The Cascade Winds Symphonic Band, under the direction Michael Gesme, will present their annual spring concert on Sunday, May 22, 2016, at 2:00pm in the Summit High School Auditorium. The concert is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.
The season finale will open with driving rhythmic intensity as the sounds of Ron Nelson’s Homage to Perotin fill the hall. Though inspired by the music of a twelfth-century composer, Nelson’s use of the colors made possible by the concert band instrumentation are decidedly from the twentieth century. A much more subdued work follows: A Northern Legend by Alfred Reed. Though not overtly stated, this composition is perhaps best described as musical tone poem evoking the boundlessness of nature utilizing hints of Native American music. Two additional works will appear on the first half: John Philip Sousa’s Corcoran Cadets March, a work that Frederick Fennell described as one of Sousa’s most “rhythmically neat, texturally clean, harmonically and melodically satisfying marches,” and Puszta, by Jan Van der Roost. Typical of gypsy music, the dances in this last work feature the abrupt alternation of mood and constantly fluctuating tempos.
The second half opens with Samuel Hazo’s hauntingly beautiful Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song. The composition tells the story of a Japanese girl who is given a music box by her mother and father when she is a child. As her life evolves, including a marriage to an American who takes her away from Japan, she is filled with inner conflict about her place in the world, and she returns again and again to the music box to feel close to her culture. The final work of the 2015-2016 Cascade Winds season will be Igor Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird. From its first performance in 1910, The Firebird made ballet history and placed Stravinsky at the forefront of contemporary composers. The suite is a compressed version of the ballet’s story, and the music is exceptionally precise in describing the action: from a wavering melodic line that is suggestive of the dark and mysterious forest, to the cries of the Firebird and the dips and curves of the enchanted creature in flight, to the horrendous evil gyrations of the monster Kashchei and his demons, to the lullaby which the Firebird sings to lull the monsters to sleep. The composition ends in a burst of brilliance as the demons disappear and there is unrestrained rejoicing.