Wind Ensemble joined by distinguished conductor, premieres work

By Connor Yearsley

Fans of music don’t want to miss Monday’s Wind Ensemble concert.

The performance will feature distinguished guest conductor H. Robert Reynolds and will also see the world premiere of the 2012 Baylor Composition Contest’s winning composition.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. in Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building and is free and open to the public.

Dr. Eric Wilson, director of bands at Baylor, said he is particularly excited that his students will have the opportunity to learn from and be led by Reynolds.

“He is one of the true legends in our profession,” Wilson said.

Niceville, Fla., sophomore Stephen Farrell, trombonist in the ensemble, said he is also excited about Reynolds’ visit.

Reynolds is the principal conductor of the University of Southern California Wind Ensemble and is director of bands emeritus of the University of Michigan. His musical interpretations have won widespread praise.

Wilson said the School of Music is very fortunate that Reynolds will spend about five days on campus. In addition to conducting three pieces on Monday’s Wind Ensemble concert, he will also conduct some pieces for tonight’s Symphonic Band concert, which starts at 7:30 p.m. in Jones Concert Hall.

Additionally, Reynolds and Wilson will serve as the clinicians for the Baylor Conducting Symposium, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Glennis McCrary Music Building. A select group of band directors will be given the opportunity to conduct the Symphonic Band and the Wind Ensemble and get feedback from Reynolds and Wilson.

Monday’s Wind Ensemble will begin with German composer Richard Strauss’ “Wiener Philharmoniker Fanfare,” which was composed in 1924 for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Then, the ensemble will perform Frank Ticheli’s “Postcard,” which was composed in 1991. Reynolds, who will conduct the first two pieces on the program, commissioned “Postcard” to commemorate his mother. Ticheli himself wrote that the piece is “vibrant, whimsical and succinct.”

Wilson said he thinks “Postcard” might be the most challenging piece on the program because of its shifting meters, fast tempo, rhythmic complexity and constantly changing instrumentation.

Next on the program will be Roger Zare’s “Mare Tranquillitatis,” which was arranged for band in 2012. The title translates to “Sea of Tranquility,” which is the famous location on the moon where Apollo 11 landed. Zare wrote, “The music seeks to capture a dichotomy of emotions—tranquil beauty and restless isolation.”

The Wind Ensemble will then premiere “Lament and Proclamation” by Brownwood sophomore music composition major Jordan Tucker, who is the winner of the 2012 Baylor Composition Contest. The concert’s program notes explain that Tucker was inspired by Jeremiah’s story in the third chapter of Lamentations. “I immediately began wondering how Jeremiah’s simultaneous agony and hope could be depicted in a musical setting, and ‘Lament and Proclamation’ was born,” Tucker wrote.

Then, the program will continue with English composer Gustav Holst’s three-movement “First Suite in E-flat,” which was composed in 1909. Reynolds will conduct the suite and Wilson said he’s excited for his students to have that experience. “For them to have the opportunity to perform such an epic, landmark composition with one of the masters in our field will be exhilarating,” Wilson said.

Farrell said the suite is his favorite piece on the program. “It’s just such a huge staple of the band repertoire,” he said.

Next, Kathryn Salfelder’s “Crossing Parallels,” which was composed in 2009, will be performed. “‘Crossing Parallels’ blends contemporary harmonies with renaissance and baroque elements,” Wilson said.

The concert will conclude with Mexican composer Arturo Márquez’s “Danzón No. 2,” which was originally composed for orchestra in 1994 and was arranged for band in 2009. “People in Mexico consider it their second national anthem,” Wilson said about the piece, which was inspired by a style of dance.

Wilson also said he thinks the piece will be popular with the audience. “It is a very fun and fiery way to conclude the semester,” he said.

Farrell agreed the piece will be a crowd-pleaser. “It really grooves,” he said.

Wilson said the concert is also significant because it will mark the last Wind Ensemble concert for 15 of the group’s members.“It’s got its sentimental value,” Wilson said.

Both Wilson and Farrell said the program will be eclectic.

“I think this is going to be one of the most diverse programs we’ve presented,” Farrell said.

He also said he thinks there will be something for everyone. “It’s going to be just a great concert,” he said.