Thoughts on Teaching and Playing the Horn

Black Bayou Brass Thailand Program

My colleagues and I are getting very excited about our upcoming performances in Thailand, and we’ve been busy choosing and preparing repertoire for our concerts there. After much discussion, we decided on a mix of pieces we’ve performed before as well as some new things for the group. There should be plenty of variety on the program, with several original works for brass trio and several works arranged by current members of the ensemble. Here’s a preview, with a few notes about each work, as well as links to recordings, where available.

  • A Philharmonic Fanfare, Eric Ewazen A great opener for brass trio by one of today’s foremost composers for brass instruments.
  • Triple Play, Jan Bach, This challenging piece is a new one for us, but we’ve been having a great time putting it together. Built around the theme of baseball, we thought this piece would be a wonderful way to share a bit of American culture with our audiences in Thailand. Here are some notes by the composer, taken from the score.

Triple Play was commissioned by the University of Georgia Center for Teaching and Learning for the Zephyr Brass Trio and written during the summer of 2005…The inspiration for the title came to me as I was watching the 2005 World Series. Buoyed by the victory of the White Sox, it occurred to me, a Chicago area composer, that “Triple Play” would be an apt title for a trio of brass instruments. Then I realized that several musical and near-musical tunes associated with baseball games could be incorporated into the work, creating a close relationship between the title and its music.

  • Brass Trio, Arthur Frackenpohl This four-movement work is a standard in the brass trio repertoire, and is notable for the full textures the composer is able to create with only three instruments.
  • Hat Dance Variations, Henry Wolking Wolking is a well known name in brass ensemble music, and this lighthearted – but technically and rhythmically challenging – piece will kick off the second half of our program.
  • Zigeunerweisen, by Pablo de Sarasate, arranged by Rafael Mendez, adapted for brass trio by Alex Noppe Our trumpet player Alex Noppe has skillfully reduced Mendez’s arrangement of this solo violin work. Don’t be fooled by the reduced instrumentation; this version has all of the virtuosity and flair of the original! Here’s a Youtube video of Mendez performing this piece.
  • Divertimento I, from K. 439b, W.A. Mozart, arranged by James Boldin One of a set of arrangements published by Cimarron Press, this piece makes for a nice contrast on a brass trio program.
  • That’s A Plenty, Lew Pollack, arranged by Micah Everett This great early jazz tune, arranged by our trombone player Micah Everett, has become one of our favorite closers, especially on tour.

There you have it – wish us luck!  We will also be performing this program locally when we return from Thailand. Check back here for more details.

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Categorised in: Area Horn News, Chamber Music, Ensembles

2 Responses »

  1. That is the first performance of Hat Dance Variations I’ve ever heard. Outstanding job! Anyway I could get a recording of this? Henry Wolking

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