Friday, August 17 , 2018, 10:50 pm | Fair 69º


Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Wind Ensemble to Blow Through 20th Century

Paul Bambach will lead Thursday evening's concert in Lotte Lehmann Hall

The UCSB Wind Ensemble, trained and conducted by the exemplary Paul Bambach, will play a concert of 20th-century wind-percussion music at 8 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Hall in the UCSB Music Building.

Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith

Laurence Young serves as Bambach’s graduate assistant.

The Wind Ensemble’s program will include Paul Hindemith’s Symphony in Bb-Major for Concert Band, Aaron Copland’s breezy Outdoor Overture, Gustav Holst’s Suite No. 2 in F-Major for Military Band, Opus 28b, Vittorio Giannini’s Fantasia and Clifton Williams’ Festival.

On a personal level, this program is uncannily well-timed, since I just finished listening to my entire collection of Hindemith on vinyl — 45 recordings — in chronological order. I wasn’t religious about it. It took me a couple of weeks, but it was worth it. Hindemith was a great composer, and whether or not I liked what I was hearing, it was obvious right away that he was the real thing. And like most great music, it continues to sound better with repeated listening.

One of the highlights of the tour, an overlooked gem, was this Symphony for Band. He wrote it in 1950-51, at the request of Maj. Hugh Curry, who had arranged for Hindemith to premiere it as guest conductor of the U.S. Army Band. I possess two recordings — the one conducted by Frederick Fennell, the other by Hindemith himself. The music gleams with Art Deco elegance, a brilliantly stylish way of being useful.

The Holst has long been a staple of wind ensembles and bands, and it is easy to hear why. It is light, folksy and utterly engaging.

Despite the old country lilt of his name, Giannini (1903-1966) was an American composer, born in Philadelphia. He was educated at the Milan Conservatory and then at the Juilliard School. He caucused with the “Neo-Romantics” and was best-known for his operas, choral works, symphonies and, to a lesser extent, his works for band.

Williams (1923-1976) was also an American, born in Arkansas; his undergraduate work was at Louisiana State University, and his graduate work was with Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers at the Eastman School of Music.

Williams was a wind player and, on the advice of his mentor, Hanson, specialized in compositions for wind ensembles (for which concert bands across the nation will be eternally grateful. This was not an exclusive specialization, however, and early on, he wrote a good many orchestral scores. Festival dates from 1961.

Admission to this concert is $15 general and $7 for students, with tickets sold at the door.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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