Cabaret, Selections for Concert Band
From the 1966 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical and the 1972 motion picture success, this rousing John Kander score has been competently arranged for concert band by Norman Leyden. The show is set in Berlin in 1930 and reflects a picture of decadent Germany in the years just before the rise of Hitler. The listener will recognize the tunes of Willkommen, Tomorrow Belongs To Me, Cabaret, Pineapple, Meeskite, and Married, before the finale reprise of the theme song. A variety of keys and styles are employed, adding color and contrast to the work. Solo passages are assigned to the French horn, euphonium, and oboe.
Although there had been no musical background in his family, John Kandor (b. 1927) began playing the piano at the age of four. His aunt taught him musical chords, which he credits as the foundation of his musical knowledge. His earliest experiences in the musical theater came from conducting orchestras for stock companies and making dance arrangements for the musicals "Gypsy" and "Irma la Douce." In 1962, he formed a song partnership with the lyricist, Fred Ebb. Together, they experienced successes with Cabaret (1966), The Happy Time (1968), and Zorba (1968).
see John Kandor
Sir Edward William Elgar (1857 - 1934) was born and raised in Broadheath, near Worcester, England. His father was an talented violinist and organist who made his living as a piano tuner and kept a small shop selling instruments and sheet music. Edward Elgar began violin and piano lessons at the age of seven. He taught himself to play the organ by reading manuals on organ playing from the library of the church where his father played. At the age of 28, he would succeed his father as church organist. As a youth, Elgar would borrow music scores from his father’s shop and take them into the quiet countryside to study. His knowledge of composition came from reading every book on music theory he could borrow. At 22, he was appointed the conductor of the attendant’s band at the nearby Worcester and County Lunatic Asylum and arranged music for its motley collection of string and brass instrumentation. As a result, Elgar learned the capabilities and tonal range of these instruments. He played in a number of local orchestras and some performed his early compositions. From the death of Handel in 1759, England hadn’t produced a significant composer. Queen Victoria had wanted all music to sound like Mendelssohn’s and composers obliged. Elgar, not being trained in the conservatories, felt a strong urge to develop new tunes. His early attempts didn’t earn him much money. It was his Enigma Variations, a musical portrait of his friends, that brought significant success in 1899. A year later, his oratorio The Dream of Gerontius reinforced that success. Between 1901 and 1930, Elgar wrote a series of five Pomp and Circumstance marches. The first march was very well received and its trio, with the words of Arthur Benson, became Land of Hope and Glory. This tune also became popular as a processional tune for high school and college graduations. Following the success of his Cello Concerto in 1919, Elgar lost interest in composing a year later with the death of his wife.
"To My Friends Pictured Within" was Elgar's dedication for this work for orchestra written in 1899. As only initials or nicknames were given to the variations, the work remained an enigma of its own for many years to all but the subjects and Elgar's own circle of friends. Earl Slocum has selected six of the fourteen variations to transcribe for winds and percussion.
The theme is notable for its use of a falling seventh (an Elgarian fingerprint) and for the fact that each phrase in the opening and closing sections begins on the second beat of the bar. Variation I is a portrait of the composer's wife, Alice. W.M. Baker, the subject of Variation IV, "a country squire, gentleman, and scholar," is parodied by Elgar for his habit of regimenting guests at country parties. Richard P. Arnold (Variation V) was the son of Matthew Arnold and played the piano "in a self-taught manner, evading difficulties but suggesting in a mysterious way the real feeling." George Robertson Sinclair (Variation XI), organist of Hereford Cathedral, is depicted by an episode on the banks of the Wye, when his bulldog, Dan, fell down a steep bank into the river and found his way up again. The "Nimrod" of Variation IX was Elgar's great friend and publisher A.J. Jaeger (the name means "hunter" in German). The variation "is the record of a long summer evening talk, when my friend discoursed eloquently on the slow movements of Beethoven." The initials E.D.U., which head Variation XIV (Finale), are a paraphrase of "Edoo," Alice Elgar's pet name for her husband.
Martin Ellerby was born in 1957 in the coal mining town of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England. Most students made the choice of working in the pit or joining the army. Ellerby had been captivated by the melody and harmony of some classical music played in class one day and became committed to creating music. As a trumpet performance major, he was able to get into college, but he really wanted to compose. He attended the London College of Music, finishing his studies in 1981. He did postgraduate work at the Royal College of Music, studying composition under Joseph Horovitz. He has written over 80 original compositions for brass and wind bands, orchestras, small ensembles, and solo instruments along with test pieces for brass band competitions. He combines his compositional efforts with international lecture tours. He solicits comments from musicians on his compositions, commenting “Without performers I’m inarticulate.” Ellerby’s hobbies are reading, walking, and cooking. He resides in Altrincham, Cheshire, England, with his wife, acclaimed clarinetist Linda Merrick.
Paris SketchesWritten in 1994, this composition, subtitled Homages for Wind Band, provides musical vignettes of Paris, the City of Light. Composer Martin Ellerby has offered his notes about the work:
This is my personal tribute to a city I love, and each movement pays homage to some part of the French capital and to other composers who lived, worked or passed through – rather as Ravel did in his own tribute to an earlier master in Le Tombeau de Couperin. Running like a unifying thread through the whole piece is the idea of bells – a prominent feature of Parisian life. The work is cast in four movements:
1. Saint Germain-des-Prés - The Latin Quarter famous for artistic associations and bohemian lifestyle. This is a dawn prelude haunted by the shade of Ravel: the city awakens with the ever-present sound of morning bells.
2. Pigalle - The Soho of Paris. This is a ‘burlesque with scenes’ cast in the mould of a balletic scherzo – humorous in a kind of ‘Stravinsky-meets-Prokofiev’ way. It is episodic but everything is based on the harmonic figuration of the opening. The bells here are car horns and police sirens!
3. Père Lachaise - The city's largest cemetery, the final resting place of many a celebrity who once walked its streets. The spirit of Satie's Gymnopédies – themselves a tribute to a still more distant past – is affectionately evoked before the movement concludes with a ‘hidden’ quotation of the Dies Irae. This is the work's slow movement, the mood is one of softness and delicacy, which I have attempted to match with more transparent orchestration. The bells are gentle, nostalgic, wistful.
4. Les Halles - A bustling finale with bells triumphant and celebratory. Les Halles is the old market area, a Parisian Covent Garden and, like Pigalle, this is a series of related but contrasted episodes. The climax quotes from Berlioz's Te Deum, which was first performed in 1855 at the church of St Eustache, actually in the district of Les Halles. A gradual crescendo, initiated by the percussion, prefaces the material proper and the work ends with a backward glance at the first movement before closing with the final bars of the Berlioz Te Deum.
Frank William Erickson (1923 Spokane, WA - 1996 Oceanside, CA) was a composer and arranger who wrote significant works for developing bands. His slow and lyrical chorales possess beautiful moving lines and harmonies that have taught players phrase shaping and emotional effects of rubato figures. He began piano studies when he was eight, but the trumpet, started two years later, was his instrument of choice. Erickson earned his Mus. B. (1950) and Mus. M. (1951) from the University of Southern California. He lectured at the University of California Los Angeles and was a professor at San Jose State University. His book Arranging for the Concert Band has been used extensively in college music courses. He was a member of ASCAP and honored by music fraternities and associations.
Salvation Is Created
Subtitled A Chorale Prelude, this composition is based on a beautiful Russian Orthodox chorale by the Pavel Tchesnokov. A Russian who lived from 1877 to 1944, Tchesnokov was a choral conductor, teacher, and composer with over 400 choral works to his credit. This composition retains the clarity of harmony that characterized Tchesnokov's works. Structured around alternating brass and woodwind choirs, the work maintains a flowing tempo throughout.
Second Symphony for Band (Movements II & III)
The Second Symphony was composed in 1958 and demonstrates the composer's understanding and grasp of wind sonorities. The second movement, entitled Intermezzo, begins at a moderato tempo with a trumpet solo over a modulated bass line with the solo line passing to a flute. The romance of the composition develops from a wonderfully lyric tutti melody. The horns have a turn at the melody at the andante transition. The brass build on the theme, which returns to the modulation of the beginning moderato and the trumpet lead, finally closing with the full ensemble.
The lydian melodies reach multiple resolutions in the Finale movement. The largo introduction begins with the bassoons, as the melody, building on the colors of the previous movements, is gradually assumed by the ensemble, with a short interruption of an oboe solo. The moderato has a clarinet lead in an up-tempo version of the initial melody. The melody is alive as it builds in structure and volume, gently receding to grow again with a pulsating rhythm to the largo ending.
Concerto for Brass Quintet and Band
Victor Ewald (1860-1935) was a Russian civil engineer who participated in music as an avocation. His Concerto for Brass Quintet No. 1, Op. 5 has become a mainstay in the repertoire of virtually every student, amateur, and professional brass quintet. This arrangement, by providing an accompaniment where none previously existed, gives the work the character of a concerto grosso, pitting the small ensemble of the brass quintet against the large ensemble of the concert band. At the same time, it has the form and harmonic style of the Romantic solo concerto.
The eldest of five children, James Henry Fillmore Jr. (1881 - 1956) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, into a family of composers and publishers of religious music. He had an outstanding singing voice and was encouraged to sing in Sunday School by his father. His natural talent allowed him to learn to play the piano and move on to flute, violin, and guitar with ease. He sought more excitement than could be found with religious music and he became fascinated with the slide trombone. His mother secretly bought him this instrument, which would play a significant role in his future compositions, in hopes that it might give direction to her mischievous son. After graduating from military school, he worked in his father’s publishing business. Frustrated at being unable to get band music published by the firm and drawn by the excitement he felt for the circus, he quit the firm in 1905. He had fallen in love with Mabel May Jones, an exotic show dancer. Following a proposal by mail, the two were married and both found employment with the Lemon Brothers Circus, launching him on a career as musician and bandmaster.
By 1910, he’d resolved the differences with his father and returned to
the family business, persuading them to publish more band music. The
business flourished, partly due to the success of Fillmore’s
compositions. Under his name and seven aliases, he composed over 250
works and arranged over 750 others. Named after 15 popular minstrel
characters (e.g., Lassus Trombone,
Shoutin’ Liza), his trombone
rags are some of his most notable work. Americans
We, Military Escort,
The Circus Bee, Rolling
Thunder, and The Klaxon
are among is most popular marches. An entertaining conductor, Fillmore
led the Syrian Temple Shrine Band for 5 years, before forming his own
band in 1927. In his fifties, he developed serious heart problems and
was advised to retire. He moved to Miami, Florida, with an expectancy of
just a year to live. The warm climate and musical scene revived him and
he devoted his time to being a mentor to school musicians. He was
rejuvenated for almost two decades, after which he died peacefully in
Composed in 1933, His Honor was probably premiered by the Fillmore Band at one of their concerts at the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens. The title is a dedication to Cincinnati Mayor Russell Wilson. The march has remained a favorite of many because of its rhythmic and dynamic changes, perhaps reflecting the entertainer that was Henry Fillmore.
Henry Fillmore spent much of his life as a musician and bandmaster for circus and Shrine bands. He is also credited with composing over 250 works and arranging more than 750 others. His talent as a trombonist shows through on many of his compositions. Miss Trombone, written in 1908, was the first of 15 novelty tunes called “The Trombone Family” that often reflected minstrel characters. Lassus Trombone (1915) and Shoutin’ Liza Trombone (1920) are two of the most famous. Other members of the “family” are Teddy, Lassus, Pahson, Sally, Slim, Mose, Hot, Bones, Dusty, Bull, Lucky, Boss, and Ham Trombone. This series, completed in 1929, had a strong ragtime influence and featured the trombone “smear.”
Rolling Thunder has the very fast tempo typical of circus “screamers” that are filled with action. Action is what Fillmore has given to the trombone section, requiring virtuostic playing for his 1916 composition subtitled “A Trombone Ace.”
Jean Françaix was born in 1912 in Mans, the French city famous for its
24-hour automobile race. His parents were musicians who exposed him to
their craft. At the age of 12, he could play the works of composers
ranging from Dominico Scarlatti, which he adored, to Maurice Ravel. He
was awarded the First Prize for Piano at the Academy of Paris at the age
of 18. Nadia Boulanger became his instructor in composition at the Paris
Conservatoire. His more than 200 compositions are both inventive and
elegant and range from concertinos to full symphonic works, solo vocal
to choral settings, and includes the music for ten films. He remained
active as a composer and pianist until his death, in Paris, in 1997.
Little Quartet for
The Little Quartet for Saxophones was composed in 1935. The first of three movements, Gaguenardise, will be performed tonight. The title of the movement can be loosely translated as “mockery” or “ridicule.” The interplay between the instruments is suggestive of a group of friends making playful fun of each other.
Julius Ernst Wilhelm Fučík was born into a musical family on July
18, 1872 in Prague, the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia. In 1885, he
enrolled at the Prague Conservatory, where he studied bassoon, violin,
and percussion. Shortly before his graduation in 1891, he studied
composition in a newly established department headed by Antonin
Dvořák. He soon entered military service, playing bassoon and
percussion in the 49th Austro-Hungarian Infantry Band at Krems under
the direction of Josef Franz Wagner, composer of the famous march Under
the Double Eagle. Wagner strongly influenced Fučík’s interest
and talent in the field of popular music. In the summer of 1894, Fuèík
returned to Prague to play bassoon in local orchestras. He also wrote
all the music for a woodwind trio he founded. In August 1897, the
bandmaster of the 86th Infantry regiment in Sarajevo died and Fučík
applied for the job. He was chosen from 82 candidates, beginning his
career as a military bandmaster. During his time in Sarajevo he wrote
Entry of the Gladiators, a world famous circus march. In 1900,
his regiment was transferred to Budapest, where the competition from
other regimental bands challenged his directing and compositional
talents. He composed his march Florentiner in 1907, receiving
great acclaim. Four months later, the appeal of his Bohemian homeland
beckoned. He was chosen over 200 candidates for the position of
bandmaster of the 92 Infantry Regiment in Theresienstadt. His band
gave concerts in Prague every Sunday and their series of concerts in
Berlin drew 10,000 attendees. Retiring as bandmaster in 1913, Fučík
moved to Berlin, where he organized an orchestra and established his
own publishing firm, Tempo Verlag. With the outbreak of the First
World War, his business faltered and his health declined. He died in
Berlin on September 25, 1916 and was buried in Vinohrady Cemetery in
Entry of the Gladiators
Originally titled Grande Marche Chromatique, this march was retitled Entry of the Gladiators after the composer became fascinated by the culture of the Roman gladiators and their heroic efforts in the Coliseum and Circus Maximus. The theme of man conquering beast and the attendant pageantry has persisted as this march has become associated with the modern circus. Performed at a very brisk tempo, this “screamer” conveys the excitement of the big top, the animal tamers, and the muscular acrobats. The march is also known as Thunder and Blazes.
The march Florentiner was written by Julius Fučík in 1907, his opus 214, while in Budapest, the political and cultural capital of Hungary. There, he had access to many regimental bands and talented musicians anxious to perform his music. Widely recognized for his march music, he became interested in orchestral works. This was a time when central European composers were writing in the style of foreign lands including the Orient, Spain, and Italy. This composition bears the subtitle Grande marcia Italiana with the main title giving homage to Florence, Italy. It has the length and content of a condensed operetta. One can imagine the theater curtains opening to two trumpet fanfares followed by a stately march as the residents of that grand city rush to welcome the large entourage of a nobleman. Flowers are thrown to the procession and everyone is excited. Suddenly, our nobleman sees a beautiful courtesan and the two converse in a gentle interlude that becomes quieter as the conversation gets more personal. Chirps from the woodwinds denote the start of gossip by the village women in response. The brass give a loud proclamation that the couple are to be wed and a celebratory theme concludes the happy scene as the curtains close.
Unter der Admirals Flagge
This concert march is believed to have been written around 1910. The title translates to Under the Admiral's Flags. Opening with a short trumpet fanfare, the woodwinds then pick up the melody over a pulsating bass background. A vigorous break strain, reminiscent of Fucik's circus marches, interrupts before returning to the original solid march melody. The trio brings an easy melody from the lower registers and slowly adds instrumentation as it builds to a full climax based on the melody introduced at the start of the trio.