4/29/13 ASHLAND, Ohio - Ashland University Department of Music concludes a busy semester of live music with the annual Variable Winds band concert under the direction of Leonard Salvo and guest conductor Arie Lipsky on Sunday, May 5, at 4 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre.
With performances by the Ashland University Concert Band and Ashland Area Community Concert Band, the program includes pieces of celebration and songs along with an opportunity to recognize senior Concert Band members for their dedication and contribution to the AU Band program. Admission to the concert is complimentary and open to the public.
The concert begins with the Ashland Area Community Concert Band, under the direction of Salvo, performing Vaclav Nelheybel's High Plains, a concert march in the European Style which was commissioned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the High Plains Band Camp and its founder/director H.G. Palmer. The second piece, Jubilance, An Overture by Caesar Giovannini is a contemporary musical portrayal of exultation and of depression.
The music has an insistent drive, a restless energy that speaks especially of the hectic life of the modern world. The one exception to the general restlessness is the broad, singing melody in the middle of the piece with the flutes then the clarinets, horns and lastly saxophones while various percussion instruments are also prominent as a kinetic, rhythmic thrust to propel the listener through the piece.
AACCB continues with Air for Band by Frank Erickson and concludes its portion of the concert with Sea Song Fantasy by John Wasson which was commissioned by Symphonicity (the Symphony Orchestra of Virginia Beach) and premiered for the opening of their new concert hall in November 2007. The work features a wide variety of sea shanties in various styles, ranging from well-known melodies to more obscure songs of the sea. All are combined into an exciting work featuring virtually every instrument and family in the ensemble.
After a brief intermission, the Ashland University Concert Band begins their portion of the concert under the direction of Salvo with Donald Grantham's Exhilaration and Midnight Cry from Southern Harmony, which has a somewhat exotic sound to modern audiences with harmonizations that are regarded as inventive, unique and powerfully representative of the American character.
The concert continues with Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy, which has been recognized as a cornerstone of the wind band repertoire. Commissioned by the American Bandmasters Association and premiered at their convention with the composer conducting, "This bunch of 'musical wildflowers’" is based on folksongs collected in Lincolnshire, England, in six movements of which the Concert Band will present four including the first, second, fifth and sixth (Lisbon, Horkstow Grang, Lord Melbourne and Lost Lady Found, respectively.
Guest conductor Maestro Lipsky will then direct Procession of Nobles by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, which was transcribed for concert band by Erik Leidzen. With an opening brass fanfare announcing the entry of the nobility in this cortege from the opera "Mlada," woodwinds provide the regal flourishes that embellish the work. In his capacity as Artist in Residence for Ashland University, Lipsky's duties include working with students, performing groups and addressing classes in the Department of Music.
As guest conductor, the AU Concert Band looks forward to his expertise, energy and enthusiasm, according to Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events. “This is a true benefit of our music students, music program and the entire community. Arie is a truly world-class musician, and it is a rare opportunity for our students and faculty to work closely with someone of his stature.”
Salvo returns to the conductor's podium for Variations on a Korean Folk Song by John Barnes Chance. While stationed with the U.S. Army in Korea in the late 1950s, Chance became fascinated by the popular folk melody “Arirang,” using it as the basis for his Variations on a Korean Folk Song. “Arirang” is a traditional Korean song of love and heartbreak, possibly originating 1000 years ago. The pentatonic theme is heard at the outset of this composition and is contrasted with five variations. In 1966, this piece received the Ostwald Award from the American Bandmasters Association. To close the concert, the AU Concert Band will perform Esprit de Corps by Robert Jager. Based on The Marines' Hymn, this work is a fantasy-march, as well as a tribute to the United States Marine Band. Full of energy and drama, the composition has its solemn moments and its lighter moments.
Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2013, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###