About this Recording
8.574087 - Wind Concertos - BOTTI, S. / TURNER, J.L. / GRYC, S.M. (Heavy Weather) (Koffman, Mendoker, M. Goldberg, Hartt Wind Ensemble, Adsit)

Heavy Weather
Wind Concertos


Susan Botti (b. 1962): sull’ala (2014)

Susan Botti’s eclectic background and experiences are reflected in her music incorporating traditional, improvisational, and non-classical styles. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize, and she has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts.

Commissions include works for The Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Recent premieres include Glaze, given by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra with Carlos Izcaray, and Bird Songs for solo soprano ‘in a nest of percussion’, commissioned and premiered by Lucy Shelton. Works for wind ensemble include Cosmosis for soprano, wind ensemble, and women’s chorus, and Terra Cruda – both commissioned by a consortium led by the University of Michigan (Michael Haithcock) and The Hartt School at the University of Hartford (Glen Adsit).

In addition to performing her own vocal works, Botti specialises in the performance of contemporary music by composers of diverse styles, including the role of Water in Tan Dun’s opera, Marco Polo (Sony Classical).


sull’ala (‘on the wing’) is inspired by flight. Some of the different physical properties of flight suggested different musical expressions of rhythm, harmony and texture. The relationship of soloist to ensemble reflects the individual flyer’s relationship to surrounding elements. The murmurations are small bridge movements for the soloist and sax sextet. (A ‘murmuration’ is a group of starlings, whose mesmerising group acrobatics fill the sky in sweeping clouds.)

Susan Botti


Jess Langston Turner (b. 1983): Heavy Weather (2013)

Jess Langston Turner composes contemporary instrumental and choral music. He holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in trumpet performance from Bob Jones University, a Master’s degree in composition from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, and a Doctorate in composition from Indiana University Bloomington.

Turner has been the recipient of several national US awards, his accolades including First Prize at the Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Composition Award, placing as finalist in the ASCAP Lotte Lehmann Art Song Competition for Young Composers and the Morton Gould Young Composer Awards (twice), and winning the John Ness Beck Award for Choral Composition, the 2011 Walter Beeler Memorial Prize, and the Merrill Jones Composition Contest for Young Bands. In recent years he has also served as composer in residence for many universities and high schools around the country.

Turner’s teachers have included Dwight Gustafson, Kenneth Steen, Robert Carl, Don Freund, Sven-David Sandström, Aaron Travers, and P.Q. Phan. In addition, he has participated in masterclasses with prominent American composers Dan Welcher, Nancy Galbraith, Michael Colgrass, Jennifer Higdon, William Bolcom and Joseph Schwantner. Turner is frequently commissioned by many ensembles, ranging from middle school to professional, and his compositions have been performed by a variety of groups, including the Rivertree Singers of South Carolina, the West Point Band, the U.S. Coast Guard Band, the United States Marine Band, and the United States Navy Band, as well as numerous prominent college and high school wind band programmes around the US and the world.


Heavy Weather seeks to describe two powerful meteorological phenomena that can cause much damage and discomfort to humans—a heat wave and a supercell. Rather than simply describing how one may be affected by a first-hand experience with one of these weather events, Heavy Weather depicts the natural processes involved.

The first movement, Heat Wave, describes a highpressure system that slowly builds over a large area of the countryside. As the high-pressure system strengthens, warm air (which naturally has the tendency to rise) is trapped close to ground level. As the system stalls, the mass of warm air builds, and the temperature on the ground soars to unbearable extremes.

Whereas a heat wave is the result of an overly stable atmosphere, a supercell is a product of a highly unstable atmosphere. When a cold dry air mass collides with a warm moist air mass, supercell thunderstorms can form. Compared to a normal thunderstorm, a supercell is much more severe and longer-lived. As the thunderheads build darker and higher, an upwardly rotating column of air (called the ‘updraft’) forms. The updraft is responsible for the formation of hail, and ultimately is essential in the formation of one of the most terrifying forces of nature: the tornado. As the storm slowly abates and then dissipates, tenuous stability returns to the atmosphere—until next time.

Jess Langston Turner


Stephen Michael Gryc (b. 1949): Guignol (2017)

Stephen Michael Gryc’s expertise in writing for orchestral instruments has brought him commissions from some of the world’s leading soloists, including the principal trumpet and trombone players of the New York Philharmonic. Gryc’s music for large ensembles has been performed by groups such as the Minnesota Orchestra and the United States Marine Band. The composer has won awards such as the Rudolf Nissim Prize for orchestral composition from the ASCAP Foundation. Gryc’s works are published by companies in New York and Paris, and his discography spans nine different commercial labels. Gryc earned four degrees in music from the University of Michigan where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Leslie Bassett and William Bolcom. He is professor emeritus of music composition at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford where he taught for 35 years. In 2002 the University of Hartford presented him with the James and Frances Bent Award for Artistic Achievement.


The character of Guignol was created at the beginning of the 19th century by a dentist in Lyon, France, who attracted customers to his chair by presenting puppet shows. The verbally adept puppet characters were based on those of the Italian commedia dell’arte, and the stories were relevant to the social concerns of the day so the shows attracted adults as well as children. The scenarios inevitably ended with the clever and courageous Guignol defeating evildoers. The satirical music of the Concerto epitomises the witty banter and frenetic action of a puppet show, with the soloist playing the part of the comic hero.

Guignol was commissioned by conductor J. Thomas Seddon IV and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse for bassoonist Richard Hoenich. The Concerto was completed in December of 2016 and was premiered on 23 April 2017 by soloist Hoenich and the UWL Wind Ensemble conducted by Dr Thomas Seddon.

Stephen Michael Gryc

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