Listening to music is an amazing, enlightening, inspiring and emotion-provoking experience. As musicians we listen to music for so many reasons – to enjoy, to experience, to learn, to study, the list goes on. We should listen to those pieces that we love and cherish; we should listen to those pieces that we don’t yet know as well. We should always be striving to broaden our musical horizons. Listening is an ideal way to do this.
The reason I’m writing about this is that I just heard a new recording that is dear to my heart on many levels and I want to share it with you. It is entitled Wolf Rounds, and was just released by Naxos as part of their Wind Band Classics series. (NAXOS 8.572439) The performers are the Frost Wind Ensemble at the University of Miami, Gary Green, Director, with Glenn Basham, violin and Tim Conner, trombone, soloists.
The pieces on the CD are Ladder to the Moon, by Michael Daugherty; Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble, by David Maslanka; and Wolf Rounds, by Christopher Rouse. The performers are of course from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, so all of the clarinetists are/were my students. The conductor and soloists are friends and colleagues at UM.
The composers are all inspiring, the pieces fantastic and the performances incredible. Ladder to the Moon is based on the urban landscapes of Georgia O’Keeffe. It is scored for solo violin, wind octet, double bass and one percussionist. It is high energy, exciting music and Glenn Basham, solo violin, is fantastic. (as is the clarinet soloist!)
The Trombone Concerto is incredibly beautiful and heartfelt music. It was written as a memorial to Christine Nield-Capote whose passing was a terrible loss to all who knew and loved her. She was a very special musician, teacher and friend and she is terribly missed. Along with beautiful trombone playing by Tim Conner, there is a solo cello line, played by Ashley Garritson (UM graduate student) which is simply stunning.
The CD ends with Wolf Rounds, which was premiered by UM at Carnegie Hall in 2007. It is based on a series of circular musical ‘loops’, cycling and overlapping. Mr Rouse describes this idea of loops bringing to mind wolves (lupus) circling their prey, which in turn brings to mind the circular nature of the piece – hence the title Wolf Rounds.
I hope you will take a few minutes to listen to this wonderful new music. Each piece is a tremendous addition to our wind repertoire. And as a last thought I will say, since most if not all of us reading this blog are clarinetists – there is some GREAT clarinet playing on this cd!! And to those of you reading who performed on this recording – congratulations to all of you, I could not be more proud of you.