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Williams Symphonic Winds

Sat, November 12th, 2005
9:00 pm

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A 90th Birthday Celebration for Composer-Teacher
Vincent Persichetti
(June 6, 1915 – August 14, 1987)

Music of Persichetti Serenade No. 1, op. 1
“Soliloquy” from Divertimento for Band
“Evening Hymn” from Hymns and Responses Chorale Prelude: So Pure the Star
Masquerade for Band
Music of his students
Charles Bestor
Richard Danielpour
Jacob Druckman
Einojuhani Rautavaara
Steve Reich

In honor of Homecoming 2005, the Williams Symphonic Winds, directed by Steven Dennis Bodner, will perform a concert titled Masquerade: Celebrating the 90th Birthday of Composer-Teacher Vincent Persichetti (which illuminates the unique relationship between teacher and student) on November 12, 2005, at 8:00 p.m. in Chapin Hall on campus. There is no admission charge.

There have been few more universally admired twentieth-century American composers than Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987). His contributions have enriched the entire musical literature, especially that of the wind ensemble; his influence as performer and teacher is likewise immeasurable.

Persichetti once remarked, “I know that composers are often frightened away by the sound of the word “band,” because of certain qualities long associated with this medium—rusty trumpets, consumptive flutes, wheezy oboes, disintegrated clarinets, fumbling yet amiable baton wavers, and gum-coated park benches! If you couple these conditions with transfigurations and disfigurations of works originally conceived for orchestra, you create a sound experience that’s as nearly excruciating as a sick string quartet playing a dilettante’s arrangement of a nineteenth-century piano sonata. However, when composers think of the band as a huge, supple ensemble of winds and percussion, the obnoxious fat will drain off, and creative ideas will flourish.”

The Symphonic Winds will perform several of Persichetti’s works for winds — including his Opus 1, Serenade No. 1 for ten wind instruments, written when he was only fourteen years old; “Soliloquy” from his Divertimento for Band, performed by trumpet soloist Benjamin Wood ’08; and his eclectic theme-and-variations Masquerade, derived from examples in his theory textbook Twentieth-Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice — juxtaposed with works of several of his students, including: Steve Reich (Music for Pieces of Wood), University of Massachusetts Amherst composer Charles Bestor (Three Portraits), Jacob Druckman (In memoriam Vincent Persichetti), Einojuhani Rautavaara (Soldier’s Mass), and Richard Danielpour (Vox Populi).

Please join us for this aural examination of the relationship between composer/mentor and his pupils.

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