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Autumn Breezes Carry Beautiful Melodies with World Winds
Concordia Santa Fe will present its second chamber series concert of the 2013 season, entitled World Winds. The program includes Septet for Winds by Paul Hindemith, Trio, Op. 6, by Malcolm Arnold, and Serenade in D Minor for Winds, Op. 44, by Antonin Dvorák. Dr. Sarah McKoin, artistic advisor to the chamber series and Director of Bands at Texas Tech University, will conduct the ensemble performing the Dvorák.
Paul Hindemith began composing his Septet for Winds while visiting Sicily in November 1948. Often known for his unusual scoring combinations, he wrote this particular work for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, bass clarinet, and trumpet. A melodic basis for the piece is "Alter Berner Marsch," an old song from Bern, Switzerland. The first movement is a lively romp in sonata form. The two intermezzos, much slower and freer, are exact retrogrades of each other and are separated by a moderately paced movement of variations. A quick and playful fugue on the theme completes the work.
Malcolm Arnold’s Trio, Op. 6, was written in late 1943. Arnold was then 22 years old, was already principal trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra and was determined to establish himself as a composer. Whether the instrumentation of flute, viola, and bassoon was his own idea or, more likely, prescribed by what musicians were available in wartime London, we don’t know and anyway it would hardly have mattered to Arnold. Throughout his life he, like Hindemith, took delight in unusual sound combinations and like many of his chamber pieces it takes them as its starting point. Ideas spring from the sound and, in the outer movements specially, are treated in a kind of madrigal style, tossed from voice to voice, linking with other ideas with a logic and spontaneity that makes it hard to say where statement ends and development begins. There is an unstoppable forward thrust and buoyancy of spirit, but there is also a sureness of pacing and architecture.
In his Serenade for Winds, Dvorák also scored for an unusual combination of instruments: two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, contrabassoon, three horns, and -- for added resonance and a sustained bass line -- a cello and a doublebass. The piece gets off to a mock-serious start on a sturdy march tune, and Dvorák offers variety with a second theme that rocks easily along its dotted rhythms; both themes return to lead the movement to a quiet close. The minuet is the most "Czech" of the four movements, sounding very much like the series of Slavonic Dances Dvorák would compose later the same year. Critics single out the Andante for special praise due to its serene melody. The animated finale returns to the march-like feel of the first movement before a series of sunny fanfares in D major propel the Serenade to its buoyant close.