The Saint Louis Brass Quintet performs the entire spectrum of great music for brass – from the works of today’s composers to Baroque and Renaissance music transcribed for modern instruments. For many audiences they also offer lighter fare: popular music of the Americas, jazz arrangements of standards by Ellington/Strayhorn, Gershwin and Cole Porter, lighthearted pieces for narrator and brass; and a tongue in cheek survey of the history of the brass instruments. The group also presents children’s programs, master classes and workshops.
Trumpeter Allan Dean wrote many of the arrangements played by the group, and composer/trumpeter Anthony Plog wrote two works for the group when he was a member (Four Sketches for Brass Quintet and Animal Ditties #8 for Brass Quintet). Most of the jazz arrangements the group plays are done by Joey Sellers (a former student of Dan Perantoni’s).
The SLBQ sees itself foremost as a serious chamber music group, but also recognizes the importance of education and entertainment in its programming. Finding this balance is an exciting challenge that is vital in keeping both the group’s members and its audiences satisfied.
Program: Vanderbilt University
September 26, 2013
Saint Louis Brass
~ Program ~
Volta *4,6 Michael Praetorius arr. Allan Dean
Praetorius Dance Suite # 2 *4,6 Michael Praetorius Ballet des Fues arr. Allan Dean Ballet/Bransles Volta (reprise)
Daylight at Midnight Dana Wilson 1. Try not to remember 2. Meditation: don’t ever forget 3. We resolve
Aesop’s Fables *6 Anthony Plog The Lion and the Fox The Monkey King The Two Friends The Fox and the Billy Goat
Saint Louis Blues W.C. Handy
~ Intermission ~
Wolfgang’s Frolics Francis Schwartz
¡Tango! *6 Astor Piazzolla Café 1930 arr. Allan Dean Libertango
Divertimento for Neglected (?) Musical (?) Instruments (?) *6 Wayne Scott
Tribute to Pops *6 arr. Joey Sellers Hello Dolly • Basin Street Blues • Struttin’ with Some Barbecue • What A Wonderful World • Mack the Knife
*1 Recorded on “Baroque Brass” – DCD 120 *2 Recorded on “Pops” – DCD 140 *3 Recorded on “Fascinating Rhythms” – DCD 195 *4 Recorded on “Renaissance Faire” – DCD 284 *5 Recorded on “Colors for Brass” – DCD 116 *6 Recorded on SLB “Live in Concert” DVD Recordings are on sale in the lobby or at: http://www.saintlouisbrass.com/
Michael Praetorius (1571-1621), the son of strict Lutherans, began his musical career as a church organist in Frankfurt when he was just sixteen years old. He went on to become one of Germany’s most prolific composers. As a musical theorist, his publications still serve as models of the musical styles and practices of the Renaissance period. Tonight’s Volta and the Dance Suite #2 are taken from the composer’s landmark collection of 312 instrumental French dances, Terpsichore, which was first published in 1612.
Dana Wilson (b. 1946), composer, jazz pianist and teacher, currently resides in Ithaca, New York where he is Professor of Music at Ithaca College. His music has been commissioned and performed by such ensembles as the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Buffalo Philharmonic, Memphis Symphony, Washington military bands, Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Syracuse Symphony, and the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra.
The title Daylight at Midnight is intended to reflect elements of despair and hope captured so movingly in Arthur Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon. Though Koestler wrote about another time and place, grave issues are still very much alive in contemporary American life. At the same time, this work’s emphasis on daylight suggests an unerring optimism, delusional though it may be.
The first movement begins with quiet, night sounds but quickly evolves to the sounds of people desperately trying to party. Soloists emerge, imploring the revelers to deal with the issues at hand, but the frantic dance only intensifies. The second movement is a mournful meditation, while the third movement is resolute, garnering strength to find and nourish daylight at midnight.
Before Aristotle and Plato, before Buddha and Confucius, in an age when the calendar had ten months, the year had 354 days, and people told time with a sun dial, Aesop told his Fables. He was born into slavery in the ancient country of Phrygia (now Turkey) and earned freedom by exposing the foibles and failings of human character through the telling of “beast tales.” Then in the year 560 B.C., when Aesop was 60 years old, the telling also earned him his death while on a mission to the Oracle at Delphi. The Delphians, deeply offended by critical sarcasm directed at them in one of his fables, hurled him to his death from a cliff outside the city.
American composer Anthony Plog (b. 1947) is also a trumpet player and former member of the Saint Louis Brass. He has composed several pieces for the group. This one, written in 2001 is based on the famous stories told by Aesop. We hope you will enjoy it more than the Delphians enjoyed the last story Aesop ever told!
W.C. Handy (1873–1958) was a blues composer and musician, and though he was one of many musicians who played that distinctively American form of music, he is credited with giving it its contemporary form, and is widely known as the “Father of the Blues.” He took the blues from a regional music style with a limited audience to one of the dominant forces in American popular music in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Writing about the first time Saint Louis Blues was played in 1914, Handy said, “When Saint Louis Blues was written the tango was in vogue. I tricked the dancers by arranging a tango introduction, breaking abruptly into a low-down blues. My eyes swept the floor anxiously, then suddenly I saw lightning strike. The dancers seemed electrified. Something within them came suddenly to life. An instinct that wanted so much to live, to fling its arms to spread joy, took them by the heels.”
Composer Francis Schwartz (b. 1940) grew up in Texas and pursued advanced studies in piano and composition, receiving both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at The Juilliard School, and was awarded a Ph.D. with highest honors in musical aesthetics from the University of Paris. From 1995 to 1999 he was the Dean of the Humanities College of the University of Puerto Rico, where he had also held major academic and administrative positions during the previous three decades.
Schwartz has often used his art in a denunciatory fashion. He attempts to awaken the conscience of his audience and makes a call to positive action that will counteract the forces of hate, injustice, and corruption. For example, in 1968, in his multi-sensorial and polyartistic Auschwitz, the composer actually locked an audience inside the concert hall, burning hair and rancid meat and elevating the room temperature, all while narrating a terrifying text on genocide. On the other hand, Wolfgang’s Frolics reflects the myriad hours of fun and pleasure the composer derived from the extraordinary music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Writes Schwartz: “I suppose Mozart is the composer that I feel the greatest affinity with since we both share (he is still alive to me) a passion for the humorous, the jocose, the irreverent, the Cosmic Wink. Please enjoy yourselves during Wolfgang’s Frolics and be assured that it reflects a profound reverence for that wonderful composer and his creations.”
Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) studied conducting with Hermann Scherchen, composition with the grand Argentine maestro Alberto Ginastera, and in Paris with the renowned Nadia Boulanger who advised him that in spite of all his formal musical training, he must never give up the traditional folk music of his native country, the Tango: “Here is Piazzolla, don’t you ever forget.” His symphonic compositions received many prestigious awards, and he composed many theater and film scores, but his renown comes from the Tango. He was a master of the quintessential Tango instrument, the bandoneon, and he developed his own compositional style, which became known as nuevo tango (new Tango). He collaborated with many great performers as diverse as jazz saxophone great Gerry Mulligan, the Kronos Quartet and Mstislav Rostropovich.
Divertimento for Neglected(?) Musical(?) Instruments(?) by Wayne Scott (b. 1923) is an irreverent, though (fairly) accurate tour of the history of brass instruments. It contains music from: Vesta la Giubba (Pagliacci), Leoncavallo, 1892; Happy Birthday, Mildred and Patty Hill (tune 1893, words 1935); On the Trail (Grand Canyon Suite), F. Grofé, 1931; Take Me Out to the Ball Game, A. Von Tilzer, 1908; Over the Rainbow, Harold Arlen, 1939; The Whistler and His Dog, Arthur Pryor, 1905; Musetta’s Waltz, (La Bohème), Puccini, 1896; Over There, George M. Cohan, 1917; Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning, Irving Berlin, 1918; Tiger Rag, La Rocca, 1912; National Emblem March, E. Bagley, 1906 (parody title: And the Monkey Wrapped its Tail Around the Flagpole); Quartet from Rigoletto, G. Verdi, 1851; The Marine’s Hymn, melody of Offenbach, 1868; For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow (or The Bear Went Over the Mountain), trad. ca. 1905. The piece closes with a raucous, and gratefully short portion of The Billboard March, John Klohr, 1901.
Joey Sellers’ Tribute to Pops is a medley of tunes written by or made popular by the great Louis Armstong (1901-1971), a.k.a. “Satchmo” or “Pops.” Armstrong’s unique playing and singing style earned him great success from his first recordings in 1923. Even long after Armstrong’s death, his recordings are still popular, and he continues to be a major influence on all kinds of musical artists. As a youngster he became leader of the band at the Colored Waifs Home in New Orleans, then went on to join King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in Chicago, and the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in New York. By the 1930s he was on his way to great stardom making tours to Europe and throughout the United States. During his long and amazing career Louis Armstrong appeared in over 30 films, countless television and radio shows, thousands of recordings, and worked with Ed Sullivan, The Mills Brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Johnny Carson, Barbra Streisand, Jackie Gleason and just about everybody who was anybody in the music and entertainment business in the mid 20th century.
Saint Louis Brass touring is managed by:
Primo Concerts 202 Central Avenue St. Louis, MO 63119 314-968-9027