1. “Star Spangled Banner"
soloist: Heather Gallagher, mezzo-soprano
John Stafford Smith lyrics by Francis Scott Key
The "Star-Spangled Banner," with lyrics by Francis Scott Key and music composed by John Stafford Smith, has been the national anthem of the United States since 1931. This edition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" is the U.S. Armed Forces edition from May 1997.
The lyrics of the "Star-Spangled Banner" are inspired by the events of the War of 1812, during which Key, a lawyer and amateur poet, observed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British forces. Despite the heavy attack, the American flag continued to wave, inspiring Key to write the poem that would later become the national anthem. The music of the "Star-Spangled Banner" was composed by John Stafford Smith, an English composer, and is based on the melody of "To Anacreon in Heaven," a popular song of the late 18th century.
In this U.S. Armed Forces edition, the traditional arrangement of the "Star-Spangled Banner" is given a militaristic twist, with brass instruments and marching percussion driving the melody forward with a powerful and patriotic energy. The performance will be a fitting tribute to the bravery and sacrifices of the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and a celebration of the enduring spirit of the American nation.
2. “Crown Imperial Coronation March”
Sir William Walton arr. David Drage
Sir William Walton's "Crown Imperial Coronation March" stands as one of the most iconic and regal musical compositions of the 20th century. Originally composed in 1937 for the coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom, this majestic march has since become a beloved piece, often performed on grand ceremonial occasions.
The march, arranged for brass ensemble by David Drage, maintains the grandeur and splendor of the original orchestral version while highlighting the unique sonorities and power of brass instruments. Drage's arrangement expertly captures the essence of Walton's composition, bringing out the majestic character and ceremonial atmosphere inherent in the music.
The piece begins with a stately introduction, announcing the arrival of royalty and setting the stage for the grand procession. The brass instruments take center stage, their bold and resonant tones filling the air with a sense of grandeur. As the march unfolds, the brass ensemble showcases its versatility, blending rich harmonies, vibrant fanfares, and spirited rhythms.
The main theme, marked by its memorable and noble melody, sweeps through the ensemble, evoking a sense of triumph and celebration. The music builds in intensity and momentum, carrying the listener on a captivating journey. The combination of triumphant brass fanfares and rhythmic energy creates an atmosphere of pomp and ceremony, reminiscent of a coronation procession.
Walton's masterful orchestration is skillfully translated into the brass ensemble arrangement by David Drage. The arrangement highlights the distinctive qualities of each brass instrument, from the commanding presence of the trumpets and trombones to the warm and resonant tones of the French horns and tuba. The interplay between the various brass voices adds depth and texture to the composition, creating a dynamic and engaging musical experience.
As the march reaches its climax, the brass ensemble unleashes its full power, culminating in a grand and majestic finale. The resounding chords and triumphant fanfares bring the composition to a resolute and awe-inspiring close, leaving a lasting impression of royalty and splendor.
Sir William Walton's "Crown Imperial Coronation March," arranged for brass ensemble by David Drage, is a testament to the enduring appeal of ceremonial music. Its grandeur, noble melodies, and powerful brass instrumentation make it a timeless and fitting tribute to regal occasions. This arrangement allows brass ensembles to bring the majestic spirit of Walton's composition to life, creating an unforgettable musical experience for performers and audiences alike.
3. “Romeo and Juliet (excerpts)”
“I. The Montagues and the Capulets”
“VII. The Death of Tybalt”
Special introduction by Robert Lublin, PhD
Sergei Prokofiev arr. Joseph Kreines
"Romeo and Juliet (excerpts)" is a suite of music composed by Sergei Prokofiev for his famous ballet score based on William Shakespeare's timeless tragedy. The three selected excerpts, "I. The Montagues and the Capulets," "IV. Dance," and "VII. The Death of Tybalt," showcase Prokofiev's innovative musical style that blends elements of classical music with modern sounds and harmonies. In this performance, the pieces have been arranged by Joseph Kreines for symphonic brass (6 trumpets, 4 horns, 4 trombones, 1 euphonium, 2 tubas, 4 percussion). The rich and powerful sounds of symphonic brass will bring even more drama and emotional intensity to these already powerful pieces. The performance will be preceded by a brief presentation by Shakespearean scholar Robert Lublin, Professor of Theatre Arts at UMASS Boston, who will explore the passions evoked in Romeo and Juliet and their ideal suitability to musical adaptation. Whether you are a fan of classical music, ballet, or simply appreciate great storytelling through music, this performance of "Romeo and Juliet (excerpts)" with the added presentation by Professor Lublin is not to be missed. Get ready to be transported to Renaissance Verona and experience the drama, passion, and tragedy of one of the greatest love stories of all time.
4. "Taps" and "Retreat"
Daniel Adams Butterfield arr. Thomas Knox
"Taps" and "Retreat" are two poignant and significant compositions in the realm of military music. Originally composed by Daniel Adams Butterfield during the American Civil War, these melodies have become synonymous with moments of solemn reflection and tribute to fallen soldiers. Thomas Knox's arrangement for brass ensemble allows these compositions to resonate with a timeless and evocative power, capturing the essence of their historical and emotional significance.
"Taps," also known as "Butterfield's Lullaby," is a bugle call traditionally performed at military funerals, memorial services, and other solemn occasions. This hauntingly beautiful melody has become an emblem of remembrance and serves as a poignant farewell to those who have served and sacrificed for their country. In Knox's brass ensemble arrangement, the mournful tones of the bugle are translated into the expressive voices of the brass instruments, creating a rich and resonant interpretation. The poignant simplicity and profound emotional impact of "Taps" are retained, ensuring that the melody continues to evoke a sense of reverence and honor.
"Retreat," on the other hand, is a bugle call that signals the end of the official duty day and the lowering of the national flag. It is a symbol of respect and closure, marking the transition from the day's activities to a period of rest and reflection. As the brass ensemble performs Knox's arrangement of "Retreat," the music carries a sense of solemnity and reverence. The dignified tones of the brass instruments, combined with the deliberate pacing and melodic contours, evoke a somber atmosphere that pays tribute to the end of the day's duties and honors the sacrifices made by military personnel.
Thomas Knox's arrangement for brass ensemble allows these timeless compositions to be experienced with added depth and resonance. The expressive capabilities of the brass instruments add a new dimension to the melodies, enhancing their emotional impact and creating a powerful connection with the listener. The arrangement showcases the versatility of the brass ensemble, highlighting the warm and lyrical qualities of the French horns, the brilliance of the trumpets, the noble sound of the trombones, and the resonant foundation of the tuba.
Both "Taps" and "Retreat" by Daniel Adams Butterfield, arranged for brass ensemble by Thomas Knox, serve as musical tributes to those who have served and fallen in military service. Through their evocative melodies and the powerful medium of brass instruments, these compositions honor the sacrifices and evoke a profound sense of reverence. Knox's arrangement allows these melodies to endure, ensuring that they continue to resonate with audiences and serve as a reminder of the enduring spirit of patriotism and remembrance.
5. “American the Beautiful”
soloist: Heather Gallagher, mezzo-soprano
Samuel Ward arr. Stephen Bulla
lyrics Katharine Lee Bates
"America the Beautiful" stands as one of the most beloved and cherished patriotic songs in the American repertoire. With its inspiring lyrics and powerful melody, it has become an anthem that celebrates the natural beauty and unity of the United States. Composed by Samuel Ward with lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates, this iconic composition has been arranged for brass ensemble by Stephen Bulla, with the addition of a soloist, Heather Gallagher, mezzo-soprano.
The arrangement by Stephen Bulla presents a fresh interpretation of "America the Beautiful," allowing the piece to be experienced in a new light while maintaining the essence of its original composition. The brass ensemble serves as a powerful backdrop, providing a rich and resonant foundation for the soaring melodies and heartfelt lyrics.
As the piece begins, the brass ensemble sets a majestic tone, capturing the grandeur of the American landscape. The rich harmonies and vibrant textures of the brass instruments evoke a sense of pride and awe, reflecting the magnificence of the country being celebrated. Heather Gallagher, with her mezzo-soprano voice, enters as the soloist, lending her expressive and emotive interpretation to the iconic lyrics penned by Katharine Lee Bates.
Gallagher's voice soars above the brass ensemble, carrying the listener on a musical journey that traverses the diverse landscapes of America. Her dynamic and versatile vocal range effortlessly captures the patriotic spirit and heartfelt emotions embedded in the lyrics. With each verse, Gallagher's interpretation, supported by the brass ensemble, evokes a sense of unity, resilience, and love for the nation.
Stephen Bulla's arrangement expertly showcases the versatility of the brass ensemble, highlighting the unique qualities of each instrument. From the brilliant fanfares of the trumpets to the warm and mellow tones of the French horns and the resonant foundation provided by the tuba, the ensemble breathes life into the composition, immersing the listener in a tapestry of sound that amplifies the beauty and significance of the lyrics.
"America the Beautiful" composed by Samuel Ward, with lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates, arranged for brass ensemble by Stephen Bulla, featuring soloist Heather Gallagher, mezzo-soprano, is a stirring and resonant tribute to the United States. This arrangement captures the essence of the original composition while offering a fresh and compelling interpretation. Through Gallagher's expressive vocals and the power of the brass ensemble, the piece invites the listener to reflect upon the country's natural wonders, its strength, and its unwavering spirit.
Jean Sibelius arr. Joseph Kreines
"Finlandia," originally composed by Jean Sibelius in 1899 as a symphonic poem, has become one of Finland's most cherished musical works and an emblem of Finnish national identity. The piece captures the spirit of Finnish nationalism and serves as a symbol of resistance against oppressive forces, making it a staple in orchestral and band repertoire worldwide. In this arrangement for brass ensemble by Joseph Kreines, the stirring power of "Finlandia" is translated into a vibrant and sonorous display of brass instrumentation.
The piece begins with a solemn and mysterious brass fanfare, evoking a sense of anticipation and contemplation. The opening theme, known as the "Finlandia Hymn," emerges gently from the depths of the brass section, as if echoing through the Finnish landscape. It is a melody of remarkable beauty and simplicity, conveying both melancholy and hope.
As the piece progresses, the brass ensemble showcases its versatility, with various sections taking turns to present the melodic material. The arrangement effectively utilizes the full range of the brass instruments, from the resounding power of the trombones and tubas to the shining brilliance of the trumpets and French horns. The interplay between the different brass voices creates a rich tapestry of sound, intensifying the emotional impact of the composition.
The central section of the arrangement features a series of bold and triumphant brass fanfares. These resounding calls carry an air of defiance and strength, embodying the spirit of the Finnish people's struggle for independence and cultural freedom. The brass ensemble, united in its delivery, unleashes a magnificent display of power and unity, echoing the unwavering resolve of a nation.
In the final section, the "Finlandia Hymn" returns, now with greater fervor and determination. The brass ensemble builds up to a climactic moment, where the combined force of the instruments reaches its pinnacle. This transcendent culmination serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Finnish people and their unyielding pursuit of liberty.
Joseph Kreines's masterful arrangement of "Finlandia" for brass ensemble breathes new life into Sibelius's iconic composition. Through the bold and resonant colors of the brass instruments, the arrangement captures the essence of Finnish national pride, the longing for freedom, and the celebration of unity. The resounding sound of the brass ensemble allows the audience to experience the visceral power and emotional depth of this timeless musical work, leaving a lasting impression of strength and hope.
7. "Irish Tune from County Derry"
Percy Grainger arr. Joseph Kreines
"Irish Tune from County Derry," also known as "Londonderry Air," is a beloved traditional Irish melody that has captured the hearts of listeners around the world. Percy Grainger, an Australian-born composer known for his innovative arrangements of folk music, created a stunning rendition of this timeless tune. In this arrangement for brass ensemble by Joseph Kreines, the inherent beauty and emotional depth of "Irish Tune from County Derry" are brilliantly brought to life through the resonant and expressive qualities of brass instrumentation.
The piece opens with a gentle and nostalgic brass introduction, setting the stage for the evocative melody that follows. The melody, initially introduced by the solo trumpet, emerges with a tender and melancholic quality, transporting the listener to the serene landscapes of County Derry in Ireland. It is a melody that speaks of longing, love, and a deep connection to one's homeland.
As the arrangement unfolds, the brass ensemble weaves a rich tapestry of harmonies, effectively capturing the essence of the Irish spirit. The warmth of the French horns, the lyricism of the trombones, and the brilliance of the trumpets all contribute to the expressive depth of the composition. The ensemble's nuanced dynamics and sensitive phrasing highlight the emotional nuances of the melody, evoking a sense of yearning and introspection.
Throughout the arrangement, Joseph Kreines skillfully employs the various voices of the brass ensemble, allowing each section to shine and contribute to the overall musical narrative. The interplay between the different brass voices creates a vibrant dialogue, enhancing the melodic and harmonic complexity of the piece. The arrangement showcases the versatility of the brass instruments, from the delicate and poignant solos to the powerful and resonant chorales that swell with emotive intensity.
"Irish Tune from County Derry" reaches its emotional climax in a glorious moment of collective sound. The brass ensemble's full sonority and unified power express the profound depth of feeling contained within the melody. The arrangement concludes with a poignant and tender coda, leaving the listener with a sense of tranquility and bittersweet nostalgia.
Joseph Kreines's arrangement of "Irish Tune from County Derry" for brass ensemble not only pays homage to the beauty of the original melody but also adds a new dimension to its expressive potential. Through the rich timbre and expressive capabilities of the brass instruments, the arrangement captures the essence of Irish folk music and the deep emotional resonance it carries. This performance invites the audience on a journey through the Irish countryside, offering a glimpse into the longing, love, and rich cultural heritage embedded within this cherished melody.
8. "Variations on America"
Charles Ives arr. Eric Crees
"Variations on America" is a captivating and spirited musical work originally composed by the American composer Charles Ives. Known for his innovative and unconventional approach to composition, Ives created a dynamic and engaging piece that pays homage to the patriotic spirit and cultural diversity of the United States. In this arrangement for brass ensemble by Eric Crees, the vibrant and resounding qualities of brass instrumentation bring Ives's imaginative variations to life, creating a rousing and exhilarating musical experience.
The piece begins with a familiar tune, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," which serves as the foundation for the subsequent variations. The arrangement immediately captures the attention of the audience with a bold and energetic fanfare, showcasing the power and brilliance of the brass ensemble. This initial statement establishes a sense of celebration and sets the stage for the journey that follows.
As the variations unfold, Eric Crees skillfully explores a wide range of musical styles and techniques, showcasing the versatility of the brass instruments. Each variation presents a unique interpretation of the original melody, highlighting different aspects of American musical traditions and cultural influences. From lively ragtime rhythms to soulful blues inflections, from grandiose marches to poignant hymn-like passages, the arrangement takes the listener on a dynamic and diverse musical voyage.
The brass ensemble's ability to blend and articulate as a unified force shines throughout the piece. The various brass voices, from the sonorous trombones and tubas to the sparkling trumpets and French horns, blend seamlessly, creating a rich and vibrant sound palette. The ensemble's precise execution and expressive phrasing bring out the nuances and character of each variation, drawing the audience deeper into the ever-evolving musical tapestry.
One of the notable features of the arrangement is its incorporation of vibrant and virtuosic solo passages, allowing individual brass players to showcase their technical prowess and musicality. These moments of individual brilliance are woven seamlessly into the overall fabric of the ensemble, further enhancing the diversity and depth of the musical experience.
"Variations on America" reaches its grand finale with a resounding and triumphant restatement of the original melody. The brass ensemble unites in a powerful and exuberant finale, leaving the audience uplifted and inspired. The arrangement concludes with a thrilling coda that showcases the ensemble's collective virtuosity and concludes the piece with a memorable flourish.
Eric Crees's arrangement of "Variations on America" for brass ensemble captures the essence of Charles Ives's imaginative and eclectic composition. Through the resounding power, expressive range, and technical brilliance of the brass instruments, the arrangement brings to life the vibrant tapestry of American musical traditions. It celebrates the rich cultural heritage and diversity that defines the United States, leaving the audience with a sense of pride, joy, and appreciation for the musical fabric that weaves together this great nation.
9. “Nimrod from Enigma Variations"
Edward Elgar arr. Joseph Kreines
Edward Elgar's "Enigma Variations" stands as one of the most beloved and iconic compositions in the British classical music repertoire. Within this remarkable work, the ninth variation, known as "Nimrod," has emerged as a masterpiece in its own right. Originally scored for full orchestra, the arrangement for brass by Joseph Kreines further highlights the inherent power and expressive qualities of Elgar's profound composition.
"Nimrod" is named after a biblical figure who was known for his wisdom and strength. Elgar dedicated this variation to his close friend, Augustus J. Jaeger, who played a pivotal role in the composer's artistic development and offered unwavering support during challenging times. This dedication lends the music an added layer of personal significance and emotional depth.
Kreines' arrangement for brass captures the timeless beauty of the original composition while showcasing the rich tonal qualities and ensemble dynamics of the brass instruments. The brass section, consisting of trumpets, horns, trombones, and tubas, brings a resounding and majestic quality to Elgar's noble melody.
The piece opens with a serene and introspective theme introduced by the solo horn, setting a contemplative mood. This melody gradually unfolds, building in intensity and complexity as it passes through different brass voices, creating a sense of grandeur and solemnity. The interplay between the various brass instruments, characterized by lush harmonies and skillful counterpoint, adds depth and richness to the arrangement.
As the music progresses, "Nimrod" reaches its emotional peak, with a powerful climax that resounds with aching beauty. The brass section, united in sound and purpose, evokes a profound sense of unity and strength. The gradual decrescendo that follows, leading back to a peaceful conclusion, reflects a moment of contemplation and reflection, leaving a lasting impression on the listener.
Elgar's "Nimrod from Enigma Variations," in Kreines' masterful brass arrangement, exemplifies the timeless appeal of this cherished piece of music. Through its expressive melodies, harmonies, and the sheer sonorous impact of the brass instruments, the arrangement invites us to experience a range of emotions and contemplate the enduring power of friendship, support, and unity.
10. “Resurrection Symphony (Excerpts from the Finale)”
Gustav Mahler arr. Stephen Bulla
Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2, commonly referred to as the "Resurrection Symphony," stands as a monumental and deeply spiritual work of musical art. The finale of this symphony, with its awe-inspiring depiction of resurrection and transcendence, is a tour de force that resonates with audiences across generations. In this arrangement for brass by Stephen Bulla, the grandeur and emotional intensity of Mahler's original composition are heightened, showcasing the power and versatility of the brass ensemble.
The "Resurrection Symphony" is a musical exploration of profound existential questions and the human journey from darkness to enlightenment. Mahler's score encompasses a vast range of emotions, from moments of despair and anguish to passages of serene beauty and ultimately, a triumphant transformation. The finale serves as a culmination of these themes, offering a transformative experience of hope, redemption, and spiritual rebirth.
Stephen Bulla's arrangement for brass instruments captures the essence and magnitude of Mahler's vision. The brass ensemble, consisting of trumpets, horns, trombones, and tubas, brings a rich and resonant quality to the music, amplifying its impact. The arrangement embraces the unique timbral qualities of the brass instruments, allowing them to shine and convey the emotional depth and power of Mahler's composition.
The excerpts from the finale of the "Resurrection Symphony" chosen for this arrangement represent some of the most climactic and transcendent moments of the symphony. The music begins with a hushed and ethereal introduction, creating an atmosphere of anticipation and mystery. As the brass instruments enter, their majestic fanfares and stirring melodies gradually build in intensity, evoking a sense of awakening and transformation.
Throughout the excerpts, the brass ensemble showcases its virtuosity and expressive capabilities. Mahler's sweeping melodies, intricate harmonies, and dynamic contrasts are rendered with precision and nuance, highlighting the emotional richness of the music. The brass voices intertwine and harmonize, creating a tapestry of sound that immerses the listener in the symphony's emotional journey.
As the music reaches its climax, the brass ensemble rises to the occasion, unleashing a powerful surge of sound that embodies the resurrection theme. The triumphant melodies and soaring harmonies resonate with a profound sense of exaltation and joy. The arrangement by Stephen Bulla preserves the essence of Mahler's original composition while capitalizing on the unique qualities of the brass instruments, resulting in a performance that is both awe-inspiring and emotionally resonant.
"Resurrection Symphony Excerpts from the Finale" in Stephen Bulla's arrangement for brass exemplifies the transcendent power of Mahler's music and its ability to uplift and inspire. Through its monumental melodies, rich harmonies, and the resounding impact of the brass instruments, the arrangement invites the audience on a transformative journey from darkness to light, culminating in a profound musical experience of resurrection and spiritual renewal.
11. "Semper Fidelis March"
John Philip Sousa arr. Michael Allen
"Semper Fidelis March" stands as one of the most recognizable and patriotic compositions by the "March King" himself, John Philip Sousa. Originally written as a military march in 1888, Sousa's rousing and spirited composition captures the essence of American patriotism and has become synonymous with national pride. The arrangement for brass by Michael Allen further amplifies the energy and grandeur of the original work, highlighting the brilliance and power of the brass ensemble.
The title, "Semper Fidelis," which translates to "Always Faithful" in Latin, serves as the motto of the United States Marine Corps. Sousa composed this march as a tribute to the Marines, honoring their unwavering dedication and loyalty. The music reflects the noble and heroic spirit of the Marine Corps, evoking a sense of duty, honor, and courage.
Michael Allen's arrangement for brass instruments brings out the inherent boldness and brilliance of Sousa's composition. The brass ensemble, consisting of trumpets, horns, trombones, and tubas, lends a resounding and majestic quality to the march. The precision and power of the brass instruments perfectly complement the martial character of the music, creating an exhilarating and invigorating experience.
The march begins with a dynamic and assertive introduction, characterized by a snappy rhythm and bold brass fanfares. This opening section sets the tone for the piece, establishing an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement. As the march progresses, the main theme emerges, carried by various brass voices in a spirited and rhythmic manner. The interplay between the different brass instruments creates a vibrant and dynamic texture, showcasing the versatility and expressive range of the ensemble.
Throughout the composition, Sousa's masterful melodic writing and harmonic progression engage the listener, inspiring a sense of pride and patriotism. The memorable and catchy themes, supported by intricate brass flourishes and thrilling runs, make the march a joyous and uplifting experience. The arrangement by Michael Allen preserves the integrity of Sousa's original vision while enhancing the impact of the brass ensemble, resulting in a performance that is both exhilarating and moving.
"Semper Fidelis March" in Michael Allen's arrangement for brass exemplifies the enduring popularity of Sousa's compositions and their ability to stir the hearts of audiences. Through its spirited melodies, lively rhythms, and the commanding presence of the brass instruments, the arrangement celebrates the dedication and valor of the United States Marine Corps and embodies the indomitable spirit of patriotism.