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Synergy: Music for Wind Band

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All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Synergy: Music for Wind Band in Naxos' Wind Band Classics series might've been called Music for Clarinet and Wind Band as four of its five pieces feature the clarinet as a solo instrument. This features the Columbus State University Wind Ensemble Columbus, GA under Robert W. Rumbelow. In a sense, the star of the show is arch-virtuoso clarinetist John Bruce Yeh, who is joined by daughter Molly Yeh in the percussion parts in Michael Burritt's "Duo Concertante for clarinet and percussion" 2006. Burritt is an internationally renowned percussion soloist who teaches at the Eastman School, and his "Duo Concertante" is a sparkling, jazzy single-movement work with a lot of ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Synergy: Music for Wind Band in Naxos' Wind Band Classics series might've been called Music for Clarinet and Wind Band as four of its five pieces feature the clarinet as a solo instrument. This features the Columbus State University Wind Ensemble Columbus, GA under Robert W. Rumbelow. In a sense, the star of the show is arch-virtuoso clarinetist John Bruce Yeh, who is joined by daughter Molly Yeh in the percussion parts in Michael Burritt's "Duo Concertante for clarinet and percussion" 2006. Burritt is an internationally renowned percussion soloist who teaches at the Eastman School, and his "Duo Concertante" is a sparkling, jazzy single-movement work with a lot of interesting tonal color, strong musical ideas, and variety of approach. It is not well served by the rather flat, under-dynamic, distant, and barely two-dimensional sound of Naxos' recording. The mallet percussion parts should sparkle and the clarinet should have a silvery quality, and such qualities are only intermittently evident here. Nevertheless, the playing by both Yehs is outstanding, and among the works featured on Synergy: Music for Wind Band, this one is an immediate attention grabber. Lower key, at least at the start, is David Gillingham's "Concertino for Four Percussion and Wind Ensemble" 1997; the soloists here are drawn from the ranks of the Columbus State University Wind Ensemble. As with the "Duo Concertante," the sound is a bit of a drawback, but this is a solid and well-drilled performance of Gillingham's highly cinematic composition. J.M. David, the youngest composer on the program, contributes his "Fantasy Etudes, Book II," which is scored for a group of chamber-sized dimensions led with clarinet, here played by clarinetist Teresa Reilly who also happens to be Mrs. John Bruce Yeh -- do we detect a pattern here? David's etude consists of several semi-open form sequences that vary both drastically and only slightly with each pass; while the work as a whole only demands 9:40 of one's time, after about 6 minutes the listener might be saying, "Okay, I get it, I get it, Enough!" Bear in mind, though, that the passes themselves are not unattractive and are inspired by Stravinsky and Ligeti, though sound more like Varèse-meets-neo-classicism; also the sound quality -- with the smaller group -- suddenly comes alive. Scott MacAllister's "Black Dog" is a rhapsody inspired by several Led Zeppelin pieces, although much of the "Lassù" is so peaceful and serene in mood that the rock rhythms of its "Friska" might seem a bit incongruous once it arrives. In a sense, we never get there, either. Michael Daugherty's clarinet concerto "Brooklyn Bridge" 2004 starts off in Daugherty's best "Metropolis Symphony" mode and has some nice ideas along the way in its first and second movements, though those balls are never carried very far. By the third movement, Daugherty is getting mired in weak ideas, and the clarinet cadenza, which opens the fourth movement -- with its cut-and-paste sequences and isolated trills -- might prevent the listener from advancing through the remainder of the showy, splashy movement to follow. As to whether or not there is a "pattern" in this program, yes there is: these pieces were worked up during a residency that the Yeh family had with the Columbus State University Wind Ensemble at this time 2007 and -- even to judge solely from what is heard here -- the Yehs are a musical family worthy of the Mozarts or Rainers of old. There is every reason to want to document their family residency in Georgia and the resulting synergy with Columbus State University Wind Ensemble. However, as desirable as some aspects of this program may be, there is much room for improvement in Naxos' Synergy: Music for Wind Band, especially in direct comparison with some of the really very outstanding volumes the Wind Band Classics series has included.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/17/2009
  • Label: Naxos Wind Band
  • UPC: 747313231973
  • Catalog Number: 8572319
  • Sales rank: 290,176

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–4 Brooklyn Bridge, for band - Michael Daugherty & John Bruce Yeh (26:55)
  2. 2 Concertino for Four Percussion & Wind Ensemble - David Gillingham & Columbus State University Wind Ensemble (9:10)
  3. 3 Black Dog, for clarinet & wind ensemble - Scott McAllister & John Bruce Yeh (10:38)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Columbus State University Wind Ensemble Primary Artist
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