Friday, October 3, 2008

Concert Preview

Before I get to the first concert preview of the season, just a reminder. One weekend of performances is in the books for the Modjeska Youth Theater's production of West Side Story. But you still have one more weekend of performances. Don't miss the show, it's a good one. As an aside, a number of different community music groups are represented by the members of the pit orchestra: Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Waukesha Area Symphonic Band, Wauwatosa Community Band, and the Knightwind Ensemble. Here's another example of community musicians improving the lifestyle in the area. And don't forget the good work that the Modjeska Youth Theater Company does. Kids can be a part of the performances ONLY if they have a B or better average in school. Definitely a group worth supporting! And the shows very good!

Also for those of you in the Sheboygan area, the Milwaukee Festival Brass performs next week Sunday the 11th at St. Mark's Lutheran Church. Here's a link to an article about that upcoming concert from the Sheboygan Press:

And onto the first concert preview of the season. Many of you know that I volunteer for the Knightwind Ensemble. As a result, I get to know about the music for their concerts very early in the season. So I thought I would describe a few of the selections for the November 23rd concert. (Be sure to put that on your calendar and to visit their web site:

I have to write about a charming march that is on the program: The Padstow Lifeboat by Englishman Malcolm Arnold (arranged by Ray Woodfield). First a bit about the composer. He was very active in writing for motion pictures: 132 film scores. His most famous is from the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai, for which he won an Oscar in 1958. While he wrote many works for band, he also wrote chamber music, operas, and nine symphonies. This march, written for the opening of a new lifeboat station in Padstow in 1968, has a distinctive foghorn sound within it. The opening tune is in the key of A flat, and the foghorn sounds are in D. So the foghorn sound, which is played very loud compared to the rest of the march, sticks out more than just a bit. One review I read called it "a bit rude". It's quite the charming little march; lots of fun to listen to.

Another piece on the concert is the mourning sounds of Elegy for a Young American by Ronald Lo Presti. Written in 1964, it is dedicated to the memory of President John F. Kennedy. Feelings of shock, denial, anger, and remorse are heard, but are replaced by a celebration of the contributions of this great American. A wonderful piece, you must hear it.

There are three other pieces on the concert. I'll have a bit on each of them in an upcoming post.

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