10th Anniversary Concert - November 17, 2019

The Cleveland Winds will celebrate its tenth anniversary season with a "Fall Classics" concert on November 17, 2019. The concert will feature two guest ensembles: the University Heights Symphonic Band with their music director Matthew Salvaggio, and the Cleveland State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by our own music director, Dr. Birch Browning.

The concert is scheduled for 7 PM in the Waetjen Auditorium on the campus of Cleveland State University. Free parking will be available in the Central Garage just north of the Music and Communications Building via East 21st Street after 6 PM.

The University Heights Symphonic Band

The University Heights Symphonic Band (UHSB) began in 1970 as a summer-season performing group, organized by Dr. Harvey Sisler under the auspices of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education. In 1974, the city of University Heights assumed sponsorship and the band began a year-round performance schedule. The band performs a wide range of musical selections, including core wind band repertoire, film scores, and popular music at concert halls, amphitheaters, parks, and other venues. The band’s 55 members hail from six counties in Northeast Ohio.

On November 17, the ensemble will perform Ron Nelson's Courtly Airs and Dances, John Mackey's Sheltering Skys, and Stephen Bulla's Rhapsody for Flute, with soloist Robert Cotrell.

To celebrate this historic fiftieth season, the UHSB has established its own concert season, which will feature performances on October 20, 2019, December 5, 2019, and March 8, 2020 in Kulas Auditorium at John Carroll University. The band will also feature a series of holiday and summer performances at various venues throughout the greater Cleveland area.

Matthew Salvaggio, currently in his fifth year as Musical and Artistic Director of the University Heights Symphonic Band, is an American conductor currently holding several musical directorships. The 2019/20 season marks his third year as Music Director of the Euclid Symphony Orchestra, where his responsibilities include conducting classical, pops and educational concerts. Additionally, he is the conductor/co-founder of Orchestra 19, a 19th-century historical performance practice orchestra based in Cleveland.

Prior to these appointments, Matt has served as Director of Bands on the faculty at Hiram College, and adjunct professor of conducting at Lakeland Community College.

For more information on Mr. Salvaggio, please visit www.matthewsalvaggio.com.

Cleveland State Univesity Symphonic Wind Ensemble

The 70-member CSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble includes artists pursuing degrees in music performance, music education, music therapy, music composition, and a variety of non-music disciplines across the university. This current iteration of the ensemble includes 33 "rookie" members, indicating significant growth potential. The ensemble has traditionally performed on-campus twice per semester plus providing ceremonial music for CSU's commencement. In Spring 2020, the ensemble will begin a series of "run out" concerts at Port Clinton High School on March 2 and Mentor High School on April 8.

This current performance will include two classics: John William's Liberty Fanfare and three movements from Johan de Meij's Symphony No. 1 - Lord of the Rings for Wind Ensemble.

Cleveland Winds

The Cleveland Wind premiere performance was October 5, 2009. Several charter members from that evening still perform with the Winds. Including that first night, the ensemble has given twenty performances at CSU, performed at the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Development Conference in 2017 and in Severance Hall in 2018, and released a CD in 2019, which is available on Spotify. The ensemble has shared the stage with many ensembles, such as groups from the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony, the North Royalton Community Band, and numerous high school bands. We've had the privilege of working with guest conductors such as Timothy Reynish, Dr. Shanti Simon, Dr. Eric Rombach-Kendell, and Dr. Glen Adsit, and solo artists Jc Sherman, Shachar Israel, David Childs, and our own principal clarinetist, Robert Davis. In 2015, the Cleveland Winds were awarded the American Prize for Wind Band Performance - Community Division.

This performance will feature Adam Gorb's Awayday, Gustav Holst's Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo with guest conductor Dr. Joseph Parisi, and Ron Nelson's award-winning Passacaglia (Homage on B-A-C-H). Dr. Joseph Parisi is the Associate Director of Bands at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. This will be his second appearance with the Cleveland Winds.

You can support the Cleveland Winds financially to help cover the cost of this free concert by donating to @ClevelandWinds via Venmo.

Birch Browning

Dr. Birch Browning is Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Cleveland State University, and Music Director of the Cleveland Winds, a professional wind band based at CSU. He taught high school band and orchestra in Florida prior to earning a Ph.D. in Music Education at Florida State University. A member of the faculty at CSU since 2002, he previously taught music education courses at Stetson University and FSU.

Dr. Browning served as Associate Editor of OMEA’s research journal, Contributions to Music Education, and is a member of the College Band Director’s National Association Research Committee. He has presented his research findings at numerous state and national conferences, and recently presented his research on critical thinking by ensemble performers at the International Society for Music Education International Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. His first book, Becoming a Musician-Educator: An Orientation to Musical Pedagogy, was published by Oxford University Press in April 2017.

The CSU Symphonic Band, CSU Chamber Winds, and the Cleveland Winds appear on the recently released recording Timothy Reynish International Repertoire Series, Vol. 12, which is available on iTunes and Spotify.

Program Notes

Courtly Airs and Dances is a suite of Renaissance dances that were characteristic to five European countries during the 1500s. Three of the dances (Basse Dance, Pavane, and Allemande) are meant to emulate the music of Claude Gervaise by drawing on the style of his music as well as the characteristics of other compositions from that period. The festival opens with a fanfare-like Intrada followed by the Basse Danse (France), Pavane (England), Saltarello (Italy), Sarabande (Spain), and Allemande (Germany).

The work was commissioned by the Hill Country Middle School Band from Austin, Texas, Cheryl Floyd, director.

Program Note by Ron Nelson

The wind band medium has, in the twenty-first century, a host of disparate styles that dominate its texture. At the core of its contemporary development exists a group of composers who dazzle with scintillating and frightening virtuosity. As such, at first listening one might experience John Mackey’s Sheltering Sky as a striking departure. Its serene and simple presentation is a throwback of sorts –- a nostalgic portrait of time suspended.

The work itself has a folksong-like quality –- intended by the composer –- and through this an immediate sense of familiarity emerges. Certainly the repertoire has a long and proud tradition of weaving folksongs into its identity, from the days of Holst and Vaughan Williams to modern treatments by such figures as Donald Grantham and Frank Ticheli. Whereas these composers incorporated extant melodies into their works, however, Mackey takes a play from Percy Grainger. Grainger’s Colonial Song seemingly sets a beautiful folksong melody in an enchanting way (so enchanting, in fact, that he reworked the tune into two other pieces: Australian Up-Country Tune and The Gum-Suckers March). In reality, however, Grainger’s melody was entirely original –- his own concoction to express how he felt about his native Australia. Likewise, although the melodies of Sheltering Sky have a recognizable quality (hints of the contours and colors of Danny Boy and Shenandoah are perceptible), the tunes themselves are original to the work, imparting a sense of hazy distance as though they were from a half-remembered dream.

The work unfolds in a sweeping arch structure, with cascading phrases that elide effortlessly. The introduction presents softly articulated harmonies stacking through a surrounding placidity. From there emerge statements of each of the two folksong-like melodies –- the call as a sighing descent in solo oboe, and its answer as a hopeful rising line in trumpet. Though the composer’s trademark virtuosity is absent, his harmonic language remains. Mackey avoids traditional triadic sonorities almost exclusively, instead choosing more indistinct chords with diatonic extensions (particularly seventh and ninth chords) that facilitate the hazy sonic world that the piece inhabits. Near cadences, chromatic dissonances fill the narrow spaces in these harmonies, creating an even greater pull toward wistful nostalgia. Each new phrase begins over the resolution of the previous one, creating a sense of motion that never completely stops. The melodies themselves unfold and eventually dissipate until at last the serene introductory material returns –- the opening chords finally coming to rest.

Program Note by Jake Wallace

Stephen Bulla's Rhapsody for Flute and band is divided into three sections. A fast opening theme provides the soloist with a rhythmic melody that evolves into a slower and more expressive middle section. Here too the band has ample opportunity to display a full and warm sensitivity with the music. This section concludes with a brief cadenza for solo flute supported by sustained woodwind harmony. The final section is quick and light-hearted, becoming an energetic finale to this original composition.

Program Note from the score

Liberty Fanfare is a composition for orchestra by John Williams. Written in 1986, the piece was commissioned to celebrate the Centennial of the Statue of Liberty on July 4 of that year. The entire piece is approximately five minutes in length and utilizes both the brass section for the main themes and the strings for providing a recurring, melodious motif. Before the premiere of the piece, Williams commented that he had "tried to create a group of American airs and tunes of my own invention that I hope will give some sense of the event and the occasion.” The composition received generally positive reviews at the time and is still regularly performed as a patriotic piece.

Program Note from Cobb Wind Ensemble concert program, December 20, 2018

Johan de Meij’s first symphony The Lord of the Rings is based on the trilogy of that name by J.R.R. Tolkien. This book has fascinated many millions of readers since its publication in 1955. The symphony consists of five separate movements, each illustrating a personage or an important episode from the book. In 1989, The symphony The Lord of the Rings was awarded the first prize in the Sudler International Wind Band Composition Competition.

Although it is not simple to summarize such an extensive and complex work, the main outline is as follows: the central theme is the Ring, made by primaeval forces that decide the safety or destruction of the world. For years it was the possession of the creature Gollum, but when the ring falls into the hands of the Hobbits the evil forces awake, and the struggle for the ring commences. There is but one solution to save the World from disaster: the ring must be destroyed by the fire in which it was forged: Mount Doom in the heart of Mordor, the country of the evil Lord Sauron.

Explanation of the movements:

I. GANDALF (The Wizard) The first movement is a musical portrait of the wizard Gandalf, one of the principal characters of the trilogy. His wise and noble personality is expressed by a stately motiff which is used in a different form in movements IV and V. The sudden opening of the Allegro vivace is indicative of the unpredictability of the grey wizard, followed by a wild ride on his beautiful horse, Shadowfax.

IV. JOURNEY IN THE DARK The fourth movement describes the laborious journey of the Fellowship of the ring, headed by the wizard Gandalf, through the dark tunnels of the Mines of Moria. The slow walking cadenza and the fear are clearly audible in the monotonous rhythm of the low brass, piano and percussion. After a wild pursuit by hostile creatures, the Orks, Gandalf is engaged in battle with a horrible monster, the Balrog, and crashes from the subterranean bridge of Khazad-Dûm in a fathomless abyss. To the melancholy tones of a Marcia funèbre, the bewildered companions trudge on, looking for the only way out of the mines, the East Gate of Moria.

V. HOBBITS The fifth movement expresses the carefree and optimistic character of the Hobbits in a happy folk dance; the hymn that follows emanates the determination and noblesse of the hobbit folk. The symphony does not end on an exuberant note, but is concluded peacefully and resigned, in keeping with the symbolic mood of the last chapter, The Grey Havens, in which Frodo and Gandalf sail away in a white ship and disappear slowly beyond the horizon. Program Note by Johan de Meij

About his Awayday, Composer Adam Gorb wrote: “In this six-minute curtain raiser, my inspiration has come from the great days of the American musical comedy. I have tried to express in a brief sonata form movement the exhilaration of “getting away from it all” for a few short hours on a festive bank holiday.

“Musically the piece is a homage to the great days of the Broadway musical with its irresistible brashness and irrepressible high spirits. If you can envisage George Gershwin, Leonard Berstein, Igor Stravinsky, and James Bond traveling together at 100 miles per hour in a open-top sports car, I think you’ll get the idea.”

Program Note by Adam Gorb

Nineteen long years passed between the composition of Holst's last two works for winds, the Second Suite in F and the masterful Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo. Commissioned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for its military band, Hammersmith was Holst's first band work for professional musicians, the earlier suites having been composed for amateur bands.

Hammersmith is a result of Holst's long familiarity with the Hammersmith metropolitan borough of London, which sits on the Thames River. At the time, 125,000 inhabitants were packed into an area of 3.6 square miles. Holst's fascination with the duality of his surroundings is reflected in his composition. The Prelude (representing the inexorable, "unnoticed and unconcerned" river) is slow and unconcerned, reflecting a duality in its very key: E Major set against F minor. The Scherzo (representing the Cockney street markets and the laughing, bustling crowds) is boisterous, exuberant, and vulgar. The music and mood of the Prelude returns at the end of the composition, bringing us back to the great slow-moving river, passing relentlessly out to sea.

Program Notes by Nikk Pilato

Passacaglia (Homage on B-A-C-H) is a set of continuous variations in moderately slow triple meter built on an eight-measure melody (basso ostinato) which is stated, in various registers, twenty-five times. It is a seamless series of tableux which move from darkness to light.

Written in homage to Johann Sebastian Bach, it utilizes, as counterpoint throughout, the melodic motive represented by his name in German nomenclature, i.e. B-flat, A, C, and B natural. Bach introduced this motive in his unfinished The Art of the Fugue, the textures of which are paraphrased (in an octatonic scale) in the fourth and fifth variations. The seventh variation incorporates Gustave Nottebohm’s resolution (altered) of the unfinished final fugue of The Art of Fugue. The famous melody from Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor appears once (also altered) in variation nineteen.

Program Note by Ron Nelson