The UCSB Wind Ensemble, directed by Paul Bambach (with Laurence Young, graduate assistant), will offer its annual fall concert, called “Cornerstones,” at 8 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Hall on the UCSB campus.
The program consists of the following works, not necessarily played in this order: Blaze (2008) by Steve Rouse, San Antonio Dances (2010) by Frank Ticheli, the Military Symphony in F-Major (1793) by François Gossec, Vincent Persichetti’s Symphony No. 6 for Band, William Schuman’s “Chester” from his New England Triptych, Clare Grundman’s arrangement of the Overture to Leonard Bernstein’s Candide and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fantasia in G Major, transcribed by Richard Franko Goldman and Robert Leist.
One of the many things this ensemble has going for it, in addition to the leadership of Bambach, is that there is a great deal of lovely, energizing and utterly accessible music for band and wind ensembles being composed in this country, by some of our best composers — and Bambach seems in touch with all of it.
Rouse (born in 1953) and Ticheli (born in 1958) are every bit as technically accomplished as the late American masters Persichetti (1915-87) and Schuman (1910-92), whose works also grace this program — and I think we will find, when we have had a chance to compare the generations, that Rouse and Ticheli (particularly the latter) have the greater natural melodic gifts.
“Blaze was written,” Rouse says, “in the fall of 2000 in Louisville, Ky., where I teach music theory and composition at the University of Louisville School of Music. (It) is lean, muscular and driving. It suggests a level of energy and intensity that might follow a sudden, powerful flash of inspiration.”
Ticheli admits that he fell in love with San Antonio: “San Antonio Dances was composed as a tribute to a special city, whose captivating blend of Texan and Hispanic cultural influences enriched my life during my three years as a young music professor at Trinity University. It has been 20 years since I lived in San Antonio, but the city still tugs at my heartstrings and lives in this music.”
Admission to the Wind Ensemble concert is $15 for the general public and $7 for students, with tickets available only at the door. Parking is available in lots 3, 9, 5, 16 and 22.
— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer.