Heidelberg Symphonic Band to stage fall concert

Nov 20, 2012

The Heidelberg University Symphonic Band and the Chamber Winds, under the direction of Dr. John E. Owen, will perform their fall concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in Brenneman Concert Hall.

The Symphonic Band will open the program with “Nabucco Overture” from Verdi’s 1842 opera based on the Biblical story of Nebuchadnezzar. It follows the plight of the Jews as they are exiled from their homeland. With its dramatic contrasts and lyrical melodies, it is well suited to the modern concert band.

The repertoire next moves to “Elegy for Albinoni,” a memorial piece that honors the prolific but rarely performed Baroque-era composer Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751). The opening theme sets the ultra-romantic tone and the second is based on rhythmically and harmonically altered versions of a few measures of one of Albinoni’s violin sonatas. The two themes are used in alteration, in fragments or simultaneously throughout the piece. “Elegy” was originally commissioned for string orchestra in 2008 and commissioned for winds in 2010.

The Chamber Winds – a subset of the full Symphonic Band – will perform two pieces that borrow from Heidelberg University’s upcoming Christmas production. Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and “Carillons at Christmastide,” based on the carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” were both originally set for orchestra, making them a natural fit for the theme of this concert.

Following intermission, the Symphonic Band returns to perform an orchestral piece, “La Procesion del Rocio,” premiered in 1913 as one of the most popular works by Spanish composer Juaquin Turina. Translated to “The Procession of the Dew,” the piece is light and energetic, and captures the excitement of the populace leading to a festival in the composer’s hometown of Madrid, which was the inspiration for the piece. The program concludes with “Polka” from Czech composer Bedrich Smetana’s opera, “The Bartered Bride.” The composition tells the story of how true love prevails over the efforts of ambitious parents and a scheming marriage broker.

The 42 members of the Symphonic Band are selected by audition to play campus concerts, festival, convention and tour concerts. The band’s literature is chosen from standard and contemporary band repertoire, utilizing various instrumental combinations. Owen, professor of trumpet, is the director of Heidelberg School of Music and director of bands at Heidelberg.

The concert is free and open to the public.