Thursday, February 28, 2008

Concert Preview - Knightwind Ensemble April 6

The upcoming concert by the Knightwind Ensemble is set for April 6th at 3 PM in the Schwan Concert Hall on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College. The theme of the concert is Heroes, and the selections will include musical portraits of heroes, some real, some imaginary, some specific, and some general.

Heroes of Hungary

The feature piece of the concert is Sinfonia Hungarica, written by Jan van der Roost. This three movement symphony depicts the history of Hungary itself. Because this piece is so special, I'll devote a post to it in the next few weeks.

Teams of Heroes

Also on the program is a concert march by Englishman Eric Coates and used in the in the 1954 British War Film The Dam Busters. It turns out that the march was written by Mr. Coates before he received the call from the producers of the movie. He wanted to produce a march in the Elgarian form, along the lines of the Pomp and Circumstance marches. After hearing about the film, he thought that the march he just completed could be used...and it was.

Saluting modern heroes, the Ensemble will perform John Williams' Olympic Fanfare and Theme, written for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In an interview in 1992, Mr. Williams stated that his music was intended to musically represent "the spirit of cooperation, of heroic achievement, all the striving and preparation that go before the events and all the applause that comes after them." It is still an audience favorite today.

Specific Heroes

The Ensemble will also salute specific heroes. The first piece in that vein will be the music from the 1991 motion picture Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner with music by Michael Kamen. The music is dramatic, difficult, and very enjoyable for both the audience and the performers. Milwaukee's Paul Lavender created this arrangement of the music.

The Ensemble also salutes a very important fictional hero by performing the Don Gillis work The Man Who Invented Music. This delightful work mixes music and storytelling, with the narrator taking the role of Grandpa, telling his granddaughter Wendy how he invented music. It is guaranteed to make you smile.

Finally, the Ensemble will perform an evergreen favorite: the Overture to William Tell by Rossini. Whether you believe William Tell was real or fictional, this Eric Leidzen arrangement of the Rossini favorite is wonderful.

In an upcoming post, I'll go over the movements of the Sinfonia Hungarica, Stay tuned!

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