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Vol. 4

Program Notes

Personnel/Production Credits

Click on a title below to hear the recording in MP3 format (some titles not available).

Fanfare for Freedom (manuscript) (2:26) Quincy Hilliard

Scherzo, Chorale and Aria Serena (manuscript) (9:26) Warren Benson

Collage (Composers Library Editions) (9:03) Robert Baksa
SGM David Hydock, SFC Christopher Jones
SSG Shawn Herndon, SSG Diana Cassar-Uhl clarinets

In a Cause Called “Glorious” (Stormworks) (5:22) Steven Melillo

Quadrille (C. Allen and McClaren Publications) (9:19) Joseph Turrin
SFC Lori Salimando-Porter, SFC Martin Tyce
SSG Matthew Wozniak, trombones

Overture 1776 (manuscript) (15:08) Thomas Duffy

 

PROGRAM NOTES


Fanfare for Freedom


Born in Starkville, Mississippi in 1954, Quincy Hilliard received a doctorate in music from the University of Florida at the age of 40. He is an active music educator and serves frequently as an adjudicator, conductor, and clinician. He is currently composer in residence and professor of music at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

Fanfare for Freedom was premiered at West Point in January of 2002. It is a regal concert opener with a well-orchestrated score and optimistic style.

Scherzo, Chorale and Aria Serena


Premiered in April 2002, this progressive work by Warren Benson was commissioned for the Academy Bicentennial, but dedicated to his father, Corporal Fred W. Benson, who served in France during World War I as a motorcycle dispatch rider in the American Expeditionary Forces.

The piece is constructed in five sections: Scherzo Robusto, Chorale, Scherzo II, Chorale and Aria Serena and Scherzo III. The syncopated, nearly chaotic scherzi require intense rhythmic precision on the part of each individual musician. The chorale sections are slow, dream-like and breathy (unmistakably hymn-like, as the name would suggest) exploiting the lower tessiturae of the band. On this, Benson floats a sparse but introspective piccolo and glockenspiel countermelody. Clarinets leading, the second Chorale/Aria Serena is slightly more dissonant and severe. The final scherzo is a stylistic clone of the first, but with variances in orchestration and rhythm, building to a dramatic climax. Ever distant and solemn, a martial cadence concludes the work.

Scherzo, Chorale and Aria Serena is an exciting and substantial work that will likely find its way into the standard wind band repertoire. Interestingly, Benson, a distinguished composer of contemporary music and Professor Emeritus at the Eastman School of Music, is also a writer of poetry and humorous fiction.

Collage


Noticeably absent from the West Point Sesquicentennial commissions of 1952 were works for instrumental soloist and band. Fortunately, Turrin, Kechley, Bertolozzi, Starer, and Kessler remedied this situation in the Academy's bicentennial year with important contributions. Robert Baksa's Collage is another fine work of this medium. Like Turrin's Quadrille, the scoring is uncommon, except in this case it is for clarinet quartet and band.

The work, premiered in April 2003, provides a vehicle for three clarinets and bass clarinet to display their virtuosity in a concerto-like setting. Cast in one continuous movement, the piece is comprised of dialogues between the clarinets and the band. It begins with a brief introduction by the full ensemble followed by soloist sections. At times treated as concertino, at others as individual cadenzas, the clarinet is used to its full potential.

Notwithstanding procrustean classifications, the clarity of structural and harmonic language would classify Baksa's style as neo-Romantic. But his lyricism, his ability to turn a phrase, reflects his distinctive musical gift ingeniously, some of the soloist sections evoke Alpen horn calls. The work is optimistic, even tuneful, and will undoubtedly receive many repeat performances.

Mr. Baksa is a resident of New York's beautiful Hudson Valley. To his credit are over 500 substantial works, including two operas: Aria da Capo and Red Carnations. During the past three decades he has focused his attentions toward chamber music, writing over 70 delightful works, many receiving prestigious national awards and reviews.

 

In a Cause Called “Glorious”


“With exuberant exhilaration,” Stephen Mellilo pens, “they set forth on the great American Adventure! From that moment on, many souls have trained to defend that first and noble principle [freedom].” In this, the composer reveals his chief inspiration for In a Cause Called “Glorious,” the gallant patriots of the American Revolution.

Dizzying drama, characteristic perhaps of adventure film soundtracks, is the key ingredient to this work's programmatic flavor. Like many concert overtures, the piece begins with a slow, duple section followed by a fast, almost nervous, triple section. Alluding perhaps to a soldier's solemn thoughts before battle, the introduction is serene, even contemplative. In the second section, the dovetailing of agitated 16th notes, synthesized angelic voices heralding the Glorious Cause, and even interjections of the WWI melody “Over There” all add to the piece's exuberant texture.

Melillo's output as composer is prodigious: over 900 works for orchestra, band, film, and television.

 

Quadrille


Internationally acclaimed composer Joseph Turrin commemorates the West Point Bicentennial with this unique work featuring three trombones and wind symphony. It is unique because of its instrumentation (one of a few works for this combination), its structural framework (based upon a particular dance) and its thematic inspiration.

Quadrille is basically an 18th century dance form of French origin. Turrin remarks, “The aspect of this form that caught my attention was that the time or meter alternates between 3/8, 6/8 and 2/4. I took this basic premise and developed these elements to my liking. The work is in three sections with a coda. The musical material is rather sparse making the most out of small fragments and motifs and developing them into larger shapes. The trombones work mostly as a unit and engage the band in a kind of dialogue throughout. In a sense there is a musical dance here between the trio and the ensemble.” Much of the coda is reminiscent of Carl Orff's heart pounding Carmina Burana, a particularly fitting tribute to the Academy.

Turrin's prolific output includes works for orchestra, film and theatre, band, chamber, and voice. Many major orchestras and professional military bands have featured his works. Wynton Marsalis, Joseph Alessi, Carol Wincenc, Philip Smith, Kurt Masur, Erich Leinsdorf and Evelyn Glennie are among the many world-class soloists and conductors who have performed his compositions. Turrin lists among his many accomplishments film scores for Alan Alda's film A New Life, Little Darlings, Weeds, Tough Guys Don't Dance, Verna-USO Girl, Nightmare on Elm Street 3, and for the restoration of the silent film classic Sadie Thompson. He also wrote the orchestrations for the 1992 Olympic Fanfare for the Olympic ceremonies in Barcelona, Spain.

Overture 1776


Why do Americans traditionally celebrate patriotic holidays with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, a work that takes as its inspiration a decidedly non-American topic? Is it simply a matter of tradition?

In response to this curiosity, composer Thomas C. Duffy created Overture 1776, a work of American and British flavor. Duffy, deputy dean of the music department at Yale University, interweaves elements of The World Turned Upside Down (a march purportedly played at the surrender at Yorktown), The British Grenadiers, The White Cockade and Yankee Doodle. From the composer who brought us Corpus Collossum - a musical (and neurological) marvel that calls for the conductor, with face painted white and black, to direct contrasting meters, ambidextrously - Duffy presents his Tchaikovsky motives sometimes verbatim, sometimes in an inverted form, giving the unsuspecting listener a feeling that they're hearing the same work. But, instead of a Russian victory over Napoleon, we have the American colonists defeating the British. Instead of God Save the Czar, we have God Save the King.

Like 1812 Overture, Overture 1776 is intended for open-air celebration with the peal of bells, the roar of cannon, and obligatory pyrotechnics. The piece is effective, well crafted, and clever. Although most traditions die hard, conductors now have a viable alternative when programming Independence Day music.

MSG William Treat

 

CONCERT BAND

FLUTE
MSG Lynn Cunningham*
MSG William Treat
SFC Julie Ditzel

OBOE
SGM Joël Evans
SFC James Mullins*
SSG Kathy Wilcox

Eb CLARINET
SFC Rachel Grasso

CLARINET
SFC Harold Easley
SFC Christopher Jones
SFC John Parrette*
SSG Diana Cassar-Uhl
SSG Jeffrey Geller
SSG Sinclair Hackett
SSG Shawn Herndon
SSG Sam Kaestner
SSG Jennifer Tibbs

BASS CLARINET
SGM David Hydock**

BASSOON
SGM Kelvin Hill**
SFC Christian Eberle*

SAXOPHONE
SSG Brian Broelmann
SSG Lois Hicks-Wozniak
SSG Christopher Rettie
SSG Wayne Tice*

CORNET/TRUMPET
SGM John Sartoris
SGM Robert Smither**
MSG Gregory Alley*
SFC Stephen Luck
SFC Richard Storey
SSG Bryan Uhl

HORN
MSG Harry Ditzel*
SSG Susan Davidson
SSG Eric Kuper
SSG Troy Messner
SSG Brian Nichols

TROMBONE
SFC Lori Salimando
SFC Martin Tyce*
SSG Matthew Wozniak

EUPHONIUM
SSG Jason Ham
SSG Barry Morrison*

TUBA
MSG Joseph Roccaro*
SFC Gerald Cates
SFC Thomas Price

PERCUSSION
SGM David Smith**
MSG Andrew Csisack*
SFC Dana Kimble
SFC Eric Sheffler
SSG David Paroby
SSG Rone Sparrow

STRING BASS
MSG Louis Pappas

LIBRARIAN
MSG John Cole
SFC Gerald Cates

 

** Group Leader or NCOIC
* Section Leader

 

 

PRODUCTION CREDITS

CONDUCTORS
COL Thomas Rotondi, Jr.
LTC(R) David Deitrick
MAJ(R) William Garlette
CPT Tod Addison

JAZZ KNIGHTS
MUSICAL DIRECTORS
CW4 Douglas Hammond
CW3 Otha Wayne Hester

PRODUCER
MSG David Hershey

RECORDING ENGINEERS
MSG David Hershey
SFC Blair Ferrier

GRAPHIC DESIGN
MSG Christian Eberle
SSG Mark Bobnick

PUBLICITY COORDINATOR
SGM David Hydock

PROGRAM NOTES
SGM(R) Joël Evans
MSG Gary McCourry
MSG William Treat
SSG Lois Hicks-Wozniak
SSG Sam Kaestner

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