Feb. 8, 2007
Hear 'The Walls And Rafters Ring' At Band/Orchestra Concert Feb. 21
The University of Iowa Symphony Band and the Iowa Brass Quintet will present the world premiere of "Until the Walls and Rafters Ring" by UI alumnus Timothy Mahr (left) on a concert they will share with the UI Symphony Orchestra, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the UI Hancher Auditorium.
The Symphony Band under the direction of Myron Welch and the Symphony Orchestra under the direction of William LaRue Jones are sharing a series of concerts throughout the 2006-07 season, in celebration of the to the 100th anniversary of the UI School of Music. Each concert in the series includes at least one new composition by an alumnus, commissioned for the Centennial Celebration.
The final shared concert of the UI Symphony Orchestra and UI Symphony Band together will be Wednesday, May 2, in Hancher Auditorium.
For the Feb. 21 concert, Jones and the UI Symphony Orchestra will present the Symphony No. 2, known as the "London Symphony," by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Welch and the UI Symphony Band will perform the Fanfare for "La Peri" by Paul Dukas, a band transcription of Paul Hindemith's orchestral score "Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber," and the premiere of Mahr's new work for brass quintet and band.
The Iowa Brass Quintet (IBQ) (right), a resident faculty ensemble at the UI School of Music, performs on the UI campus each semester and for schools, universities, civic concert associations and professional meetings throughout the United States. Its current members are David Greenhoe and Brian Umlah, trumpets; Jeff Agrell, horn; David Gier, trombone; and John Manning, tuba.
Mahr has written that "The sonic imagery of a phrase from the 'Iowa Fight Song' became the impetus for this work. 'Until the Walls and Rafters ring' celebrates the many contributions to community and the musical art form made by the University of Iowa School of Music over the first 100 years of its existence
"As the musical materials began to emerge, I found myself picturing and hearing a barn dance going on -- perhaps solely because of the word 'rafters' . . . Rather than fight this inclination, I allowed the music to go down that path upon occasion. The dance music is joined by fanfares, reflective music and noble themes to create a strong sense of pride and accomplishment within the celebration."
Dukas' fanfare was written to precede his last major work, the ballet "La Peri." Written in 1912, the ballet was commissioned by a leading Russian dancer of the time, Natalia Trouhanova, and based on a Persian legend. The extensive fanfare has no musical connection with the ballet.
The German composer Paul Hindemith wrote his "Symphonic Metamorphosis" while he was teaching a Yale University during World War II. He looked at some music by the early 19th-century composer Carl Maria von Weber for a possible ballet project. When the ballet fell through, he turned his ideas into an orchestral work that is based on some relatively unknown piano pieces and incidental music by Weber.
Hindemith had originally planned the score for band, but his publisher preferred an orchestral score. Hindemith then asked Keith Wilson, the director of bands at Yale, to make the band transcription, which was not completed until permission was granted by the publisher in 1960.
One of the most important English composers of the 20th century, Vaughan Williams was also a collector of traditional English folksongs, an organist, conductor and professor of composition at the Royal College of Music. Over his lengthy career he wrote nine symphonies, five operas and other music for the stage, several significant choral works, and numerous other instrumental and vocal pieces. He wrote music for a dozen films between 1941, when he was 69, and his death in 1958 at the age of 85. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, near the great English Baroque composer Henry Purcell.
The Second Symphony, subtitled "A London Symphony" by the composer, was written between 1911 and 1914 and premiered March 27 of the later year. Vaughan Williams subsequently produced three revised versions of the symphony -- in 1918, 1920 and 1933 -- of which the third is most often performed.
The symphony is in four movements, much like the traditional symphonic structure, but the subtitle and the inclusion of London sounds such as the Westminster Chimes and the sound of hansom cabs has created controversy whether it was a "true" symphony. The composer wrote that he didn't intend a "purely descriptive piece," and that a better title might be "Symphony by a Londoner." Somewhat disingenuously, he added that "If listeners recognize suggestions of such things as the Westminster Chimes or the Lavender Cry, they are asked to consider these as accidents, not as essentials, of the music."
Established in 1906, the UI School of Music will celebrate its centennial throughout the 2006-07 academic year. The celebration will feature a series of concerts throughout the 2006-07 academic year, many of them presenting new compositions that were commissioned from UI alumni for the occasion. The concerts, including performances by UI faculty and many of the major ensembles of the School of Music, are listed on the Web at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/centennial/centennial.htm
A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997 as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies. The founding director of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with professional, festival, collegiate and student ensembles throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. See: http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/CONDjones.htm
Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980 and is a Collegiate Fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The past president of the American Bandmasters Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters Association, Welch is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with bands throughout the United States. See http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/CONDwelch.htm
Founded in the early 1950s, the IBQ has been widely acclaimed for its artistry in the performance of music of all periods and premieres of new compositions. The quintet's CD "Americana: A University of Iowa Celebration" features works by composers associated with the UI, either as faculty or students in the School of Music, or whose works have been favorites of the group over the years. It was released as part of the celebration of the UI Sesquicentennial in 1997.
Tickets for the Oct. 25 concert by the UI Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Band are $10 ($7 for seniors; $5 for UI students and youth), and are available at the Hancher Auditorium Box Office.
Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
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