Road to the Stars

University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Matthew George, conductor

Innova 651

 

1. Danzón No. 2

Arturo Márquez/tr. Andrew Boysen, Jr.

            This transcription was recorded with generous permission by Peer International Corp. (BMI). The transcription of Danzón No. 2 was commissioned by the University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and is presented on this recording.

            Arturo Márquez has established himself as one of the most prolific Mexican composers since Jose Moncayo, Silvestre Revueltas and Carlos Chávez. This work, Danzón No. 2, based on the popular dance form is one of many Danzóns Márquez has written. While approaching the composition with a serious classical approach, Márquez shares with the classical audience his sincere enjoyment of the Mexican popular musical type that breathes energy and enthusiasm to the work.

            Danzón No. 2 is a score in which Márquez himself addresses an emotional mix such as nostalgia and joy, all with an underlying dance feel set in symphonic form. The composer has said “ . . . this music is a tribute to all that gives birth to the danzón. It tries to approach rhythms, in the closest possible way, to its nostalgic tunes, to its montuno (rustic, wild) rhythms, and even if it profanes its intimacy, its form and harmonic language, it is a personal way to express my respect and emotion toward the genuine popular music.”

 

2. Scherzo

Andrew Boysen, Jr.

            The form of the composition is a semi-traditional scherzo with trio. The opening material is provided by the clarinets as a subdued, undulating chordal pattern. A sprightly melody emerges from the chordal pattern in the flutes and clarinets and gradually builds in intensity. The brass presents a second theme, more vigorous and powerful in nature which combines with the woodwind melody to create the initial climax for the opening portion of the composition. The trio section, in true trio form, features the flute, marimba and string bass in a tranquil interlude, before developing to a second climax. The opening material is heard again in exact repetition, followed by a lengthy coda. The final section of the coda concludes with the dramatic and triumphant sounds of the original melody played by the full band only to fade away to the gentle hush of the clarinets’ chordal pattern restated from the beginning of the piece.

– Andrew Boysen, Jr.

 

            Andrew Boysen, Jr. is presently an assistant professor in the music department at the University of New Hampshire, where he conducts the wind symphony and teaches conducting, composition and orchestration. He remains active as a guest conductor and clinician, appearing with high school, university and festival ensembles across the United States and Great Britain.

            Boysen earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in wind conducting at the Eastman School of Music, his Master of Music degree in wind conducting from Northwestern University, and his Bachelor of Music degree in music education and music composition from the University of Iowa.

            He maintains an active schedule as a composer, receiving commissions from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Orchestra Festival, the Iowa All-State Band, the Rhode Island All-State Band, the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association, and many university and high school concert bands across the United States. Boysen won the International Horn Society Composition Contest in 2000, the University of Iowa Honors Composition Prize in 1991 and has twice won the Claude T. Smith Memorial Band Composition Contest, in 1991 for I Am and in 1994 for Ovations. Boysen has several published works with the Neil A. Kjos Music Company, Wingert-Jones Music and Ludwig Music. Recordings of his music appear on the Sony, R-Kal, Mark, St. Olaf, Elf and Innova labels.

 

3-5. Bohemian Dances

Guy Woolfenden

            One of my favourite Shakespeare plays is The Winter’s Tale, and I have written music for three completely different productions during my time as Head of Music to the Royal Shakespeare Company. It is from this source that the basic themes for Bohemian Dances, and an earlier version Three Dances for Clarinet Choir, have emerged, Act IV of the play is set in the kingdom of Bohemia — hence the title of the work. Shakespeare calls for “A Dance of Shepherds and Shepherdesses,” which gives Florizel, the son of Polixenes, (King of Bohemia) a chance to become better acquainted with the beautiful Perdita, the lost daughter of Leontes, (King of Sicilia). The slower second movement “Florizel and Perdita” is the lovers’ pas de deux: a gentle, slow waltz-like tune, contrasted with a andler-like double time melody, at the end of which a solo clarinet makes a link to the last movement. “Dance of the Satyrs” is a rip-roaring, foot-stamping dance performed in the play by ‘three carters, three shepherds, three neat-herds, and three swine-herds,’ who enter in outrageous costumes representing the lecherous half-man, half-goat of Greek mythology. This dance is referred to as a “gallimaufry of gambols” — now where have I heard that word before?!                                        – Guy Woolfenden

Guy Woolfenden – With more than 150 scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company and an impressive list of credits with major European theatre companies including the Comedie Franćaise, Paris and the Burgtheater, Vienna, Guy Woolfenden’s theatre music is highly regarded throughout the world. He has collaborated with some of the world’s finest directors, designers and choreographers in many award-winning productions and has written music for every Shakespeare play in productions with the RSC. With choreographer André Prokovsky, Guy arranged the music for four ballets, which he has subsequently conducted in productions all over the world, including the premiere of Anna Karenina with the Kirov Ballet in St Petersburg. Guy is conductor of the Birmingham Conservatoire Wind Orchestra and has composed many popular works for wind orchestra, including Gallimaufry and Illyrian Dances, which have been performed and recorded by orchestras worldwide. Guy is an Honorary Associate Artist of the RSC.

 

6. Of Questions and Answers

Ralph Hultgren

            Though the title may suggest otherwise, this is not a programmatic work.  The title does, nonetheless, reflect the nature of the time the work was being completed. During the final phase of sketching and scoring Of Questions and Answers, a young colleague came to me to discuss various scenarios that had developed with regard to her teaching and conducting.  She had questions and I hoped I had answers.  I knew the answers were in her; in her musicianship, her skill and her commitment to her ensemble. It was during this time she discussed more with me her Christian faith. She had spoken of her belief before where that, at one time, I had seriously contemplated the ministry.  She had more questions and she wondered at the answers I would give. While giving vent to those forces that drove the creation of this work, I am sure that some of those eternal questions and answers were consciously and subconsciously at work. Having said all that, the piece seems to have an interesting narrative attached to it, especially being absolute and not program music.                                             – Ralph Hultgren

 

            Ralph Hultgren is currently Head of Pre Tertiary Studies at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University where he provides academic and artistic leadership to the Young Conservatorium. In his present position he conducts the Queensland Conservatorium Wind Orchestra.

            He is a founding member of the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association and is a member of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles where he is Chair of the WASBE Schools Network. 

            As a composer, he has premiered a number of his own works in Australian centres and internationally and has directed his writing more and more towards the wind orchestra genre, and also towards education and amateur performing groups in all media. As composer/arranger in residence for the Queensland Department of Education’s Instrumental Music Program, he produced 185 works.  Mr Hultgren has been nominated for the prestigious Sammy and Penguin Awards for his television soundtracks, and has twice won the coveted Yamaha Composer of the Year Award for works for symphonic band. 

            Appointments as a consultant in conducting, composition and music education have been entered into in Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the USA and throughout Australia.

 

7-12. Bugs

Roger Cichy

            With the success of Colours, a work in which each movement is a musical depiction of a particular color, I began considering other “topics” of the sort for ideas that might transpire into future musical compositions.  Bugs came to mind a few years ago and the thought of giving a “musical personality” to the selected bugs seemed humorous, inventive, and capricious all at the same time.  The particular bugs represented in this suite were chosen partly because of the contrasting styles of music that would be composed for each.

            “Prelude” is meant to suggest many of the creatures we associate as bugs.

            “Dragonfly” portrays several issues.  First, the insect is really considered an aquatic bug spending most of its life under water while emerging only in its adult stage to take to the air.  The second issue is reflected in folklore where the dragonfly is responsible for flying around at night and sewing shut the mouths of fibbing boys and girls.

            “Praying Mantis,” as its name infers, provides a perfect topic for a slow, religioso movement.  The mantis is often pictured resting with its front legs folded as thought in meditations or prayer.

            “Black Widow Spider” was a movement I couldn’t resist.  Set to a cool blues, the opening statement was written with an eight-note pattern (eight legs of the spider) which changes several times in order of notes but contains the same pitches.

            The suite would be incomplete without the most gorgeous of all insects, the butterfly. “Tiger Swallowtail,” set in a lyrical style, tries to musically depict the grace and beauty of such a remarkable insect.

            The final movement, “Army Ants,” provides the perfect subject for a march-style piece.  I created a dissonant march portraying the army ants as salvage predators which are constantly on the move.                         – Roger Cichy

 

            Roger Cichy (1956) has a diverse experience as both a composer/arranger and a music educator.  He holds both Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts degrees in music education from The Ohio State University. Cichy studied composition and arranging as a second area of concentration.

            His composition teachers include Edward Montgomery, Marshall Barnes, and Joseph Levey.  Mr. Cichy served with distinction as Director of Bands in the public schools of Mars, Pennsylvania, later assuming a post as Associate Director of Bands at the University of Rhode Island. He subsequently joined the music faculty at Iowa State University, where he directed the Marching Band, Concert Band, Basketball Band, and taught various music courses on the undergraduate level.  He resigned his position in 1995 to devote full time to composing. As a freelance composer and arranger, Mr. Cichy writes for high school and college bands, professional orchestras, and the commercial media.  He has over 275 compositions and arrangements to his credit. Roger Cichy has received numerous ASCAP awards for his serious concert music and is widely solicited for commissions and appearances as a guest conductor and composer-in-residence. Several of his compositions have been recorded and can be found on the Klavier, Summit, and Innova labels.

 

13-15. Gagarin

Nigel Clarke

            Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin was the Soviet farm boy who became the first man in space.  In Gagarin I have tried to capture the spirit of the “space race”.  ‘Road to the Stars’ describes the momentous launch of the first manned spacecraft, capturing the excitement of those involved and the strength of Gagarin’s character.  ‘Orbit’ looks at the exhilaration that Gagarin might have experienced and the impression that seeing Earth from space would have had on him.  ‘Homecoming’ is a celebration in the form of a Russian folk dance.  At various moments in the work I use fragments of the Soviet national anthem ‘Sing to the Motherland, home of the free.’

            Gagarin’s experience as the first man to orbit the earth obviously had a profound effect on him:  after his orbit he said “Circling the earth in the orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet.  People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty – not destroy it!”

            In Gagarin’s own official account of events ‘Road to the Stars’ he describes that at the moment of launch he heard an ever-growing din and felt the rocket tremble all over before it slowly lifted off.  He also spoke of a huge range of musical tones, pitches and timbres that no composer or set of musical instruments or voices could ever duplicate.

 – Nigel Clarke

 

            Nigel Clarke began his musical career as a trumpeter but a developing interest in composition, stimulated by the New Polish School of composers, took him to the Royal Academy of Music to study with Paul Patterson.  Here his striking originality and capacity for hard work were recognized by several significant awards including the Josiah Parker Prize, adjudicated by Sir Michael Tippett and the Queen’s Commendation for Excellence — the Royal Academy of Music’s highest distinction.  A British Council Scholarship enabled him to participate in the 8th Summer School for Young Composers in Poland, where he studied the works of Penderecki and Lutoslawski.  Nigel Clarke was previously Head of Composition at the London College of Music and Media and is currently a guest professor at the Xinjiang Arts Institute in north-west China and Associate Composer to the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall.  In recent years Nigel has co-written the soundtracks to a number of major feature films.

 

UST Bands

The UST Bands are made up of students who are serious musicians, but whose major course of study may vary from music to medicine, business, biology or foreign affairs. Students may participate in a variety of musical groups – from small chamber ensembles to larger symphonic ensembles. UST Band opportunities include The Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Chamber Winds and a full complement of woodwind, brass and percussion chamber ensembles.

 

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble is the premiere instrumental group on campus.  Each member is auditioned for entry.  The band performs regular concerts on and off campus.

 

While members of the UST Bands study and perform standard and contemporary band music as well as transcriptions of other musical genres, it is dedicated to bringing new literature to the band repertoire. Each year, The Symphonic Wind Ensemble actively commissions and premieres new music by recognized composers. 

 

The UST Symphonic Wind Ensemble has performed highly acclaimed concerts before the Minnesota Music Educators Association (1997, 2000, 2006), the College Band Directors National Conference North Central Division (2000), and the Music Educators National Conference National Biennial Conference (2002). The UST Bands have toured throughout the United States and abroad, having performed in venues such as Eugene Goosens Hall and Town Hall (Australia) and the national

theaters of Mexico, Cuba and Costa Rica and Japan. Live national radio broadcasts include appearances on National Public Radio (U.S.), IMER (National Mexican Radio) and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

 

Matthew J. George holds a D.M.A. degree in conducting from the University of North Texas, a M.M. degree in music education from Southern Methodist University, and a B.M. degree in music education and trumpet performance from Ithaca College. Dr. George is Professor of Music, Director of Bands and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has taught in public schools in New York and Texas as well as at the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University. 

 

He is active as a conductor, clinician/lecturer and freelance trumpet player, all of which have taken him across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, continental Europe, Ireland and the UK, Australia and Japan. He is Music Director of Grand Symphonic Winds and the founder and past Music Director of the Banda Sinfonica at the Escuela Nacional de Musica in Mexico City, Mexico. As a guest conductor, he regularly works with professional orchestras and bands, as well as festival groups of all ages. George has served as the Artistic Director of the international music festival, “bristolive!” held in Bristol, England.

 

He is currently the Artistic Director of “Premiering Sydney,” held in the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. George also is Artistic Director of the Instrumental Division of Kingsway International.

 

George has led ensembles to performances at major music conferences including those for the Minnesota Music Educators Association, the College Band Directors National Association and the Music Educators National Association. He has led performance tours throughout the U.S. and abroad, performing in venues such as Eugene Goosens Hall, Sydney Opera House and Town Hall (Australia), in the national theatres of Mexico, Cuba and Costa Rica and in the finest concert halls in Japan. Live national radio broadcasts include appearances on National Public Radio (US), IMER (National Mexican Radio) and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 

 

Committed to the creation of new works for the wind band medium, his credits of commissioned works by prolific national and international

composers number over forty. 

 

As a trumpet player George has given recitals across the U.S. and has appeared in and/or recorded with several performing ensembles including the Dallas Wind Symphony, the Arlington Symphony, the American Brass Revue, and the NFL Dallas Cowboys Band. George speaks regularly at music conferences about conducting pedagogy and the performance of wind literature.

 

A member in several professional scholarly organizations, George is currently the President of the College Band Directors National Association North Central Conference. He is an elected member of two honorary fraternities, Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Beta Mu, and has been listed in "Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers." He also is an active member of the Conductor's Guild, International Trumpet Guild, American Composers Forum, National Band Association, Music Educators National Conference, Minnesota Music Educators Association, and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.