Concert Band performs Oct. 14 at ASU

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Article Published: Oct. 10, 2013 | Modified: Oct. 15, 2013

Music by composers considered icons of the band repertoire will be performed by the Appalachian Concert Band Monday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall at Appalachian State University.

The program features works by Johan de Meij, Vincent Persichetti, George Hamilton Green and Claude T. Smith.

The performance opens with “Gandalf the Wizard” from de Meij’s “Symphony No. 1 Lord of the Rings,” based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1955 fantasy trilogy. The symphony consists of five movements, each illustrating a personage or an important episode in the book. “Gandalf the Wizard” portrays the wizard’s noble character, as well as a wild ride on his gray horse, Shadowfax.

Persichetti’s “Pageant” was originally titled “Morning Music for Band.” The composition opens in a slow tempo with a horn motif that is used throughout both sections. This solemn chordal section is followed by a vivacious parade, introduced first by the snare drum. In the final portion of the piece, the two principal themes are developed simultaneously to an inspired climax.

“Rainbow Ripples,” written in 1926 by Green, features soloist Rob Falvo on xylophone. Falvo is a professor of percussion and coordinator of the percussion department at Appalachian. Considered one of history’s greatest xylophone players, Green started playing at age 11 and at 13 was performing solos with his father’s band. At 19, he entered vaudeville and in one year was proclaimed “the fastest, most artistic and most wonderful xylophonist and soloist in this country or abroad.”

His compositions elevated the xylophone to the position where it was recognized as a legitimate concert instrument.

“Incidental Suite” by Smith is written in three movements. The “Tarantella” provides a fast, 6/8 dance characterized by the constant use of hemiola — a syncopated rhythm of three notes in two counts. The “Nocturne” presents a slow, lazy melody accompanied by lush and sometimes dissonant harmonies. The “Rondo” opens in a rather martial style with the percussion section stating rhythmically what becomes the main theme of this finale. Throughout the movement, short interludes of dialogue between the percussion section and other sections occur.

The program concludes with “Esprit de Corps” by Robert Jaeger, based on “The Marines’ Hymn.” The work is a kind of fantasy-march, as well as a tribute to the United States Marine Band.

The concert band is conducted by Hayes School of Music faculty conductors and graduate students earning their master’s degrees in band directing. Faculty members often perform with the concert band as soloists. Primarily comprised of non-music majors and music majors performing on secondary instruments, the concert band offers continued performance opportunities for those students who wish to keep music in their lives as a recreational and aesthetic activity.

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