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Wind Band Classics - Reflections / Morris, Green, Frost Wind Ensemble

Release Date: 10/30/2007 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570465   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Thomas M. SleeperDavid Maslanka
Performer:  Craig Morris
Conductor:  Gary Green
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frost Wind Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SLEEPER Trumpet Concerto. MASLANKA Symphony No. 3 Gary Green, cond; U of Miami Frost Wind Ens; Craig Morris (tr) NAXOS 8.570465 (65:03)

This release is from the “Wind Band Classics” series from Naxos, but both of the composers, Thomas Sleeper and David Maslanka, present their material in a full voiced, symphonic manner. The ear hears an orchestra more so than a band, due to the full exploitation of tonal color blending and voicing on the part of Read more both composers. Sleeper’s work is concise and well organized, in the manner of Stravinsky, which is not to say that it is emotionally cold. There is a prismatic brilliance, especially in the faster sections, that flows into a natural sense of lyricism. Nothing seems contrived here; this is honest and superbly crafted music that falls easily on the ear. The solo playing of Morris is excellent, showing a great range of expression.

Maslanka’s 1991 Symphony No. 3, is, at 47 minutes, nearly three times as long as the Sleeper work. Bigger ambitions are accompanied by bigger risks, but Maslanka largely succeeds in creating a wind ensemble symphony of grand scope. Some of the melodic material borders on the hackneyed, but this impression is ameliorated by very adroit handling of texture. The construction of the symphony is unusual, with the last three sections all being slow to moderate in tempo. It is an effective decision, lending the piece a gravity that is not expected from a wind band, and allowing the composer to indulge in subtle tone-painting (without being self-indulgent). It follows that these kinds of details could not be apparent were it not for the superb performances of the Frost Wind Ensemble. What a crackerjack band this is, and what a fine sense of control do we get from conductor Gary Green.

I must admit to having been less than excited when a CD of wind band music first came into my house, but this music grabbed me early on and did not let go. A very pleasant surprise, in all, commended to those interested in excellent new music from a pair of conservative, but highly imaginative American voices.

FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Trumpet by Thomas M. Sleeper
Performer:  Craig Morris (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Gary Green
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frost Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2003; USA 
Length: 17 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Symphony no 3 by David Maslanka
Performer:  Craig Morris (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Gary Green
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frost Wind Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; USA 
Length: 47 Minutes 55 Secs. 

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