University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Matthew George, Director

From All Sides

Innova 765

 

1.  Whirr, Whirr, Whirr!!! (1999)

Ralph Hultgren                                    3:10

2.  Lost Forest (2009)

Luis Nani                                           15:01

Scenes From Childhood (2008)                                                      Kit Turnbull

3.     Changing of the Guard               2:44

4.     Ballet Shoes & Tutus                   4:05

5.     The Circus Troupe                       3:32

6.     Magic Lamps & Flying Carpets 2:59

7.     The Toyshop                                 3:48

8.  Ambush! From All Sides

Chen Qian                                          14:31

                                    Total: 49:46

 

 

Whirr, Whirr, Whirr!!!                               Ralph Hultgren

 

Whirr, Whirr, Whirr!!! was commissioned by Matthew George and the University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble.  Its premiere was given in 1999.

 

Can you feel that sensation as you mentally juggle the demands of emotion, profession, and family, and each concern barks at you for attention and demands its need be satisfied and you can sense the priority in them all but you know and feel your lack of time and your diminishing grace and patience to deal with them all?

 

Can you feel that sensation in your heart and mind when you are led to something that might be on the edge of what you feel comfortable with but you want to go there and you know that going there will jeopardize your everyday situation but you still want to go there?

 

Can you feel the sensation that wells up in you as you desperately search for the right answer in a situation that has no turning back, no sense of ambiguity can prevail and no hope of satisfying all the competing emotional interests seems possible?

 

Your mind spins, ducks and dives, leaps and plunges and seems to Whirr, Whirr, Whirr!!!

– Ralph Hultgren.

 

Ralph Hultgren (b.1953) was born in Box Hill, Victoria, Australia, and now resides in Newmarket, Queensland with his wife Julie and two of his five children. Mr. Hultgren began his professional music career as a trumpet player in 1970. He has performed with the Central Band of the Royal Australian Air Force, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Brass Choir, and has worked as a freelance musician for the theatre, opera, cabaret, and recording studios.

 

From 1979-1990, Mr. Hultgren was composer/arranger in residence for the Queensland Department of Education’s Instrumental Music Program. During this time he produced 185 works for that department. His works have been performed widely within Australia as well as internationally, including the U.S.A., Canada, Britain, France, Switzerland, Mexico, Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway, and New Zealand. 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 his symphonic band works. In 1998 he became the recipient of the “Citation of Excellence,” the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association’s highest honor.

 

Appointments as a consultant in conducting, composition, and music education have taken place in Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, the U.S.A., and throughout Australia. Mr. Hultgren is currently Head of Pre-Tertiary Studies at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, where he also directs the Wind Symphony program and lectures in conducting and instrumental pedagogy.

 

Lost Forest                                              Luis Nani

 

First of all it is necessary to be honest. I began to compose this composition, entrusted by Matthew George for the Symphonic Wind Ensemble at the University of St. Thomas, as I do habitually—thinking only about music.  In the middle of the composition, more indeed in the central section, ideas arose about wind effects and whispering voices, immediately the words that I thought were “cries, the forest cries” and that soon became the text for the ensemble:

 

When the genies of the mount wake up, between the shades of the dusk, Pachamama cries, longing for the forest that is no longer.

 

The reference to the mount and the forest, came from the letters of old farmers and Zamba that describe the sadness of the forest and the lost mount thought to be found in the center of the province of Cordoba, Argentina.

 

Looking for a little more text, I found an interview with Atahualpa Yupanqui that speaks of the problem of deforestation and his concern for the natural habitat.  Today, the situation is much more aggressive and severe, since the cutting away of the forest with machinery and not with axes at an astonishing rate gives fear:

 

“With the subject of the price of the wood and the deforestation, we are making an English park of the Argentine Republic; no longer can we find a place to tie the horse. This is a subject that worries me and about which I’m writing; an essay that I will take four or five pages to elaborate.

 

Póngale is to the north of Santiago of the Matting, where there are still forests.  The man puts an axe to his shoulder when the star arrives, the “lucerito”, and goes to the mount and begins to chop with the axe, from the first blow the bird flees.  And that bird does not return again because the man chops with an axe all day and he chops with an axe tomorrow, and he chops with an axe again and it finishes with this carob tree, this “quebracho.”   Another man follows, and then another, and in just a short time in that region, where the woods were more than sixty thousand trees, becomes a region without any trees or birds.

 

Then, this is the question: how to give back the song to the forest?  How to do so that it returns ay(!), the dove, the zorzal that fled, the red pechito that will never return terrified by the tac of each axe blow?

 

Lost Forest utilizes many dance forms and indigenous melodies, with rustic instrumentation, that originate from northwest and central Argentina.  It is with these sound influences and care for nature that this piece found its way to conclusion.         – Luis Nani

Luis C. Nani, developed from an early age an interest in music and was at first a self-taught musician and then student of guitar with several professors of his native city, Villa Maria, Argentina.  In that period he composed his first pieces for guitar.  Between 1987 and 1991 he moved to the city of Cordoba where he enrolled in Musical Composition at U.N.C under teachers Caesar Franchisena, Vicente Moncho and Oscar Bazan.  Between 1991 and 1993, he took classes from composition with Oscar Bazan, and composition and orchestration with Vicente Moncho.  Since 1999, he has served as professor of Instrumentation and Orchestration at the National University of Villa Maria, becoming Chair in 2005.  Nani is founder and director of the Project Instrumental Ensemble at UNVM.  In 2000, he founded the Wind Ensemble at UNVM and in 2008 created the String Orchestra UNVM.

 

Nani’s works have been played throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe and Singapore to critical acclaim.  Susan Fields writing in the Journal of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles wrote “ . . . [Nani’s] works were emphasized by their deep aesthetic, conceptual and orchestral styles, and I consider them to represent the contemporary musical language of Latin America…”

 

Scenes From Childhood                    Kit Turnbull

 

1.  Changing of the Guard

2.  Ballet Shoes & Tutus

3.  The Circus Troupe

4.  Magic Lamps & Flying Carpets

5.  The Toyshop

 

Changing of the Guard

 

This refers to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London.  Every day at 11am a Guards band sets off with the soldiers who will be guarding the palace that day, and march down the Mall to the palace forecourt where the official handover takes place.  I know my mum used to take me to see this quite often and whenever I have been there are always scores of children (mainly boys) who are marching up and down pretending to be soldiers. I have used the bulk of the band as the “military band” with the orchestral woodwind taking the role of the children following the band.

 

Ballet Shoes & Tutus

 

I kept thinking about jewelry/music boxes that have a clockwork ballerina inside.  I think every little girl I have ever known has dreamed of being a ballerina at some point.  The ostinato figures are supposed to represent the movement of the ballerina spinning around in the box, while the sax section in the middle loosely depicts a pas de deux, although I have used all 4 saxes.

 

The Circus Troupe

 

I got the idea for this from an old Edwardian photo that showed a group of acrobats, jugglers, tumblers and clowns in costume.  Musically I have tried to avoid any obvious circus music connotations and I pictured this movement through the eyes of a single child who is watching all of these things going on at the same time, hence the disjointed nature of the music as their attention is drawn between different things.

 

Magic Lamps & Flying Carpets

 

I just kept thinking about children going to the theatre/movies or wherever and coming back home and spending the next few weeks re-enacting scenes from Aladdin or Ali Baba or some such story.  The music is not programmatic in any way – I just tried to create a sense of the exotic and mysticism that surrounds so many of the stories and fairy tales from “The East.”

 

The Toyshop

 

It struck me that this was a useful way to bring the whole piece together.  A toyshop contains toys, games and costumes that could be used for all of the previous movements.   As such, this movement contains brief references back to the thematic material that makes up the first four movements.    – Kit Turnbull

 

Kit Turnbull studied composition with Martin Ellerby at the London College of Music and Media before returning   first as the Composition Fellow and later on to the staff where he was until October 2005, Course Leader for the MMus (Symphonic Wind Ensemble Direction) course, and Composition Tutor. He is also a Composition and Harmony tutor to the Royal Air Force Music Services. Kit was awarded the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 1998, and has since completed numerous commissions, from solo works through to large-scale pieces for orchestra, wind ensemble and brass band, that have been performed all over the world. He has worked in TV and film where his credits include music for the most recent Blackadder film, Blackadder Back and Forth, and also as an orchestrator and arranger for numerous events including the opening night of the Millennium Dome.

 

Kit writes extensively for exam boards, including LCM exams and the ABRSM music medals examinations, and also adjudicates for the National Concert Band Festival at both regional and national level.

 

Ambush ! From All Sides          Chen Qian

 

This work was commissioned by and dedicated to Dr. Matthew George and the University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

 

Ambush ! From All Sides is based on an historical story (traditional Chinese opera) picturing the battlefield of ancient war in China. The decisive battle of Gaixia was a well-known battle in Chinese history.

 

As soon as the regime the Qin Dynasty (221 - 206BC) was overthrown, fierce battle for the crown began between the armies of Chu under Xiang Yu and Han under Liu Bang. The 300,000 Han soldiers besieged Xiang Yu’s 100,000-strong army from Chu.  Xiang Yu managed to break through the encirclement with 800 cavalrymen, but 5,000 Han horsemen were hot on his heels.  The final decisive battle took place beside the Wujiang River.  The Han army had laid an ambush on all sides.  Xiang Yu, lord of Chu, knew that he had been utterly defeated and had to commit a suicide.  

 

The composer wanted to elaborate on the picture as shown through this composition played by wind band. Music constructed continuously like the Chinese painting (painting is done by using a brush on paper or silk, often with black ink alone. It is a monochromatic work of art, perhaps, derived from calligraphy.  A Chinese painting is a distinctive object based on centuries-old traditions common to many things in China.) with following story-line:

1. Worship of primitive simplicity

2. World of fancy and wonder

3. The reflection from one’s inner reality

4. Harmony with nature

5. Knowledge of no-knowledge

This music was composed like the painting style and technique: priority of colors (different level of gray from dark to paper white), blank space (silence), the use of Mo, freehand brushwork, etc.                           – Chen Qian

 

Chen Qian, born in Guiyang, began violin lessons with his father at the age of three and started playing piano at age four.  At seventeen, he worked as pianist for the City Song and Dance Ensemble of Guiyang.  Currently, he is resident composer for the Military Band of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.  His range of works covers symphonic music, chamber music, music for television and film. His works have been performed in the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong.   In 1997, he was honored with a concert of all wind music at the Beijing Concert Hall, which was the first of its kind in China.

 

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 significant national and internationally renowned composers.  Since 1991, the UST Symphonic Wind Ensemble has commissioned and premiered over 60 new works for band.  This music is being recorded for commercial distribution, and appears on the innova label.

 

The UST Symphonic Wind Ensemble has performed highly acclaimed concerts before the Minnesota Music Educators Association, the College Band Directors National Conference North Central Division and the Music Educators National Conference National Biennial Conference.  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, Japan and China. Live national radio broadcasts include appearances on National Public Radio (U.S.), IMER (National Mexican Radio) and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.  They have been televised nationally on PBS.

 

 

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 in Texas as well as at the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University. 

 

He is active as a conductor and clinician/lecturer which have taken him across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, continental Europe, Ireland and the UK, Australia, Japan, China, Brazil and Argentina.  He maintains a busy conducting schedule in both professional and educational settings, and is currently Music Director of Grand Symphonic Winds.  He is also the founder and past Music Director of the Banda Sinfonica at the Escuela Nacional de Musica in Mexico City, Mexico. Appearing as a guest conductor throughout the world, he regularly works with professional orchestras and bands, as well as festival groups of all ages.  Some such groups include the Brazilian Wind Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Guanajuato (Mexico), the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, Queensland Conservatorium Wind Symphony (Australia), Birmingham Symphonic Winds (UK) and the Banda de Bilbao Musika (Spain).  George has served as the Artistic Director of several international music festivals, including events held in England, Australia and China in such prestigious venues as the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.

 

Dr. George has led his 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 his ensembles on performance tours throughout the United States and abroad, having performed in such venues as Eugene Goosens Hall, Sydney Opera House and Town Hall (Australia), in the national theatres of Mexico, Cuba and Costa Rica and in some of the finest concert halls in Japan and China.  Live national radio broadcasts include appearances on National Public Radio (US), IMER (National Mexican Radio) and the Australia Broadcast Company.   His ensembles have also appeared on PBS television in the United States.  Under his direction, the UST Symphonic Wind Ensemble appears on the Innova record label with three compact discs - Road to the Stars, Out of Nowhere, and From All Sides.

 

Active as a clinician and lecturer, Dr. George regularly appears at music conferences throughout the world, such as the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, speaking on subjects of conducting pedagogy, the performance of wind literature and commissioning new music.   He is sought internationally to sit on adjudication panels and has done so for such events as the National Concert Band Festival of Great Britain, The Chinese National Band Festival, and the Certamen de Valencia in Spain. 

 

Dedicated to the creation of new works for wind band, his credits of commissioned works by prolific national and international composers number over sixty.  Included among the composers commissioned are Luis Serrano Alarcón, William Banfield, Norman Bolter, Andrew Boysen (5), James Callahan (2), Loris Chobanian, Nigel Clarke (3), Roger Cichy (3), Randall Davidson,

Nicholas D’Angelo, Martin Ellerby (5), Aldo Forte, Cary John Franklin, Gregory Fritze, John Gibson (2), David Gillingham, Joan Griffith, Kenneth Hesketh, Ralph Hultgren (4), Stephen Jones, Timothy Mahr, Dale McGowan, Luis Nani, Hudson Nogueira, Chen Qian, Rolf Rudin, Lawrence Siegel, Dean Sorenson(3), Philip Spark, Frank Ticheli, Kit Turnbull and Guy Woolfenden.  Consortium commissions include music by Warren Benson, Carol Barnett, Robert Bradshaw, Mary Ellen Childs, Todd Coleman, Adam Gorb, Shelly Hanson, Daniel Kallman (3), David Maslanka, Clark McAllister, Stephen Paulus, Rolf Rudin and Jack Stamp.

 

A participating member in several professional scholarly organizations, he served as president of the College Band Directors National Association North Central Conference and was on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Band Directors Association.  He is an elected member of two honorary fraternities, Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Beta Mu.  He is also an active member of the Conductor’s Guild, American Composers Forum, National Band Association, Music Educators National Conference, the Minnesota Music Educators Association and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.

 

Matthew George resides in the Twin Cites area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife Jennifer and their two young children, Josephine and Samuel.

 

Recorded in the McKnight Theatre at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN – May 2009

Producers: Matthew George and Douglas Orzolek

Engineers: Ezra Gold & Mitch Griffin

Edited and Mixed by Ezra Gold

Also by UST on innova:

Road to the Stars (#651)

Out of Nowhere (#728)

innova is supported by an endowment from the

McKnight Foundation.

Philip Blackburn: director, design

Chris Campbell: operations manager

www.innova.mu

 

 

Works commissioned by the University of St. Thomas

 

2009 – Gregory Fritze                                                        Zebulon

2009 – Martin Ellerby                                                         A Little Symphony of English Carols

2009 – Chen Qian                                                                Ambush! From All Sides

2009 – Luis Nani

           Lost Forest

2008 – Kit Turnbull                                                             Scenes from Childhood

2008 – Rolf Rudin                                                                Out of Nowhere

2008 – Philip Sparke                                                           Deserts

2007 – Todd Coleman                                                         Pulse*

2007 – Martin Ellerby                                                         Mass of St. Thomas Aquinas

2006 – Jack Stamp                                                             Symphony #1*

2006 – Daniel Kallman                                                        Streets of Honor*

2006 – David Maslanka                                                                        Percussion Concerto*

2006 – Loris Chobanian                 

           Armenian Rhapsody

           for Guitar and Wind Ensemble

2005 – Hudson Nogueira                                                                      Brasilerismos No. 1

2005 – Andrew Boysen, Jr.                                                                  December Dance

2005 – Guy Woolfenden                                                                       Bohemian Dances

2005 – Nigel Clarke                                                            Gagarin

2005 – Mary Ellen Childs                                                                      Green Light*

2004 – Kenneth Hesketh                                                                      Infernal Ride

2004 – Adam Gorb                                                              French Dances Revisited*

2003 – Martin Ellerby                                                         Via Crucis

2003 – Daniel Kallman                                                        An American Tapestry*

2003 – Daniel Kallman                                                                          The Jig is Up*

2003 – Timothy Mahr                                                          and in this dream there were                                       eight windows . . .              

2003 – Aldo Forte                                                               Dali

2002 – Nigel Clarke                                                            Mata Hari

2002 – Roger and Rebecca Cichy                                      Sounds, Sketches and Ideas

2001 – Martin Ellerby                                                         Dreamscapes

2001 – Ralph Hultgren                                                        Bright Sunlit Morning          

2001 – Clark McAlister                                                                         Woodscapes*

2001 – John Gibson                                                            Gates Pass

2000 – Dale McGowan                                                        The Heretic

2000 – Arturo Marquez/tr. Boysen                                                    Danzon No. 2

2000 – Roger Cichy                                                             Bugs

1999 – Andrew Boysen, Jr.                                                Two Lullabies

1999 – Ralph Hultgren                                                        Whirr, Whirr, Whirr!

1999 – Andrew Boysen, Jr.                      

           Symphony No. 2 for Baritone,

           Winds and Percussion

1998 – Norman Bolter                                                        Timeline Contemplations

           for Trombone and Band

1998 – Norman Bolter                                                        A White Company Overture

1997 – Ralph Hultgren                                                        Masada

1997 – Dean Sorenson                                                       Summit Fanfare

1997 – James Callahan                                                                         Nocturne and Passacaglia

1996 – William C. Banfield                                                                   Concerto for Wind Symphony

1996 – Dean Sorenson                                                       The Sea of Time

1996 – Randall Davidson                                                                      Great River

1996 – William C. Banfield            

           Mahilia: Spiritual

           Song for Wind Ensemble

1995 – Ralph Hultgren                                                        Of Questions and Answers

1995 – Andrew Boysen, Jr.                                                                  Scherzo

1995 – Cary John Franklin

           Fantasy for Electric Guitar and                                            Wind Ensemble

1995 – Lawrence Siegel                                                                       Notes to Myself

1994 – Stephen Jones                                                        May Day!

1994 – Nicholas D’Angelo                                                                    Capriccio and Improvisations

1993 – John Gibson                                                            American Savannah

1992 – James Callahan                                                                         Concerto for Clarinet and Band

1992 – Warren Benson                                                       Shadow Wood*

 

*Consortium commission