Monday, October 09, 2006

The President's Own...

This past weekend I got my geek on, and I saw a concert given by the Marine Corps Band.

I truly love the concert band idiom, and the Marine Corps band probably represents one of the finest concert bands in the world. All of the musicians obviously had to pass muster in their audition process as well as pass all the physical requirements to become a Marine. Fairly impressive for band geeks, huh?

The best thing about the concert was that it was free. When this band tours, all of their concerts are free for the public. This one was held in a high school gymnasium- and the place was completely full! I'm glad I got there when I did, because there really wasn't a bleacher seat left.

Of course they played the traditional marches and rah-rah stuff, which is some of my least favorite band music. But they play marches so bloody well! However, they also played some very difficult pieces that really showcased their talent.

Second on the program was a piece called 'American Overture for Band' by Jenkins. It is quite simply one of my all time favorite band pieces. I've gotten to play it before, and its tough- especially for the French Horns! They played it superbly, and at one of the more melodic parts I felt myself just smiling and tearing up a little because it was so goddamn beautiful.

They also played a whole series of jazz arrangements of Benny Goodman pieces and an arrangement of Tchaikovsky's 'Capriccio Italian'. Talk about difficult music!

But far and away the best piece of the night was a John Williams suite called "American Journey". It was everything that was most brilliant about his music- from the brass fanfares, to the percussive beats, to the delicate soul-wrenching ballads. It was such heroic music- on a scale equal to that of Aaron Copland. It even ended with one of those huge crescendos culminating in a huge, final note that just reverberated the gym for days.

Oddly enough, I think that this piece got the least crowd response of the night. Perhaps they were like me and felt transfigured and emotionally worn out by the piece. (Of course the largest ovation of the night came for Sousa's 'Stars and Stripes Forever'- shocker.)

This concert was probably the highlight of my weekend. And it naturally made me get off my ass and start composing again- so I spent Sunday at my computer writing.


At 11:13 AM, Blogger 9W aka 9thWave aka Nthwave said...

now that i would have liked to have seen.

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