October 3, 2019
Karen Pierson, bassoon
7:30 p.m. • Thursday, Oct. 3
1650 Ridgeview Rd • Columbus 43221
Fugue á la Gigue
J. S. Bach (1685–1750), arr. Gustav Holst
Brent Levine, guest conductor
When Holst was commissioned to write Hammersmith for the BBC Wireless Military Band in 1928 he felt rather out of practice in orchestrating for the medium. For some years he had had the idea of arranging some Bach fugues for brass and military band, so he set himself the task of scoring the Organ Fugue in G Major BWV 577 (from Preludes, Fugues and Fantasias). He, rather than Bach, called it Fugue à La Gigue.
The piece made an ideal exercise, and Holst’s brilliant dovetailing of the counterpoint between different instruments shows his mastery. The piece is technically demanding and the characteristic unison clarinet writing suggests the orchestral conception of a large wind ensemble rather than a band. It was this conception which the composer carried forward into Hammersmith.
Song for Silent Voices
Wayne Oquin (b. 1977)
Consortium premiere performance
Alexander Gonzalez, guest conductor
In October 2017, I began an unaccompanied choral work to honor the memory of a remarkable man, my long-time friend, Herbert M. Loyd, M.D. The text consisted of one word: Alleluia. I became fascinated with the idea of setting this single utterance hundreds of ways, each repetition portraying some new element of this ancient sacred expression. Even before I knew the ending or how it would arrive, I was certain I wanted to explore an instrumental version. Beyond the affirmative title, beyond the emphatic nature of the repetitive lyric — alleluia...alleluia — the slow harmonic rhythm in the opening, the songlike simplicity of the themes, the long soaring lines of the climax — at times as many as eight singing simultaneously — all urged me to undertake a transcription for the many colors of the wind ensemble. To enter music, this seemingly separate world of pitches, harmonies, rhythms and textures, is to plunge more deeply into life itself. How true of the current work: unresolved dissonances speaking to our collective humanity in all its beauty and many imperfections; frequent modulations reflecting a world of constant change; a single solo voice signifying child-like innocence; the final diminuendo depicting life’s brevity. Words alone would be inadequate. What an honor to have my work premiered by The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wind Symphony. These brave young musicians, having been through unspeakable tragedy, are an inspiration to all. My hope is that this music somehow merges grief and gratitude; the quiet void from a life lost and the thankfulness for times shared. Song for Silent Voices, inspired by the loss of my friend Herb, and is dedicated to Alex Kaminsky.
— Wayne Oquin
Nico Muhly (b. 1981)
Consortium premiere performance
Karen Pierson, bassoon
Nico Muhly (b. 1981) is an American composer and sought-after collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. The recipient of commissions from The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tallis Scholars and St. John’s College, Cambridge and others, he has written more than 100 works for the concert stage, including the opera Marnie (2017), which premiered at the English National Opera and was staged by the Metropolitan Opera in the fall of 2018.
"I was initially terrified of writing for bassoon and wind ensemble, mainly because of the dearth of previous examples from which I could steal, as I would do with a concerto for violin or piano. I found myself sniffing around the history of the bassoon, and how it often functioned, in sacred music, as a combination of a bass instrument and a tenor instrument — a more acrobatic use of the organ’s pedals. I thought about the period during the reformation when the organ was banned from church, and thought about the effect of that great silencing. This brought me to thinking — as so many of my processes do — about Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625) whose music would have been sung during this time.
I’ve written a great deal of music which could be described as a conversation with (or indeed a love letter to) Gibbons, including setting the text of his autopsy, and I’ve always found a kind of artistic solace and surprise in his music, so the title refers to that music as a source for endless discovery. I took a beautiful piece of his keyboard music (a Pavan in A-minor), and generated from it a cycle of fifteen chords, imagining each one as being a resonance from the original keyboard piece, as if played with the sustain pedal locked down and from a great distance, the original chord structure lost in a haze of its own transitions and interstices. From there, I wrote a set of variations, where the solo bassoon walks through these chords with a series of gaits: linear and calm, a sort of bouncing upwards figure, a berceuse (cradle song), and more virtuosic fast passages."
— Nico Muhly
Percy Grainger (1882–1961)
2. Horkstow Grange
3. Rufford Park Poachers
4. The Brisk Young Sailor
5. Lord Melbourne
6. Lost Lady Found
Lincolnshire Posy was written as a commission for the 1937 American Bandmasters Association convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was partially premiered on March 7, 1937 by the Milwaukee Symphonic Band. Much to Grainger's chagrin, this mostly-amateur ensemble was not able to perform the entire work, instead premiering only movements one, two, and four — three and five were considered too difficult, and Grainger had yet to finish the final, sixth movement. Adding to the composer's frustration, the premiering ensemble was made up mostly of bandsmen from the workers' ensembles of Milwaukee's Pabst Blue Ribbon and Blatz breweries. Grainger, a famously obstinate teetotaler, would later write angrily in the published score that the performers cared "more about their beer than the music."
Conga del Fuego Nuevo
Arturo Márquez (b. 1950), trans. Oliver Nickel
Following on the success of Arturo Márquez's Danzón No. 2 adapted for band, Oliver Nickel's transcription of Conga del Fuego Nuevo ("Conga of New Fire") gives an added kick to the concert band repertoire. In contrast to the elegant, sinuous Danzón, Conga is an up-tempo celebratory piece, bright and catchy, with the percussion section providing the signature kick at the end of the conga pattern. Márquez slows things down in the middle section to spotlight the first trumpet in a melody that recalls the mariachi tradition. The alto saxes pick it up and relax into a ritard, only to be interrupted by the return of the opening material. The piece ends in fiery fashion.
The Ohio State University Wind Symphony
Russel C. Mikkelson, conductor
Peyton Sandri *
Andrew Gresham *
Jesse Schartz *
Eric Tyler Barga
Alyssa Powell *
Francesca Wantuch *
Benjamin Hottensmith *
Alex Sanso *
Brooklynn Howell *
Jeremy Smith *
Sean O’Brien *
Jocelyn Smallwood *
This event is part of the Latin American Music Celebration at The Ohio State University, Sept. 23–Oct. 8, 2019.
In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15–Oct. 15), the Ohio State School of Music and the Organization of Hispanic/Latino Faculty and Staff proudly present a series of musical experiences that highlight the culture of Latin America.
Thank you to our sponsors
Center for Latin American Studies • Department of Spanish and Portuguese • Office of Outreach and Engagement • The Ohio Arts Council • Ohio State University, Newark campus
Band Department Personnel
Russel C. Mikkelson, director of bands
Scott A. Jones, associate director of bands
Christopher D. Hoch, associate director of bands; director, marching and athletic bands
Phillip A. Day, assistant director of bands; associate director, marching and athletic bands
David Hedgecoth, conductor, Collegiate Winds
Michael Smith, assistant director, marching and athletic bands
Christopher Dent, band office associate
Alexander Gonzalez, doctoral conducting associate
Brent Levine, doctoral conducting associate
Daniel Farr, doctoral conducting associate
Tyler J. Mack, master’s conducting associate
School of Music Instrumental Faculty
Katherine Borst Jones, flute
Robert Sorton, oboe
Karen Pierson, bassoon
Caroline Hartig, clarinet
Michael Rene Torres, saxophone
Timothy Leasure, trumpet
Bruce Henniss, horn
Sterling Tanner, trombone
James Akins, euphonium and tuba
Barry Green, double bass
Susan Powell, percussion
Steven Glaser, piano
Caroline Hong, piano
Jeanne Norton, harp
A new home for the School of Music
Bold and innovative, Ohio State’s Arts District seeks to spark imagination and inspiration across the creative disciplines. As part of this transformative facilities project, construction is underway for a renovated and expanded School of Music, which will include new rehearsal spaces, modern recital halls, updated classrooms and practice rooms, and a central atrium. This new facility is an investment in our future performers, music educators, conductors and scholars. To learn more and join us in elevating the arts at Ohio State, visit go.osu.edu/artsdistrict.
School of Music performances are free, except for a few premium events.
OUTREACH EVENTS FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS
Visit music.osu.edu/outreach for details and online registration