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Gerald Carpenter: SBCC Concert Band to Perform Spring Concert

Friday's program at the Marjorie Luke Theatre explores history, geography and geology

The SBCC Concert Band, conducted by Eric Heidner, will perform a spring concert at 7 p.m. Friday in the Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High School, 721 E. Cota St.

American composer Alfred Reed was virtually born into music.
American composer Alfred Reed was virtually born into music.

The program will include “The Hounds of Spring” by Alfred Reed, “Perseus” by Satoshi Yagisawa, “Bonaparte” by Otto Schwarz, “Cambrian Explosion” by Richard Saucedo and Carl Orff’s rousing medieval songfest “Carmina Burana.”

Reed (1921-2005) was a prolific and oft-performed U.S. composer whose more than 200 published works have become concert staples, especially for concert bands and wind ensembles. He traveled far and wide in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia as a guest conductor.

“The Hounds of Spring,” written in 1980, was inspired by Algernon Charles Swinburne’s “Atalanta in Calydon” (1865), in which the poet attempted to re-create a classical Greek tragedy in modern English verse. In his piece, Reed wished to capture the dual elements of the poem — high-spirited youthful jauntiness and the innocence of tender love.

Yagisawa was born in Iwate Prefecture (Japan) in 1975. He earned a master’s degree in composition from Musashino Academia Musicae, where he minored in trumpet and band instruction. He has composed a wide variety of music for orchestra, chamber ensembles and chorus, and his dramatic compositions for band, such as “Perseus,” are becoming increasingly popular.

Schwarz was born in Neunkirchen, Austria, in 1967. Classically trained in composition at the University of Music in Vienna, he nowadays works almost exclusively for film and television — what he himself calls “light music.” “Bonaparte” is a painless summary of a notable career in French history (you will know it is French history because of recurrences of “La Marseilles” in the work — otherwise you might think you were in Aaron Copland’s America).

The publisher of the Saucedo piece has this to say of it: “The Cambrian period of our planet’s geological history (roughly 500 million years ago) saw an explosion of plant and animal diversity evolving into many of the complex life forms familiar today. Richard Saucedo gives us an ‘explosion’ of musical forms and surprises in this fast-paced and powerful work. ... A recurring mallet and timpani pattern provides unity amidst a diverse musical palette that ranges from jazzy to celebratory. The sudden appearance of the familiar hymn ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’ is both stunning and dramatic as it ties the entire work together.” Having heard the “Explosion” myself, I have to say this is a surprisingly accurate description of it.

Orff’s famous and/or notorious “Carmina Burana” was brilliantly transcribed for concert band by John Krance, and while many may miss the human voices — at first, anyway — few will regret the rather vulgar Latin texts which, when sung, are incomprehensible anyway. The music is just as exciting as ever.

Tickets to see the Concert Band are $12 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors, and are available at the door or by calling 805.965.5935.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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