SPEAKER: Thank you so much for joining us, the Cornell University Wind Symphony, for our first concert, well, and a long time. We're so excited to be doing this again, and we're so excited to be here with you, sharing our music, and this, our first concert of the school year.
You just heard the music of Louis Moreua Gottschalk. Was in New Orleans born composer, born to an English father and a French Creole mother. His maternal grandmother had been living in Saint Domingue, the French colony of Saint Domingue, and was one of many refugees from the extremely violent Haitian Revolution that led in 1804 to the independent Republic of Haiti.
Gottschalk, because of those influences, was one of the first composers to successfully bridge the French Creole music that he heard growing up with the Western European classical tradition in which he was trained. And it is for that reason, along with his extraordinary talent as a pianist, that his music was as extremely well-known and well admired during his lifetime as it is today.
We're going to stay in New Orleans for this next piece. You heard a rhythm in that first piece that sounded like da, da-da da, da-da da-da da-da-da, da-da-da. The short, long, short, long rhythm, a syncopated rhythm-- da-da, da-da, da-da, da-da-- is one of the characteristic rhythms of ragtime.
Wynton Marsalis, our current AD White Professor at Large, wrote this next piece drawing on the influence of ragtime. And it's from a set of movements called jazz, 6 and 1/2 syncopated movements. So that syncopation factors really heavily in this piece.
But it's not just ragtime in this piece. You'll also hear the influences of early jazz and the polyphonic improvisational characteristic of early jazz, where multiple players are improvising at once. You're going to hear a little bit of the virtuosic passage work associated with bebop music of the 1940s. And you're going to hear some of the quirky melodic characteristics of bebop melodies as well-- large, somewhat odd, angular melodies that somehow fit well within the ragtime piano tradition. So I hope you enjoy this next piece, which was initially written for a small jazz combo, and we're now premiering in a new version. This is Ragtime of Wynton Marsalis.
[MUSIC - WYNTON MARSALIS, "RAGTIME"]
So if you'd like to hear more from where that came from, please join us. Put it in your calendar, Saturday November 6th, Saturday November 6th, 7:00 PM, right here in Bailey Hall, with this ensemble, AD White Professor at Large Wynton Marsalis and his rhythm section. Wynton Marsalis and his rhythm section will be playing a set of their music as a quartet, and then they'll be joining us for some of Professor Marsalis' music and music that he has arranged or somehow connects with him in some fashion.
For this next piece, we're going to move geographically to Argentina. Argentina's Orchestra Symphonia de Tucuman, commissioned and premiered this next composition from Nancy Galbraith. Professor Galbraith has been a long time member of the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
And this piece, Danza de los Duendes, is essentially an exploration of tiny little ideas which represent tiny little goblins or little monsters, that are sort of craftily moving around. And so what Professor Galbraith does with this composition is, she sets a little machines in motion. And those machines continue with their own-- with their own characteristic, their own time signature, their own melodic fashion, and slowly are joined by other little machines, sort of chugging right along.
And then pretty soon, it fills up the hall with a really dense texture, as all of these little machines are moving to their conclusion. And so this-- these are primary characteristics of her compositional style, which is primarily post-minimalist. You're going to hear very few chord changes.
When those chords change, though, they're really important. And you're going to hear these tiny little motives, which I'm calling little machines, churning along and keeping the composition in motion. So we hope you enjoy this composition. It's a lot of fun to play. And I hope you'll agree that it's a lot of fun to hear as well.
[MUSIC - NANCY GALBRAITH, "DANZA DE LOS DUENDES"]
Well, I can't believe it's already October. Things are just rolling by, aren't they? And this next piece is specifically for the turn from September into October. It was composed to evoke the somewhat wistful nature of early autumn, when there's still a few days of warm weather. But the colder weather is coming. The leaves start to turn and fall. And you know winter is coming next.
And I think, for some, it's a sort of a thoughtful time. And I think the composer in this case brilliantly captures that mood with this piece, entitled October. We hope you enjoy it.
[MUSIC - "OCTOBER"]
OK, so we have one last piece for you. And just to prepare you, can I see a show of hands? How many of you have ridden the subway in New York City, New York City subway? OK, cool. So then, I think you'll be able to identify with what this composer is evoking so brilliantly in this piece.
If you ever ride the trains in the city, you-- with any frequency-- you've probably had really good experiences and experiences that you would prefer to forget, all right? So sometimes, you're on an express train. And it's the right time of day, and there's no-- somehow, there is no track construction. And you can get from Harlem to 42nd Street in 20 minutes.
Other days, you're there forever, and you're stopping, and you're stopping. And some days, you're in a rush. But you're stuck underground. And it's hot. And you're crammed in like a sardine. And you're just thinking, oh, if I could ever just get above ground again.
Finally, the train gets moving, and you come up out of the darkness. And you go above ground, to where there's elevated tracks. And you think, boy, there should really be a movie soundtrack right now. And it should really be playing a big major chord. Like, wow, finally, I get to see some sunlight again.
Well, you get that in this piece. You get it a lot more in this piece. This is the composer Jack Frerer's interpretation of a New York City subway ride, entitled On Again, Off Again. It was written for the Juilliard Orchestra. And the composer later orchestrated the piece for wind ensemble. So we hope you enjoy On Again, Off Again.
Thanks so much for joining us. And remember, November 6, I hope you'll be back with us here in Bailey Hall.
[MUSIC - JACK FRERER, "ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN"]
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The Cornell Wind Symphony conducted by James Spinazzola kicks off the new year with an engaging program including works by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Eric Whitacre, and Wynton Marsalis.