All That Brass

Chamber Music Milwaukee offers all-brass versions of music from 'West Side Story" and other works.

By - Nov 3rd, 2015 05:32 pm
Kevin Hartman, Keaton Hartman, Gregory Flint, Mark Hoelscher, Matthew Gaunt.

Kevin Hartman, Keaton Hartman, Gregory Flint, Mark Hoelscher, Matthew Gaunt.

Chamber Music Milwaukee features the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Faculty Brass Quintet in concert this Thursday evening, November 5th. Several selections transcribed for brass ensemble demonstrate the transformative effect of these instruments on the original works.

Leonard Bernstein‘s selections from West Side Story and a Dance Suite express the energy of his popular compositions when adapted for brass quintet. Bernstein’s final published work, the Dance Suite mixes different dance styles to honor individual New York choreographers.

In contrast, the Quintet will play Baroque-era works with a military theme by William Byrd and Samuel Scheidt.

Byrd’s Battell likely represents a battle during an Irish 16th century rebellion. Musicologist Sally Mosher identifies the serious programmatic intent within Byrd’s suite. describing it thus: “By the 17th century, battle pieces had become a popular genre, so Byrd can be said to have launched a new keyboard genre…In the ‘March to the Fight,’ the words ‘tantara tan’ tara’ are written in the manuscript above one passage that certainly sounds like a trumpet call, and later the words ‘The battles be joined’ appear over a passage that sounds like the insistent drum beat played when the infantry finally begins its charge. Many of the passages in the ‘Oxford March’ and ‘The Battle’ that sound like drum beats or trumpet calls may be in fact real military calls. … Like the march, they often suggest trumpets and drums, but they also quite successfully suggest the sounds of soldiers marching, of horses walking or running, of flutes, drones and bagpipes.”

The piece was written for harpsichord, and must be a challenge to create the effects intended, whereas it may spring to life transcribed for brass.

Two twentieth century works: Francis Poulenc‘s Elegie for horn and piano and Georges Enescu’s Legende for trumpet and piano, round out the program.

The UWM Faculty Brass Quintet includes trumpet players Kevin Hartman and Keaton Hartman, horn player Gregory Flint, trombonist Mark Hoelscher and Matthew Gaunt on tuba. 

Pianist Elena Abend and percussionist Dave Bayles will also participate.

Chamber Music Milwaukee will perform in the superb acoustic of the UW-Milwaukee Recital Hall (2400 E. Kenwood Blvd.) at 7:30 P.M. Purchase tickets on line, at the Theatre boxoffice or call (414) 229-4308. General ticket price – $10; Students and under 18 – $5; Fine Arts Majors are free.

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