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Merlin Patterson
Fanfare, September 2012

Frank Ticheli has established himself as one of the foremost composers of music for wind band. His works are performed with great regularity at both the high school and university levels and he has been the recipient of several prestigious awards and numerous commissions. His three-movement Symphony No. 2 was inspired by various forms of celestial light. The first movement, “Shooting Stars,” will remind many of Stravinsky’s Fireworks. “Dreams Under a New Moon,” the second movement, incorporates some Bernstein-inspired blues influences with chantlike material in a dreamy nocturne, while the finale, “Apollo Unleashed,” contrasts a Bach chorale…with boisterous, Hollywood-derived battle music. The cumulative effect of the work is undeniably exciting in a superficial way.

The Middle Tennessee State Wind Ensemble demonstrates itself to be a highly accomplished group…Ensemble intonation, precision, and balance are excellent, and conductor Reed Thomas delivers convincing interpretations of the four works. This release is part of Naxos’s valuable Wind Band Classics series. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2011

Their former student, Frank Ticheli, and his two mentors, William Bolcom and Leslie Bassett, come together on this highly enjoyable disc of wind band music. Born in 1958, Ticheli is among the most highly regarded younger generation of American composers, having gained much in the art of band compositions from his teachers at the University of Michigan. With a personal style of harmonic language, his Second Symphony completed in 2004 relating to the Stars, Moon and Sun, each of the three movements highly descriptive and needing considerable technical expertise from the performers. Mercurial in the opening Shooting Stars; hard hitting in Dreams under a New Moon and rhythmically demanding in the final Apollo Unleashed. Four years later came Angels in Architecture, a score inspired by the Sydney Opera House and first performed there in 2008. The angel is represented by the solo soprano who makes two short appearances in an extended tone poem where massive outbursts appear like blinding flashes of light. Apart from this quoted Shaker song, we have a Hebrew melody and the well-known Christian hymn on the tune of the Old Hundredth. The aim was to bring together the universal hope of peace and love. Leslie Bassett’s Nonet for winds and piano dates from 1968, its two movements well crafted and immediately likeable. William Bolcom needs no introduction as a father figure among American composers, his First Symphony for Band from 2008 shaped in four short movements that fall easily on the ear, the quirky scherzo a particular delight. There are a few moments of uneasy intonation and split notes as we progress through the disc, but this is a highly talented and impressive student group. Reed Thomas directs and has been involved in the mechanics of a first rate recording.

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