Symphonic Wind Ensemble Program Notes
04/18/2023, 7:30 PM, Wright Auditorium
William Staub, conductor; Quintin Mallette, marimba
Fanfare for a New Theater (1964)
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Dedicated to Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine, this fanfare was composed for the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, new home of the New York City Ballet. Eric Walter White: “The effect of the two trumpets is like that of two pennants flying and crackling in a brisk wind.”
Concerto No. 2 for Marimba and Wind Ensemble (2008)
David Gillingham (b. 1947) Quintin Mallette, marimba
- Slowly and mysteriously/Quick with restlessness
The composer writes:
“The work exploits the full range of the technical and expressive ability of the five-octave concert grand marimba. It is cast in the standard three-movement format. The first movement uses sonata-rondo form and begins with a slow introduction and quasi-cadenza by the marimba. An animated first theme follows in G-minor accompanied by clarinets and tambourine. A contrasting second theme area follows featuring chromatic mediant progressions and descending chromatic lines. The return of the first theme utilizes a slightly different accompaniment. The development section reworks all the thematic material in different guises. The recapitulation presents the first theme, verbatim, as it was in the exposition. The second theme, however, changes the mode to major. The return alternates the marimba on the theme with the winds playing the theme in augmentation. The marimba quietly ends the movement with an ascending and descending arpeggiated passage.”
Serenade for Winds in D minor, op. 44 (1878)
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
- Moderato, quasi marcia
- Andante con moto (not performed)
- Allegro molto
The present-day nations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia were the Habsburg territories of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia during the nineteenth century. Antonín Dvořák was one of the most successful of the nationalist composers from those territories, aided in large part by the role the arch-German composer Johannes Brahms played in promoting his music. It was at Brahms’s suggestion that the German music publisher Fritz Simrock contacted Dvořák with a request to write some “Slavonic Dances” for piano. Dvořák enthusiastically set to work, and in the space of “not more than a few hours” completed eight of them.
Dvořák wrote his Serenade in D Minor just two months before those Slavonic Dances. It follows in the long tradition of works written for Harmonie, the term given to bands of wind instruments typically used for outdoor performances. Mozart and Haydn wrote serenades and divertimenti for Harmonie, and numerous lesser-known composers—many of them from Bohemia—wrote for them as well.
Dvořák followed in the tradition of wind serenades by starting his with a march. It begins with a robust theme played by the entire ensemble, then after a short pause, a gentler middle section follows. There is an almost exact repeat of the beginning, but after a short reference to the second section, the march fades away to a quiet ending. Dvořák based the themes in the second movement on two Czech folk-dance rhythms. The first is a lyrical sousedská while the second is a vigorous furiant. The third movement is like a long, romantic duet, played primarily by the oboe and clarinet. The last movement starts out as a fast reworking of the opening march theme. There are several gentle interludes before a literal return of the march. This time the tempo winds up at the end for a high-stepping and unbuttoned ending.
Brahms continued his ardent support of Dvořák when he heard this wind serenade. “Take a look at Dvořák’s Serenade for Wind Instruments,” he wrote to his friend Joseph Joachim. “I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do . . . It would be difficult to discover a finer, more refreshing impression of really abundant and charming creative talent. Have it played to you; I feel sure the players will enjoy doing it!” ©2019 John P. Varineau
Ed Jacobs (b. 1961)
The composer writes:
“Playing with colors – in this case sound-colors, or timbre – is a composer’s idea of fun. Each note, harmony, and instrument has its own color. and the fun arises from creating combinations of colors passing ideas from one instrumental color to another, and in hearing how instrumental colors change at different volumes and intensities. In this piece, I had a lot of fun exploring the timbres of the wind ensemble – a broad palette, for sure. My focus on color led me to the title of Prismata, a plural form of prism.
But another meaning of the word prismata has also been on my mind: perspective. There are only a few ideas at the heart of this music. But each idea, whether melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic, is heard differently at different moments in the music. Sometimes little melodies are heard very clearly in a flute, and sometimes all the notes of that little melody are heard simultaneously in the brass – a rhythm may be heard clearly in a drum at one moment, returning later as a newly adopted rhythm of a familiar melody. Over the course of Prismata‘s twelve minutes, these few ideas come to the foreground in all the band’s voices at some point. And at the piece’s conclusion, the chorale which has been the harmonic underpinning of all Prismata‘s music is heard in overlapping statements in the winds and brass – different colors, and different speeds.
Prismata was written in the fall of 2022 for William Staub and the players of the East Carolina University Wind Ensemble, and first performed in Greenville, NC in April 2023 with William Staub conducting.”
Children’s March: Over the Hills and Far Away (1919/1995)
Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882-1961) ed. R. Mark Rogers
Children’s March was scored for band by Grainger in 1919 from a piano solo which he had composed between 1916 and 1918. The band arrangement was begun in 1918 while the composer was a member of the U.S. Coast Artillery Band and was written to take advantage of that band’s instrumentation. Generally accepted as the first band composition utilizing the piano, the march features the woodwinds — especially the low reeds — during most of its seven-minute duration. From the introduction to the end, the folk-like melodies make it difficult for the listener to realize that the work was original with Grainger. It was first performed by the Goldman Band on June 6, 1919, with the composer conducting and Ralph Leopold at the piano.
Like many of Grainger’s works, the march demonstrates both the fierceness and the tenderness of the composer’s personality. It was dedicated to “my playmate beyond the hills,” believed to be Karen Holton, a Scandinavian beauty with whom the composer corresponded for eight years but did not marry because of his mother’s jealousy. In 1953, 48 years after they first met, they saw each other for the last time in Denmark where Grainger had gone for a cancer operation to be be performed by Dr. Fai Holton, Karen’s brother.
– Program Note from Program Notes for Band
William Staub is in his eleventh year at East Carolina University and third year as Director of Bands. He oversees the band programs at ECU, conducts and directs the ECU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and teaches conducting and music education courses. Since arriving at ECU, Staub has conducted multiple world premieres including works by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Melinda Wagner and Grawemeyer winning composer Lei Liang. Dr. Staub and the ECU Symphonic Wind Ensemble were invited to perform at the NCMEA convention in 2022.
Prior to becoming director of bands, Staub served as the Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at ECU. Under his direction, the ECU Marching Pirates performed at a Carolina Panthers football game, the Superdome and Tropicana Field in addition to many exhibitions throughout North Carolina.
Dr. Staub came to ECU from Iowa State University where he served as Assistant Director of Bands with duties including assisting with the Cyclone Marching Band and conducting the Symphonic and Concert Bands. Staub has also taught public school in Austin, Texas at Grisham Middle School. While there, he co-conducted the Grisham Middle School Symphony Orchestra at their performance at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention.
In addition to his formal teaching positions, Dr. Staub is highly in demand as a clinician, adjudicator and conductor. His residencies have included Michigan State University, New Mexico State University, UNC-Wilmington, Duke University, the University of Georgia, Western Washington University, and the University of Puget Sound. In 2010, he participated in the West Point Conducting Workshop where he guest conducted the West Point Band in concert. In 2017, Staub served as one of the conductors for the World Youth Wind Orchestra Project in Schladming, Austria. Since 2015, Dr. Staub has served as conductor of the Symphonic Band at the New England Music Camp in Sidney, Maine.
Staub received his Doctor of Musical Arts from Northwestern University, where he was a conducting student of Mallory Thompson; his master’s degree in conducting from Michigan State University, where he was a student of Kevin Sedatole; and his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University, where he studied euphonium with Sam Pilafian and conducting with Gary Hill. In 2018, Dr. Staub received the ECU Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award. In 2019, he received the East Carolina Creed faculty award for Integrity. Staub is a member of NCMEA, CBDNA, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Kappa Phi and is an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma, Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
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