The Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds groups delivered a transformative show.
The TU Music Program presented the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds concert — a slight departure of what they are used to doing. Instead of having a list of pieces put together in order to make the show, there was a running theme of solitude, both in religion and nature in the March 2 show. The ensembles brought each piece to life, connecting all the notes with phrases. Though the underlying ideas were solidarity and finding oneself beyond the silence, as a whole the ensembles were united in forming the sound to convey strong emotions that lingered from one song to the next.
Through the silence at the beginning, the concert hall grew with sound from the first piece of the night, “Konigsmarsch,” the Royal March, by Richard Strauss (1864-1949). As it swelled, the piece intensified, placing the harmony and thunderous rhythms not as the supporting roles, but as the leaders. This set the tone for the rest of the first half of the concert, as well as the night.
The second piece, though it resonated intensely like the “Konigsmarsch,” softened the mood. “O Magnum Mysterium,” composed by Morten Lauridsen, created a strong feeling of holiness. Its beauty segued into the next piece, “Amen” by Frank Ticheli, smoothly. Both of these pieces mirrored each other so well that it felt as if they were written as two parts instead of two different compositions.
Toward the end of the first half of the concert, the mood shifted from bliss to awe from the watching nature at its most destructive yet beautiful. Aside from the solidarity and the discovery through silence, “Lightning Field” by John Mackey, which was inspired by the lightning fields in New Mexico, instilled a confrontational feel. The piece itself could have been placed in multiple categories: modern, programme and symphonic winds. Listening to the piece was almost a glimpse of what it would feel like to be in complete silence in the middle of nowhere, only to all of a sudden feel and hear the vibrations below a dark sky. “Lightning Field” felt like a confrontation against nature and oneself, rather than acknowledgement of being alone. Nevertheless, with its melodies striking in certain parts and ultimately fading away, the piece was gorgeous.
The second half of the concert was a sharp departure, as it focused more on the inward emotion and the true feeling of loneliness within nature rather than finding comfort in nature. “Equus” by critically acclaimed composer Eric Whitacre established the tone. With the piece never ceasing to produce smooth phrases and sharp dynamic contrast, the piece was a search for isolation. “Equus” served as the perfect introduction for the piece afterwards, which solidified the idea of having no comfort in both oneself and in nature, only coming in contact with bleakness.
“Monk by the Sea” by Michael Markowski was inspired by a painting of the same name by artist Caspar David Friedrich. The piece captured what it means to be truly alone, against the serene sea, showing no sign of life around, just water. Unlike the previous pieces, the melodies held its own identity away from the harmonies underneath, not intertwining, symbolizing isolation.
The final piece, “Give Us This Day” composed by David Maslanka (1943-2017), gave slight hope. It combined the ideas of being alone, but finding comfort that no one is really alone when being surrounded by nature. The piece tied everything back together, this time playing up the melodies and harmonies to work together, making it as one resonating statement.
The next wind ensemble concert will be on April 20.