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Clarion University Symphonic Band Presents ‘Songs and Dances’ Concert Tonight

Thursday, April 18, 2019 @ 12:04 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

clarion syphonic bandCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The Clarion University Symphonic Band will present a concert on Thursday, April 18, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. in the Marwick-Boyd Auditorium as part of the university’s Academic Excellence series. 

Under the direction of Dr. Casey C. Teske, the theme of the concert is “Songs and Dances” featuring works that incorporate a variety of song and dances from different parts of the world.  Special guest artist for this concert is the Newyopercussion Contemporary Quartet. The members of this exciting young professional group are  Bryan Teeters (CUP class of 2010), Dean Anshutz, Matthew Hayes, and Bob Young.

The concert opens with Courtly Airs and Dances by Ron Nelson.  According to the composer, this composition is  “a suite of Renaissance Dances characteristic of five European countries during the 1500’s.”   Social dancing was prevalent throughout the Renaissance both as a social art and in the theatre.  The work is in six movements representing dances from France, England, Italy, Spain, and Germany.

The Newyopercussion Contemporary Quartet will continue the concert with three pieces starting with Wild Sound by Glenn Kotche.  The composition utilizes custom instruments, many of which are created on stage during the performance incorporating various multimedia. The next piece, Postludes by Elliot Cole is an eight-piece collection for percussion quartet that utilizes a traditional percussion instrument in a way that creates original sonorities.  Rather than striking the vibraphone with mallets, the four players are required to bow the bars throughout the piece, and the only striking motions occur occasionally with the fingers.  The quartet will end with Dean Anshutz’s original composition run rabbit run.  This four-movement work is scored for four snare drums, bass drum, and “found” sound resembling what it feels like to be hunted.

The symphonic band continues the last part of the concert with Frank Ticheli’s Cajun Folk Songs.  The first movement, “La Belle at le Capitaine,” is a flowing plaintive song that tells a story of a young girl who feigns death to avoid being seduced by a captain.  The second movement, “Belle,” is about a man who received word of his sweetheart’s illness forcing him to return to Louisiana to try to save her – to no avail.

The next piece is On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss composed by David Holsinger. The work is based on the 1876 Philip Bliss hymn It is Well with my Soul.”  The genesis of the hymn is the composer’s grief of his four daughters lost at sea, expressing “When sorrows like sea billows roll….”

The concert closes with Folk Dances by Dimitri Shostakovitch.  Originally a third movement to his Leningrad Symphony, these Russian folk songs are traditionally played with a dark rich tone creating a familiar Russian sound.  It is a single rhapsodic movement where the construction is a series of similar two-step dance tunes.

The concert is free and open to the public.

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