WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938): First Symphony for Band, DANA WILSON (b.1946): Horn Concerto, DAVID LUDWIG (b.1974): Missa brevis, JENNIFER HIGDON (b.1962): Oboe Concerto.
Catalogue Number: 07M095
Reference: EQ 97
Description: Wilson's concerto consists of an expository first movement which alternates fanfare-like horn calls which present the intervallic material on which the work is based, and propulsive, high-energy episodes; a plaintive, very tonal slow movement in long, singing lines, and a high-energy, dancing finale, jazzy and not lacking in humor. Ludwig's purely instrumental Mass refers throughout to traditional musical forms that have come to be associated with the sections of the sacred text; another nod to tradition is his incorporation of fragments of Machaut's 14th-century mass. Each movement has its own distinct character, in keeping with the sentiments of the associated text. Higdon's concerto is principally a lyrical, melodic work, showcasing the instrument;s lyrical potential, with two brief scherzi; the whole in a straightforwardly elegant tonal language. Bolcom's Symphony - his first for band, but his ninth in the form - is an ambitious, thoroughly worked out musical argument, beginning with a terse and incisive sonata-form movement, followed by a sardonic scherzo, pastoral slow movement and a rondo-finale that suggests the cortège and dancing traditions of the New Orleans funeral. Tonal and endlessly inventive and ingenious, with the engaging incorporation of popular idioms without a trace of condescension that Bolcom has always done so well, this is as thoroughly 'symphonic' a work as any in the more established full-orchestra tradition. Adam Unsworth (horn), Nancy Ambrose King (oboe), University of Michigan Symphonic Band; Michael Haithcock.