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Wind Band Classics - Fanfares And Overtures - Schuman, Reed, Husa, Etc / Berz, Rutgers Wind Ensemble


Release Date: 08/25/2009 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572230   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Herbert Owen ReedKarel HusaVáclav NelhybelWilliam Schuman
Conductor:  William Berz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers Wind Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



FANFARES AND OVERTURES William Berz, cond; Nicholas Farco (nar); Rutgers Wind Ens NAXOS 8.572230 (65:46)


REED Overture-1940 (arr. Berz). Fanfare for Remembrance. Renascence. HUSA Smetana Fanfare. Music for Prague 1968. NELHÝBEL Libuše: Read more class="ARIAL12">Fanfares. SCHUMAN George Washington Bridge


The Rutgers Wind Ensemble has released a number of distinguished recordings on the educational Mark label. To my knowledge, this Naxos disc is their first commercial release and a fine one it is.


Wind music enthusiasts will likely know H. Owen Reed for his magnificent programmatic symphony for band, La fiesta mexicana . He is represented here by three smaller scaled works. Overture-1940 , arranged by conductor William Berz, is a driving, energetic work featuring angular melodies, mildly dissonant harmonies, and busy counterpoint in its development. Though a bit reminiscent of Howard Hanson, Samuel Barber, and other prominent composers of the pre-World War II era, it is nonetheless an engaging work in its own right. Similarly, Reed’s Renascence is a pleasant concert overture that calls to mind the band works of Vincent Persichetti. Fanfare for Remembrance is scored for narrator, trumpet ensemble, and percussion. Inspired by the poem “For Remembrance” by Edythe Hope Genée, the work consists of two rather mundane settings of The Battle Hymn of the Republic followed by an unimaginative recitation of the poetry over a repetitious collage of melodic fragments. A concluding gimmick—that of having the last line of the poem repeatedly intoned over whispered “echoes” from the trumpeters—does little to redeem the work’s negligible effect.


Czech-born composers Václav Nelhýbel and Karel Husa are “household names” in the band world, each having penned a number of colorful, dynamic scores that have become standard repertoire for the medium. Both of their fanfares are based on music of their countryman Bedrich Smetana. Though Nelhýbel receives credit as the composer of Fanfares from Libuše , the piece is actually an arrangement of excerpts from the Overture to Smetana’s opera. Unfortunately, the work as presented here does not make much of an impression. Not so of Husa’s splendid Smetana Fanfare , a thrilling concert opener—oddly placed second on this disc—based on material from the elder composer’s Wallenstein’s Camp.


When Husa’s Music for Prague 1968 burst onto the band scene in 1969, it created a sensation and was lauded as the work that would finally break through the barriers of the band subculture and stand the test of time as a true masterpiece of modern music. Forty years later, such an assessment might raise a few eyebrows, but the work is still a very powerful and moving memorial to the crushing of the Prague Spring reform movement by the Soviet Union in the summer of 1968. The work has received thousands of performances, both in the original version for wind ensemble and in the composer’s own orchestral transcription. Conductor Donald Hunsberger and his Eastman Wind Ensemble set the standard with their breathtaking performance on Sony 44916. This new recording, though very good, is blemished by occasional slack rhythms and intermittent intonation problems in the upper woodwinds.


Also a band standard, William Schuman’s George Washington Bridge was inspired by the composer’s view of the bridge on his daily treks to and from the Juilliard School, where he served as president. To Schuman, the bridge took on an almost human personality—a personality that seemed to change depending on the time of day, the weather, and his own mood and state of mind. It is a masterful work in five sections, creating an arc structure and characterized by massive polychords, bold gestures, and vivid colors. The Rutgers players deliver a powerhouse performance.


Despite a few minor lapses in ensemble precision and the aforementioned intonation problems, the Rutgers Wind Ensemble and conductor William Berz make a very positive impression. The recorded sound is rich and spacious, sacrificing some degree of detail for a concert hall-like ambience. Recommended, despite the caveats mentioned above.


FANFARE: Merlin Patterson
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Works on This Recording

1. Overture 1940 by Herbert Owen Reed
Conductor:  William Berz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
2. Smetana Fanfare by Karel Husa
Conductor:  William Berz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1984 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
3. Libuse: Fanfares by Václav Nelhybel
Conductor:  William Berz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
4. Fanfare for Remembrance by Herbert Owen Reed
Conductor:  William Berz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 11 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: : Nicholas Farco. 
5. Renascence by Herbert Owen Reed
Conductor:  William Berz
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; USA 
Length: 9 Minutes 2 Secs. 
6. George Washington Bridge by William Schuman
Conductor:  William Berz
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 29 Secs. 
7. Overture 1940 by Herbert Owen Reed
Conductor:  William Berz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: William Berz. 
8. Libuse: Fanfares by Václav Nelhybel
Conductor:  William Berz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
9. Music for Prague 1968: 1. Introduction and Fanfare by Karel Husa
Conductor:  William Berz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969 
Length: 6 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: : Nicholas Farco. 
10. Music for Prague 1968: 2. Aria by Karel Husa
Conductor:  William Berz
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969 
Length: 4 Minutes 50 Secs. 
11. Music for Prague 1968: 3. Interlude by Karel Husa
Conductor:  William Berz
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969 
Length: 4 Minutes 33 Secs. 
12. Music for Prague 1968: 4. Toccata and Chorale by Karel Husa
Conductor:  William Berz
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969 
Length: 7 Minutes 51 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Overture 1940 (arr. W. Berz)
Smetana Fanfare
Libuse: Fanfares
Fanfare for Remembrance
Music for Prague 1968: I. Introduction and Fanfare
Music for Prague 1968: II. Aria
Music for Prague 1968: III. Interlude
Music for Prague 1968: IV. Toccata and Chorale
Renascence
George Washington Bridge

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