Conservatory Wind Ensemble blew its audience away

Johanna Poppel

Wind ensemble brings intriguing variety to White Recital Hall

An explosion of percussion struck the audience in the Wind Ensemble’s piece “Lost Gulch Lookout,” by Kristin Kuster.

This piece had unique percussion that is rarely heard in a concert band performance. It rattled through the recital hall with true intensity. As the program described this nature-inspired tune; “Far from merely nostalgic, however, her forcefully lean and athletic writing style evokes the jagged nature of the raw terrain. Sounds consist simultaneously of haunting beautiful sonorities and tense dissonances … until finally the piece implodes, shattering itself on the very rocks it had so immaculately colored.”

Friday evening the Conservatory Wind Ensemble performed under conductor Joseph Parisi and graduate conductor David Clemmer in the James C. Olsen Performing Arts Center, White Recital Hall.

“It was the first concert of the year. We did pretty well, it was a good first concert. It was a nice variety of music,” trombonist, sophomore Kyle Hall said.

The concert began with a triumphant and exciting start with the piece “Fanfare Canzonique” (2002) by Brian Balmages. “There is a strong spiritual climax in the piece as the antiphonal trumpet solo fades, only to be ‘caught’ by the onstage trumpet soloist who is able to complete the phrase,” the program said.

Next a small group of nine musicians came out consisting of pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns to play the piece “Octet – Partita, Op. 67” written by Franz Krommer. The impressive sound was wonderfully and delicately done with the small group of musicians.

Next was my personal favorite piece, the “Lost Gulch Lookout” that featured the passionate percussion that radiated through the hall. At the beginning of the piece, the flutes played what sounded like the reminiscent sound of wind and then it lead up to a violent force that took place in the auditorium when the percussion came into play. “The music is reflective of the craggy, colorful landscape of Kristin Kuster’s upbringing in in Boulder, Colorado … The visceral, gritty energy of the very canyons themselves are, perhaps, nature’s response to the incessant imposition of humanity into our few remaining unspoiled areas of nature,” the program described.

Following this song, the hall began filling with a jazzy groove. “Graceful ghost Rag” by William Bolcom was up next. The band version is scored by the composer to replicate a “pit band” from the ragtime era.

Next came “Song (for Band)” which was also by William Bolcom which was described as “a beautiful, soaring melody with colorful harmonic figuration to create a poignant, fitting tribute.”

The concert ended with “Gazebo Dances” by John Corigliano.

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