A direct descendant of the famous London violinist/conductor Wilhelm Cramer and eminent pianist, composer and publisher Johann Baptist Cramer, he won his first piano competition aged six and has since toured nationally and internationally with numerous wind ensembles, orchestras, bands and choirs on cornet, trumpet, clarinet, voice, percussion, blues harmonica, trombone and, of course, baton. For services to music he was awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM) in the Australian Honours List.
With Geoff as foundation Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, the international standard Canberra Wind Symphony was launched in June 2015
The Canberra Wind Symphony presents music written for its medium by the finest composers, including highlighting Australian works in showcasing the stunningly thrilling sounds this instrumental combination produces.
Is it an orchestra? You can think of the Canberra Wind Symphony as an orchestra without the strings. All instruments in the ensemble are powered by the same medium – air – the optimal tool for creating a stunningly natural and unified sound with infinite possibilities of expression.
The players – up to 45 – are passionate, technically stunning and highly motivated musicians who have joined together to play in an exemplary group of similarly experienced national and international performers – choosing to engage and excite audiences with breathtaking music.
Performances are presented in concert venues and boutique art spaces, and include a powerful selection of seminal works from a wide array of impressive 20th and 21st Century composers. The use of a large brass section means that a Wind Symphony has just as much power and diversity as a string orchestra, and the rich timbres of the woodwinds deliver a highly toneful synergy to both the harmonic and melodic scorings
The introduction of the Canberra Wind Symphony is the most significant impact on the large ensemble landscape in the Capital Region since Ernest Llewellyn took over the reins of the CSO 50 years ago. This level of clarity and musicianship is rare – you’ll just have to experience it!
The Canberra Wind Symphony doesn’t just want or need sponsors. We’re looking to engage with passionate people and organisations that wish to support exceptional performances at the highest international level through partnering. Write to email@example.com
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You! We look forward to your company soon.
A ‘supersonic scherzo for the US Air Force Band’, this work was commissioned to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the US Air Force. He has written for all five major military bands in Washington DC.
Barnes is a tuba player and has performed with numerous professional ensembles in the USA. He studies composition and music theory at the University of Kansas culminating in his Master of Music in 1975. Since 1977, he has been a professor of theory and composition at the same university.
His numerous compositions include seven symphonies, three concertos and numerous works for concert band and are frequently played in America, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and Australia. The Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra has produced three CDs to date with works by James Barnes.
He has twice received the American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award for his outstanding contemporary music for wind ensemble.
Nimrod from Enigma Variations
Sir Edward William Elgar (1857–1934)
Composed in 1899
arranged for band by Alfred Reed (1921–2005)
This is the work that established Elgar’s reputation as a great English composer. Until this time, he had tried to establish himself as a composer but had not succeeded and, in fact, he and his family left London in 1891 after failing to create enough impact. But, after his 40th birthday, impact was certainly to come…
Perhaps his most well-known – and loved – work, from the same few years around the turn of the century, is Pomp and circumstance (including the tune that a year later became the famous ‘Land of hope and glory’, virtually an alternative English national anthem) which features in the last night of the Proms in London to this day, and is evidence of how Elgar’s music has come to be ‘England in music’ (on hearing Elgar’s oratorio of 1900, The dream of Gerontius, Richard Strauss had hailed Elgar as the foremost English composer of the day).
But the Enigma variations was a couple of years earlier and an orchestral suite of 14 movements, each representing a friend of the composer. Number 9 is ‘Nimrod’ which is ‘a hunter’ or ‘jaeger’ (in German) which represents his publisher at Novello’s, AJ Jaeger.
Gerontius and the Enigma variations made him internationally famous and began a period of creative output and huge success that ran for almost 20 years, culminating in the 1919 Cello concerto.
Elgar was also an organist, violinist and bassoonist (who, incidentally, wrote the second most famous bassoon concerto!).
Martyn Hancock (1972 – )
Composed in 2004, this version 2011
Martyn is an Australian composer and arranger who has been writing music for more than 20 years, including works for wind bands, orchestras, brass quintets and fanfares. He is staff arranger for the Royal Australian Navy Band.
In 2011, he was awarded an Australia Day Medallion for his musical compositions and arrangements and, in 2014, he was awarded a Conspicuous Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for composing new marches and a 40-minute symphony for the International Fleet Review.
Before moving to Australia in 2007, Martyn also arranged a great deal of music for the Royal Marines Band Service. He was also a tuba, string bass and bass guitar player.
In September 2016, he was the winner of the inaugural Australian Wind Symphony Composition Competition for his work, Aurora Australis, which we hope to perform in 2018.
Last year, Canberra Wind Symphony played his moving work, Hymn for Colin on Remembrance Day.
The composer’s notes tell the story of this afternoon’s work:
‘In the year 1668, the resident organist Franz Tunder, of St Mary’s Church (Marienkirche) in Lübeck, passed away. The position that he had held was highly esteemed and was filled by an up-and-coming young man named Dietrich Buxtehude, on the condition that he married his predecessor’s daughter, Anna Margarethe Tunder. This condition was not unusual at the time and was to be also strictly extended to Buxtehude’s successor.
In 1703, after 35 years of service, Buxtehude had the opportunity to take early retirement following a very keen interest in his post by two famous organists, Georg Frederic Handel and Johann Matheson. A year later, Johann Sebastian Bach notoriously walked over 200 miles to see the great Buxtehude perform, and also had a strong desire to succeed him.
Unfortunately, there was a slight problem… Buxtehude’s eldest daughter, Anna Margareta, was exceptionally unattractive, and no matter how prestigious the appointment, none could bear the thought of taking her hand in marriage! And so Dietrich Buxtehude remained organist at the Marienkirche until his death four years later.
The daughter that he had left behind to frighten away aspiring candidates did not languish long. Buxtehude’s old assistant, a certain JC Schieferdecker, who is famous for nothing else, wed the daughter, and gained what was known at the time as “erhielt den schönen Dienst” (the pretty job)!’
Need we say more?
Mars, the Bringer of War from The Planets
Gustav Theodore von Holst (1874–1934)
‘Mars’ composed in 1914, the rest of the movements between 1914 and 1916, first performed in full in 1920
transcribed by Clark McAlister (1946– ), edited by Alfred Reed
This arrangement from 2003
An English composer of partly Swedish descent, Gustav Holst was music teacher at St Paul’s Girls’ School from 1905 until his death.
From its premiere in 1920, his suite for orchestra called The planets has been enduringly popular, influential, widely performed and frequently recorded – and is his best-known work.
The part you hear today is ‘Mars, the bringer of war’, the first movement of the seven movements in the suite called The Planets, originally written for orchestra, organ and, in the last movement, two ethereal off-stage, wordless women’s choruses (the very first performance of which was sung by the girls of St Paul’s School).
Generally believed to be based on the ruling of the astrological signs of the zodiac by the planets, there is an alternative theory for the suite’s structure: David Hurwitz believes that ‘Jupiter is the centrepoint of the suite and that the movements on either side are in mirror images. Thus Mars involves motion and Neptune is static … [further, this] hypothesis is lent credence by the fact that the two outer movements, Mars and Neptune, are both written in rather unusual quintuple meter.’ (Thanks, Wikipedia!)
John Williams used the melodies and instrumentation of Mars as the inspiration for his soundtrack for the Star wars soundtrack and you might find the melodies, instrumentation and orchestration of Mars similar to Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for Gladiator as well – so did the Holst Foundation, who filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement!
This afternoon’s concert band arrangement is by American music editor and arranger, Clark McAlister, who went to Miami in 1977 to further his studies at the University of Miami. He later joined the Florida Philharmonic as Assistant Conductor, Librarian and Personnel Manager. In 1981, he began working at Kalmus Music Publishers, later becoming Vice President.
Frank Ticheli (1958– )
Composed in 2000, this version for concert band 2010
Frank Ticheli received his doctorate and master degree in composition from the University of Michigan and has been professor of composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music since 1991. His orchestral works have received considerable recognition in the US and Europe. Many of his works for concert band have become standards in the repertoire.
The original work was for adult choir, ‘There will be rest’ set to Sara Teasdale’s words, and was commissioned in 1999 by the Pacific Chorale. In this concert band setting, Ticheli tried to carefully preserve the ‘fragile beauty and quiet dignity’ suggested by Sara’s words.
However, with the removal of the text, he says, he ‘felt free to enhance certain aspects of the music, most strikingly with the addition of a sustained climax on the main theme. This extended climax allows the band version to transcend the expressive boundaries of … the original.’
This concert band version was commissioned by Russel Mikkelson and his family in memory of his father, Elling Mikkelson.
Eventide: ‘Abide With Me’
William Henry Monk (1823–1899)
Composed in 1861
arranged by Jay Dawson
This arrangement from 2005
Composer William Monk was an English organist, church musician and music editor who composed popular hymn tunes, including this one, his most famous, ‘Eventide’. It became known as ‘Abide with me’. In 1847, Monk became the choirmaster at Kings College London. Ten years later, he was appointed the musical editor of Hymns modern and ancient, first published in 1861, which became one of the best-selling hymn books of all time, in which ‘Eventide’ was first published.
The arranger of the version you hear tonight is Jay Dawson from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. His teaching experience includes public high schools and college level. For ten years he was a French hornist in the Nashville Symphony Orchestra before becoming assistant conductor in 1977 for three years, as well as conductor of the Nashville Youth Symphony. He is widely known as an arranger of works for wind bands and wind symphony and is president of the Arrangers Publishing Company. He is founder and conductor of the Tennessee Winds, a professional concert band.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)
Composed in 1880 for performance in 1882
arranged for band by LP Laurendeau
(for the US Military Band)
It’s a classic Canberra story: at 19, Pete was a clerk in the Attorney-General’s Department but, in his spare time, studied harmony at the local School of Music…
Well, as it happens, it was a century earlier, in Russia, and it was Pyotr at the Ministry for Justice and the St Petersberg Conservatory – but he was studying under none other than famous Russian composer and pianist Anton Rubinstein and, by the age of 26, Peter was lecturer in harmony at the new Moscow Conservatory led by Anton’s brother, Nicolai.
While he knew all the great Russian composers of the time – including Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov – they did not really get on; yet there is an unmistakably ‘Russian’ sound to all their music.
Tchaikovsky’s ‘warm, open-hearted melodies, dramatic sweep, and brilliant and picturesque orchestration’ have proved immensely popular and have become mainstays of concert repertoire over the last century.
Michael Kennedy says, ‘Few composers are more popular with audiences than Tchaikovsky; the reasons are several and understandable. His music is extremely tuneful, luxuriously and colourfully scored, and filled with emotional fervour directed to the heart rather than the head…’
When Peter was 40, he wrote the concert overture we will hear this afternoon. It was written to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. Its original orchestration famously includes optional parts for cathedral bells, cannons and military band. Melodically, it also includes quotes of La Marseillaise, as well as the Tsarist Russian national anthem, amongst other material.
One source places this work right in the middle of what they consider a ‘creative trough’ in his life. Certainly it falls between his famous ballets, 1877’s Swan Lake and 1890’s Sleeping Beauty – but really?
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