Can they sing with all the voices of the mountain, or paint with all the colors of the wind? Well, no, Eastern Michigan University’s Music and Dance Department does not have the ability to mimic Disney’s “Pocahontas.” But EMU’s Wind Symphony can create music using only wind instruments and a piano, and they will be doing so Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. in Pease Auditorium.
The concert will include six pieces: “Aegean Festival Overture” by Andreas Makris, “Prelude in E Flat Minor, Op. 34” by Dmitri Shostakovich as transcribed by H. Robert Reynolds, “Lux Aurumque” by Eric Whitacre and “Toccata, Adagio and Fugue” by Johann Sebastian Bach arranged by John P. Paynter.
After an intermission, there will be two more songs, each divided into multiple parts. The first is “Rusty Air in Carolina” by Mason Bates followed by “New England Triptych” by William Schuman.
“Rusty Air in Carolina” is divided into four parts: I. “Nan’s Porch,” II. “Katydid Country,” III. “Southern Midnight” and IV. “Locusts Singing in the Heat of Dawn.”
In “About the Music” Bates wrote, “Not only did the thick buzzing of cicadas and katydids always accompany the concerts there, but sometimes it was the music itself: On more than one occasion, I remember sitting on the porch of 100-year old Nan Burt and listening to the sounds of summer while she told stories from her long life.”
Nicole Harris, a flute player for EMU’s symphony, described the piece.
“Of interest is ‘Rusty Air in Carolina,’ a piece written originally for orchestra and electronics, intended to take the audience through a journey in the sounds of a southern summer,” she said.
Compare this to “New England Triptych,” which is divided into I. “Be Glad then America,” II. “When Jesus Wept” and III. “Chester.”
Schuman claimed to have based his music off the work of William Billing, specifically the lines, “Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people — behold! I will send you corn and wine and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith. Be glad then, America, shout and rejoice! Fear not O land, be glad and rejoice. Hallelujah!”
Harris said, “The theme of this concert is transformations: Each piece was originally written for a different medium (orchestra or choir) and was transcribed to be performed by wind ensemble and we have worked on close to all six pieces per two hour rehearsal.”
The musicians participating in this concert have been practicing more than the two hours at rehearsal. More than simply playing the music, the musicians in the Wind Symphony should be passionate about the music.
Ashley Hagadon, who plays the piccolo in the symphony said, “It has incredible amounts of energy and feeling. The angsty horn and trumpet parts give me goose bumps every time I hear them. It’s a true masterpiece. Hearing live instrumental music can evoke feelings that you never thought could arise from music.”
EMU students can hear this music for themselves for free, as well as being worth an Learning Beyond the Classroom credit.
As Harris said, “This concert really gives the Wind Symphony an opportunity to show its versatility as a wind band. From Bach, to Bates and Whitacre, we have a great variety in store for this upcoming performance.”
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