About this Recording
8.572528 - Wind Band Music - NELSON, R. / TULL, F. / BARKER, W. / BOYSEN, A. (Fanfare, Capriccio and Rhapsody) (Boyd)

Fanfare, Capriccio and Rhapsody
Ron Nelson • Fisher Tull • Warren Barker • Andrew Boysen


Ron Nelson (b. 1929): Fanfare for the Kennedy Center

Ron Nelson composed Fanfare for the Kennedy Center on a commission for the John and June Hechinger Commissioning Fund in honor of the Center’s 25th anniversary season. The composer offered the following program note for the l995 world premiere: Fanfare for the Kennedy Center is a musical epiphany that moves from darkness to light…from idea (French horns) to fruition (full brass). Two melodic statements of the “idea” are followed by discordant canons in muted brass. A glass-burst from the chimes opens a fully harmonized statement of the “idea”.

Medieval Suite

Nelson’s Medieval Suite was first performed on 18 March l983, for the National Band Association, by Western Michigan University Symphonic Band, Richard Suddendorf, conductor. The suite was drawn from three movements of Nelson’s Mass of St LaSalle, which was commissioned by LaSalle College to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Christian Brothers. The sections correspond to the Kyrie, Gloria, and Agnus Dei. Nelson has provided the following notes:

Medieval Suite was written in homage to three great masters of the Middle Ages: Léonin (middle l2th century), Pérotin (c. 1155–1200), and Machaut (c. l300– 1377). These are neither transcription of their works nor attempts at emulating their respective styles. Rather their music served as a sort of launching pad for three pieces which draw on some of the stylistic characteristics of music from that period, e.g., repetition of rhythmic patterns or modes, modules of sound, proportions that produce octaves, fourths and fifths, use of Gregorian chant, syncopation, and long pedal points where a sustained tone regulates melodic progression.

Homage to Léonin evokes his sinuous melodic style and use of Gregorian chant. Homage to Pérotin springs from his Viderunt, with its driving rhythmic intensity, repetition, and pedal point. Homage to Machaut evokes the stately, gently syncopated and flowing sounds of this master of choral writing.

Fisher Tull (l934–1994): Sketches on a Tudor Psalm

Sketches on a Tudor Psalm, composed in l971 by Fisher Tull, is based on a sixteenth-century setting of the Second Psalm by Thomas Tallis. The original version was in the Phrygian mode with the melody in the tenor voice. A modern adaptation is still used today in Anglican services. Its popularity is evidenced by its employment by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the basis of his Fantasia for String Orchestra in l910.

The introduction sets the harmonic character by emphasizing the juxtaposition of major and minor triads. The theme is first present by solo alto saxophone, continued by horns, and followed by a fully harmonized version from the brass. The variations begin to unfold in an Allegro section with a melody in the clarinets which was constructed from the retrograde of the theme. Subsequently, fragments of the theme are selected from rhythmic and melodic transformation. Finally, the opening harmonic sequence returns in highly punctuated rhythms to herald the recapitulation of the theme. A coda continues the development as the music builds to a triumphal close on a major chord.

Warren Barker (l923–2006): Capriccio

Capriccio (l988) by Warren Barker, for saxophone quartet and band, was commissioned by The Northshore Concert Band (Illinois) and conductor John P. Paynter. Barker freely adapts the rondo form, in the same way Strauss varied this design in Till Eulenspiegel. After a Hollywood-style fanfare the saxophone quartet introduces a tightly wrought refrain. Tempo slows considerably for a gentle, lyrical quartet theme, disguising its melodic affinity to the refrain. The elaborate central section pairs an expressive soprano saxophone melody with plaintive oboe or tenor saxophone echoes. Barker’s final theme, a joyous quartet tune (a la Bewitched) with a playful 3+3+2 rhythm, is divided by a saxophone quartet cadenza. The refrain returns a final time, and the full band contributes a brief, exhilarating coda.

Andrew Boysen, Jr. (b. l968): Symphony for Winds and Percussion No. 1

Andrew Boysen, Jr. is presently the conductor of the Wind Symphony at the University of New Hampshire. His Symphony for Winds and Percussion No. 1 is set in three movements, fast-slow-fast, with each movement using traditional formal structures. The first movement is in sonata allegro form. The pitch material for each theme is comprised of a hexachord, and the two hexachords taken together present all twelve pitches of the chromatic scale. These two sets of pitches form the basis for the pitch material throughout the piece.

The second movement is a sort of chaconne, with a long, plaintive melodic line that is repeated six times over an increasingly complex accompaniment. The third movement is a rondo that includes two main ideas. These two ideas are contrasted by a section in which the bass line creates a repeating pattern using the same pitch material and a section featuring imitative development of the oboe melody. The work climaxes and concludes with a return to some of the first movement material. The piece received its premiere on 8 May l998, at Northwestern University with Stephen Peterson, conductor and was commissioned by Marietta Paynter in memory of her husband, John P. Paynter.

Fisher Tull: Rhapsody for Trumpet and Winds

Rhapsody for Trumpet and Winds by Fisher Tull is a work of moderate proportions also set in a theme and variations format. After a brief introduction, initiating a seven-note motif which later assumes prominence, the tripartite theme is presented by the solo trumpet.

The percussion section introduces the first variation. This rapid section utilizes the three portions of the theme as separate melodies within the form of the classical rondo. The subsequent slow variation is reminiscent of the theme but allows for development of the material by the soloist through a more expansive melodic line. The final variation opens with a fanfare-like figure from the brasses which is based on the aforementioned introductory motif. This leads into a rhythmically complex section featuring virtuosic displays from the solo trumpet coupled with several dialogues between the soloist and the winds. A cadenza leads directly into a recapitulation of the theme with soloist and ensemble sharing a dramatic restatement of the opening motif.

The trumpet soloist on this recording is a young Vincent DiMartino.

John Boyd

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