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Amherst Redux

March 6, 2006 Uncategorized

Saturday afternoon, Rob Franzblau and I headed back up from Providence to Amherst, MA to hear Laura Rexroth’s joint Wind Ensemble / Symphony Band concert that night. First up was the Symphony Band, taking on Copland’s “Outdoor Overture” – I think they were a little nervous at first, but after it got going, they opened up and played quite well. My own Dusk was second, and by this point, they were much more comfortable, and I thought they did a fantastic job. The tempo worked, and the arc of the piece was satisfying, which is the most important thing in any of my pieces.

The Wind Symphony opened the second half with the lengthy and difficult Sinfonietta by Ingolf Dahl. As with the Symphony Band, I think they weren’t quite focused at first, but eventually zeroed in a bit. Alchemy in Silent Spaces, mvt. I was up next. I think this movement of this piece is the most nerve-wracking of all my pieces for me to listen to. It’s extremely exposed and quiet for several minutes at the beginning, and a single wrong note rings forever. Then there’s the possibility of someone in the audience coughing (and the even worse possibility that that someone might be me, which it almost was at the premiere at IU!). So, hearing this piece two nights in a row was both exhilirating and exhausting (I’m NOT complaining, however!). There were some bobbles here and there in the opening, and once again it sounded like some nervousness in action. It’s evident they know the parts, they just need to relax a little and get ‘in the zone’ – I have no doubt the concert at CBDNA will go really well. The sound and balance of the percussion, harp, and piano was beautiful. And of course, when the band kicks in, it’s always satisfying – all I’ll say is… MORE!!! I always say that, though. Special thanks to Bonnie for the lovely flute solo – do it just like that at CBDNA!

I thought the overal musical effect of the piece was great, and once again, that’s the most important thing – hopefully they won’t take my nitpicking personally – it was really great to work with all of you last week, and I’m sorry we didn’t all get to hang out after the concert. Maybe in New Jersey in a couple of weeks?

I didn’t get a chance to take many pictures with the band, unfortunately, but did manage to get one with Laura just after the concert:

I had a great time, and I have to thank Laura for bringing me in to work with both bands. You all had a lot of meaty music on your plate, and you devoured it with … gusto? I’m not sure where I was going with that metaphor, but you get the idea. Great job, and I had a lot of fun meeting all of you. I’ll see you in New Jersey on March 25th!