2003.
Also on the CD is “Were You There?”, a tone poem based on the traditional hymn by John P. Lynch, the ensemble’s director; and “The Alcotts,” a setting from Charles Ives’ “Concord Sonata.”
Mower’s three-movement concerto is lively and inviting, full of jazzy licks and happy inflections. The concerto soloist is David Fedele, professor of flute at KU, who negotiates the convoluted melodies with swagger and a real feeling of improvisation.
In Mackey’s “Redline Tango,” the familiar tango rhythm is at first brashly manhandled before woodwinds assert the traditional sultry sway. Nervous, pointed rhythms intrude, though, and carry the piece to a boisterous conclusion.
The band’s performances, led throughout by Lynch, are neatly balanced, full of color and vigor.