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Music Program Notes for
Band and Wind Ensemble Music


Dmitri Kabalevsky

Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904 - 1987) was born in St. Petersburg, the son of a Russian civil servant. Early on, he showed a talent for music, playing the piano by ear at the age of six and, soon after, trying to compose. His formal musical education waited until Kabalevsky was fourteen, when he and his family moved to Moscow. There he attended the Scriabin School of Music from 1919 to 1925. In 1925, he entered the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied composition with Nikolai Miaskovsky. Kabalevsky became an assistant instructor at the Conservatory and earned full professorship in 1939. His style is marked by clear tonality and energetic rhythms, which made it easy for him to abide by the Communist Party’s decree for music that was socially usable. He never abandoned his early interest in young people and produced numerous instrumental compositions and songs for them. He regularly corresponded with students at some 150 high schools, giving them advice and direction in their musical interests. Popular in his repertoire for band are the overture to his comic opera Colas Breugnon and his fast-paced suite The Comedians.

Colas Breugnon Overture

Kabalevsky’s first opera, Colas Breugnon, was first performed in Lenin­grad in February 1938 at the height of socialist realism. The spirited and sometimes comical Overture summarizes the three act opera based on a novel by Romain Rolland. The story revolves around a 16th Century Colas Breugnon, a Breton master carpenter who thwarts a villainous Duke, thereby drawing parallels to the workers of the Soviet Union. The opera introduces episodes from Colas’ past and present loves, including his wife. The music turns dramatic when returning soldiers bring the bubonic plague to the village and the Duke orders everything burned, including Colas’ carved statues. A widowed Colas survives and he renews a past love. Com­edy returns and Colas has revenge when the Duke’s commissioned statue is revealed showing the Duke seated backwards on a donkey.

Sonatina No. 1

The Sonatina No. 1 was written in 1930 and was the thirteenth of his more than 100 compositions. Written as a virtuoso piano solo, it was important in earning international recognition for the composer. Marvin Nelson has developed a marvelous orchestration in the vein of what Ravel achieved for Moussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition. The flowing rhythms and rich chords of the original have been further enriched by the tonal range available from the full wind ensemble. The relaxed Allegro and Andantino movements build the melodies that challenge the ensemble in the brisk Presto final movement with an active interplay between the brass and woodwind sections.

Vasily Kalinnikov

Vasily Kalinnikov was born in 1866 in Voina in the Government of Orlov, Russia. He received early musical training at the Orlovsky Seminary, where, at the age of 14, he directed the choir. He received a scholarship in 1884 that allowed him to attend the Philharmonic Music School in Moscow. He tried to earn a living by playing bassoon, timpani, or violin in theater orchestras, but the bitter poverty of his family forced him to abandon his studies. Tchaikovsky, impressed by Kalinnikov’s skill, secured him an appointment as conductor of the Italian Opera in Moscow for the 1893-4 season. Stricken by tuberculosis, he was forced to relinquish the position after just a few months. He moved to the relative warmth of the South Crimea, where he completed his two symphonies, orchestral intermezzi, a cantata, and incidental theatrical music. He died in 1901, two days before his 35th birthday.

Finale to Symphony No. 1

Kalinnikov’s First Symphony was a rousing success at its 1897 premiere at the Russian Music Society in Kiev. It was well received in Moscow, Vienna, and Berlin. The ‘Finale’ provides a summation of the full symphony that is thoroughly national in character. Starting with a broad, sonorous melody, we hear contrasts in texture and color. Plaintive and dance-like motives evolve into a spirited and triumphant ending. 

John Kandor

Although there had been no musical background in his family, John Kandor (b. 1927) began playing the piano at the age of four. His aunt taught him musical chords, which he credits as the foundation of his musical knowledge. His earliest experiences in the musical theater came from conducting orchestras for stock companies and making dance arrangements for the musicals "Gypsy" and "Irma la Douce."  In 1962, he formed a song partnership with the lyricist, Fred Ebb. Together, they experienced successes with Cabaret (1966), The Happy Time (1968), and Zorba (1968).

Cabaret, Selections for Concert Band

From the 1966 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical and the 1972 motion picture success, this rousing John Kander score has been competently arranged for concert band by Norman Leyden. The show is set in Berlin in 1930 and reflects a picture of decadent Germany in the years just before the rise of Hitler. The listener will recognize the tunes of Willkommen, Tomorrow Belongs To Me, Cabaret, Pineapple, Meeskite, and Married, before the finale reprise of the theme song. A variety of keys and styles are employed, adding color and contrast to the work. Solo passages are assigned to the French horn, euphonium, and oboe.

Bin Kaneda

Bin Kaneda (1935 - ) earned his B.A. degree in composition from the University of Tokyo in 1958. In 1956 and 1957, he won first prize at the Mainichi Newspaper composition contest with his chamber and orchestral music works. He was commissioned to write the required composition for the All Japan Band Contest in 1964, 1967, and 1972. Since 1971, Kaneda has been an associate professor in the music department at Gifu University.

Ondo (for Symphonic Band)

The Ondo introduces and builds on three basic themes. These very rhythmic themes begin softly amongst the sections of the band, building in a long crescendo to the strong finale, where all three themes appear simultaneously. The percussion section is featured in this work.

Lt. Col. Donald T. Kellett

Donald Thomas Kellett (USA, 1913 - 1991) was a career officer in the U. S. Army, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel in 1969. He was a professor of military science for three years at the Command and General Staff College and served as military advisor to embassies in Spain, Chile, and Indochina. A musicologist and self-taught composer, he wrote many military marches. His Follow Me is the official march of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and the Secretary of the Army is the official march of its namesake. Born in New York City in 1913, Kellett received a BA degree at Westminster College and did graduate work at Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin. Prior to enlisting in the Army in 1941, he was on the editorial staff of the "New York Daily News" and taught high school English. After retiring from military service, he became an officer of the Bank of America. He was a 22-year resident of Atherton, California, at the time of his death.

Congressional Honors March

This march was dedicated to the Members of the Congress of the United States and was first performed on Flag Day, 17 June 1959, at a ceremony at Fort Myer, Virginia, presided over by Secretary of the Army William M Brucker. The work opens with a comfortable march tune and tempo led by the high brass. The strains of America the Beautiful can be heard in the background. A flute filigree can be heard, next, above a dolce clarinet choir. Picking up energy, a reprise of America the Beautiful is carried by the brass to a grand finale.

Karl L. King

Karl Lawrence King (1891 - 1971) was born in Paintersville, Ohio, and later moved with his family to Canton. Inspired by local bands, the 12 year old worked selling newspapers to earn money to buy a cornet. He later traded for the euphonium because of embouchure problems. King left school after the 8th grade and became a printer’s assistant. Studying music scores, he learned the rudiments of composing. At 17, a march and a dirge became the first of over 200 marches and 100 other works published in his lifetime. After playing with various circus bands, he joined the Barnum and Bailey Circus Band at 22, and later served 2 years as its bandmaster. Working at night by the light of a kerosene lamp, he wrote music to match the rhythm of the circus acts and had 150 works in print two years later. His 1916 marriage to Ruth Lovett, a calliope player with the circus, was frowned upon by her parents, because of the “questionable” people who traveled with the circus. His printing skills proved useful when he started his own publishing firm at 28. Settling in Fort Dodge, Iowa, he spent the next 51 years as the conductor of the city’s municipal band. He was one of the first composers to write for the burgeoning school band movement. In 1966, King said “I’ve sung my song. It was a rather simple one; it wasn’t too involved; I’m happy about it. In the last couple years . . . I’ve run out of tunes. When I ran out of tunes, I believed it was time to quit, and I’d like to recommend that as a matter of policy to all other composers.”

Barnum and Bailey's Favorite

This march has the power to conjure up the whole magnificent scene of the old tent circus -- all the aromas, all the sounds, all the sights, and, of course, the circus band. King wrote this march for the thirty-two-piece Barnum and Bailey Circus Band in 1913 at the request of the director. King was twenty-two at the time and was preparing to join the band as a euphonium player. The euphonium can be heard in a rousing countermelody.

The Purple Pageant

This concert march was dedicated by King to Glenn C. Bainum, Director of Bands at Northwestern University. In his 27 years of service as conductor of the bands, choirs, and orchestras, Bainum provided the leadership that was at a level set by William D. Revelli at the University of Michigan and A. A. Harding at the University of Illinois. He developed many new and spectacular formations with the electrically illuminated 200-member marching band. One can assume that the title of the march is a tribute to the pageantry of the purple uniformed bandsmen presenting one of these shows.

Thomas Knox

Thomas Powell Knox was born in Danville, Illinois, in 1937. As a young boy, he heard the US Marine Band on tour and he decided that he wanted to play in that band. He studied trumpet and cornet and majored in music at the University of Illinois, which is considered to be the birthplace of college band music. In 1961, he joined the Marine Band as a trumpeter, moving to the arranging staff in 1966. Three years later, he was appointed to the position of chief composer and arranger, which he held until his retirement in 1985. Knox’s music was often based on hymns, folk music, and patriotic tunes. His God of Our Fathers, a set of variations based on the Methodist tune, was commissioned for President Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration in 1981 and has been played at every subsequent presidential inauguration. The dean of American band music, Frederick Fennell, commented that Knox “… had a style definitely of his own. It was a blend of band and symphonic music … He wrote the kind of music he knew would give pleasure to other people, which is not so easy to do.” The Marine Band’s library contains 263 Knox arrangements for concert band, brass choir, string orchestra, wind ensembles, chorus and solo voice, and dance band. In 2004, he became ill on a train traveling from his home in Mount Dora, Florida, to Washington, D.C. He died from septicemia in a hospital in Columbia, South Carolina.

Sea Songs

Based on a number of nautical songs and sea chanties, Sea Songs was written for the 350th anniversary of the city of Boston and it was premiered there by the US Marine Band in May 1980. Notable among the songs are twelve variations of “Drunken Sailor.” Also heard is “O Shenandoah,” which originated as a river chanty and became popular with sea-going crews in the early 1800s.

Libby Larsen

Libby Larsen was born on Christmas Eve 1950 in Wilmington, Delaware. She still lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where her family moved when she was 3. In that year, she remembers watching her sister play the piano and enjoying its sound and vibrations. When her sister finished, she climbed on the stool and composed a series of clusters which she rearranged and wrote down for her mother’s approval. She learned to sing and sight read starting in the first grade at Christ the King School in Minneapolis. Ms. Larsen earned her Bachelor, Masters, and Doctoral degrees at the University of Minnesota, studying composition with Dominick Argento. In 1973, she co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composers Forum. She has composed over 200 works spanning the genres from orchestra, band, and choir to intimate chamber and solo voice and instrumental music. She has a 16 year old daughter.

Northern Star Fanfare

The Northern Star Fanfare was written for the 1987 inauguration of Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich. This short brass fanfare has percussive rhythm patterns of the trumpets against the warmer color of the horns and lower brass.

Morten Lauridsen

Morten Lauridsen was born in 1943 in the town of Colfax, situated amidst wheat-covered hills of eastern Washington state, and grew up around Portland, Oregon. He worked as a Forest Service firefighter and lookout; it was a time for contemplation and he decided to turn his life toward music. He enrolled in Whitman College but soon transferred to the University of Southern California to study composition with Halsey Stevens and Ingolf Dahl. He has served on USC’s faculty since he began teaching there in 1967. His compositions of sacred and folk music have become mainstays of the vocal repertoire. In 2005, he was named “American Choral Master” by the National Endowment of the Arts. In a White House ceremony in 2007, the President bestowed the National Medal of Arts on Lauridsen “for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power, and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide.” Lauridsen divides his time between Los Angeles and a summer residence, without electricity or running water, on Waldron Island in northwestern Washington, where he composed O Magnum Mysterium and Lux Eterna, in peace and serenity.

O Magnum Mysterium

O Magnum Mysterium is a responsory chant from the Matins of Christmas. Many composers have rendered the chant into contemporary settings. Premiered in 1994, Morten Lauridsen’s original choral rendition has become one of the world’s most performed compositions. The band transcription by H. Robert Reynolds has retained the flow and beauty of the choral original. Morten Lauridsen wrote: “For centuries, composers have been inspired by the beautiful O Magnum Mysterium text with its depiction of the birth of the new-born King amongst the lowly animals and shepherds. This affirmation of God’s grace to the meek and the adoration of the Blessed Virgin are celebrated in my setting through a quiet song of profound inner joy.” The variety of color and dynamics has been achieved through skillful blending of the brass and woodwinds. The thinly scored passages reflect the sacredness of the event, while the tutti sections resonate with warmth and richness. 

O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum, 
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera 
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum.
O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,     
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.

Pierre Leemans

Born in Schaarbeek, Belgium, in 1897, Pierre Leemans went on to study piano, harmony, orchestration, and composition and began his teaching career in 1917 at the Etterbeek Music Academy. At 22, he served his year of military duty and returned to teach music again until 1932, when he became the pianist-conductor-program director for the official broadcasting company, N.I.R. In 1934, he won the composition contest for the official march of the 1935 Brussels World Exposition. He founded the Schaarbeek High School Choir in 1940 and won a composition contest for school songs three years later. From entries by 109 anonymous composers, works by Leemans were selected for first and second prize for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. After a lifetime of composing, teaching, performing, and conducting, he died in 1980 at the age of eighty-two.

March des Parachutistes Belges

While he was serving his year of military duty at the end of World War I, Leemans' regimental commander asked him to compose a march; it was begun, but never finished. Near the end of World War II, he was having dinner with a group of paratroopers and was again asked to compose a march. As the group commander drove him home that night, the march theme came back to his mind, and he wrote out all of the parts for the official March of the Belgian Paratroopers after reaching home. A quiet, unaggressive essay in the easy-paced European style, it is set in the form of a “patrol”; the music marches on from the distance, plays, and passes. This arrangement was made by Charles Wiley at the request of his Lamar (Texas) University Band students for the march's first U.S. performance.

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber was born in London, England and received his education from Westminster School and Oxford University. The deviser of the children's board game "Calamity!," Lloyd Webber is far better known to audiences as the composer of hit musicals, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, Starlight Express, and Aspects of Love.

Selections from The Phantom of the Opera

This Warren Barker arrangement of tunes recalls the intriguing events of the classic tale. The sweetness of the tunes Think of Me and Angel of Music is abruptly interrupted by The Phantom of the Opera. The love themes develop in All I Ask Of You and The Point Of No Return, ending with the dramatic The Music Of The Night.

Ronald Lo Presti

Ronald Lo Presti was born October 28, 1933 in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Coincidentally, this was the same town in the Berkshire Mountains where Cole Porter bought his home in 1940 after returning from Paris. Lo Presti received his Bachelor of Music (1955) and Master of Music (1956) from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied under Louis Meninni and Bernard Rogers. After graduation, he worked as a music teacher and clarinet instructor at several public schools. From 1959 to 1960, he was an instructor in music theory at Texas Technological College, Lubbock. In another two-year period, he served as Composer-in-Residence with the Winfield, Kansas public schools. An appointment as assistant professor of theory and composition at Indiana University of Pennsylvania followed. From 1964 to his death on October 25, 1985, Lo Presti was a professor of music and theory at Arizona State University, Tempe.

Elegy For a Young American

The Elegy For a Young American was written in 1964 and is dedicated to the memory of President John F. Kennedy. The many stages of mourning can be felt as the work unfolds. A quiet adagio sets a tone of respect and solemnity in the beginning. Feelings of shock and denial are reflected by the dynamics and octave jumps in the melody. Anger and remorse express themselves, but they are replaced with a resolution of the loss and an allegro celebration of the contributions of this great American. The maestoso closing reminds us again of our loss.

Frederick Loewe

The son of a famous Viennese operetta tenor, Frederick Loewe began to study piano when he was five and at thirteen became the youngest pianist ever to appear as soloist with the Berlin Symphony. Composition also began early; during his early boyhood, he completed several musical numbers that were used in his father's act in a variety theater. Loewe came to the United States in 1924 to further his career as a piano virtuoso. Unable to get a hearing from managers, he decided to give up serious music. Supporting himself for a while by playing piano in a Greenwich Village night club and working as a bus boy in a cafeteria, Loewe eventually adopted a nomadic lifestyle, wandering across the US, taking on any job that came along. He prospected for gold, punched cattle in Montana, worked as a riding instructor in New Hampshire, delivered mail by horseback, engaged in professional boxing bouts in Brooklyn, and played piano on cruise ships and in beer halls. He had some success in the 1930's, when some of his songs made it into Broadway productions.

A change of fortune came when he met Alan Jay Lerner (1918 - ) at the Lambs Club in New York. Lerner was a Harvard graduate who had written sketches and lyrics for two Hasty Pudding shows. His ambition was to write texts and lyrics for the Broadway theater. His meeting with Loewe brought him a composer with similar dreams of Broadway. Their first production was Life of the Party, which opened on Broadway in 1942. Brigadoon was their first Broadway hit, premiering in 1947 and running for 581 performances. Their other collaborative hits were Paint Your Wagon (1951), My Fair Lady (1956), Gigi (1957), and Camelot (1960).

Lerner & Loewe in Concert

Written in the style of musical theater overtures, this arrangement by Warren Barker brings us memorable songs from the great Broadway productions of the lyricist Alan J. Lerner and the composer Frederick Loewe. Included in this arrangement are the romantic I Could Have Danced All Night and the cockney song Get Me To The Church On Time from "My Fair Lady" (1956).  The screen adaptation of Colette's "Gigi" (1957) provided us with Thank Heaven For Little Girls and The Night They Invented Champagne. The lavish production of "Camelot" (1960) included the lovely If Ever I Would Leave You.

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady is the musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion.” The 1956 Broadway production greatly pleased the public and the critics, earning many awards, including the longest-running musical at the time, with 2,717 performances. The lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner and the music of Frederick Loewe told the story of Professor Henry Higgins’ bet to transform an unrefined Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a lady, with all the plot turns involving love and ego. Robert Russell Bennett’s arrangement includes “With A Little Bit Of Luck,” “On The Street Where You Live,” “Wouldn't It Be Loverly,” “Get Me To The Church On Time,” “I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face,” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.”

Bob Lowden

Robert Lowden (1920 - 1999) was a prolific composer and arranger whose music reached far beyond the borders of his native New Jersey. He penned over 400 advertising jingles in his long career, but orchestras and bands know him for his many arrangements of popular and show tunes. Lowden studied at Temple University to be a music educator. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Band. He returned to his birthplace, Camden, New Jersey, to teach during the 1950s. Lowden wrote for the Somerset label and its feature group, 101 Strings. He served as the lead arranger for the Philadelphia Pops and often took a bow at performances of his works by the Ocean City Pops at the Music Pier.

Armed Forces Salute

Each of our military services is saluted in this medley. The Army leads off with The Caisson Song, followed by Semper Paratus (Always Ready), the marching song for the Coast Guard. The honorees of the The Marines’ Hymn and The U.S. Air Force are obvious. Equally recognizable is the Navy’s Anchors Aweigh. Lowden has skillfully woven patriotic phrases as the transitions between the major melodies. Can you recognize them?