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Wind Band Masterworks Vol 4 / Texas A&M Symphonic Band

Nixon / Tull / Texas A&m University Wind Symphony
Release Date: 12/15/2007 
Label:  Mark Masters   Catalog #: 7264  
Composer:  Roger NixonFisher TullMorton GouldMark Camphouse,   ... 
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Although the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Wind Symphony is an amateur ensemble in the strict sense of the term, its playing is anything but amateurish. If not quite possessing the exceptional polish of the University of North Carolina Greensboro under John R. Locke that I profiled and reviewed at length in Fanfare 34:1, this is still an estimable ensemble whose performances provide great pleasure. Its readings are distinguished by remarkable energy and rhythmic vitality, though the sonorities are noticeably weighted more toward the treble end of the spectrum than those of its North Carolina counterpart; as a low brass instrument player in my youth I personally prefer Read more greater weight in the bass register. Not counting pieces transcribed from orchestral originals, with the exception of a recording of the Camphouse A Movement for Rosa (reviewed by Walter Simmons in 19:5), the two Grainger pieces, and the Gershwin overture, all the pieces on the first two CDs are receiving their first reviews in the pages of Fanfare.



Roger Nixon (1921–2009), a longtime faculty member of San Francisco State University, was a pupil of Roger Sessions and also studied with figures as diverse as Arthur Bliss, Ernst Bloch, and Arnold Schoenberg. Several of his works are staples of the concert band repertoire. Unfortunately, the inconsequential “Parade” from his Pacific Celebrations Suite , composed for San Francisco’s bicentennial celebration, does not represent him at his considerable best and makes for a poor introduction to an otherwise fine collection.


Fisher Tull (1934–94) was a native Texan, a trumpeter, and faculty member of Sam Houston State University. Many of his compositions reflect religious themes and an interest in medieval and Renaissance music. The Final Covenant depicts the promises made by God to mankind, and the supplications of man in response to those, by turns contemplative and majestic. Though not exceptional, it is solidly crafted and engaging.


The Old Testament theme is continued by the Jericho Rhapsody of the often underestimated composer/conductor Morton Gould (1913–96), which portrays the miraculous capture of that city by Joshua and the Israelites. Despite its subject, it sounds far more akin to the kind of quintessential “American” music penned by Aaron Copland, with melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic inflections from folk hymnody and dance music as well as jazz, and seems more whimsical than dramatic.


Mark Camphouse (b.1954) was a faculty member at Radford University in Virginia from 1984 to 2006. I had not previously encountered his music before, but the two compositions offered here—both penned in an accessible style that conveys majestic gravity and weighty substance—have immediately elevated him to the ranks of my favorite concert band composers and are the real finds on these discs. A Movement for Rosa honors Rosa Parks of civil rights movement fame, and employs the well-known protest song We Shall Overcome as part of its thematic material. The Symphonic Prelude was inspired by a visit to the Normandy American Cemetery in France, at Omaha Beach of World War II fame.


Ron Nelson (b.1929) was a longtime faculty member of Brown University. Savannah River Holiday , one of his better-known works, is as boisterous and celebratory as its title suggests. Though not profound, and not intended to be, it is a thoroughly enjoyable musical romp.


The two pieces by Percy Grainger (1882–1961) are beloved, tuneful standards of the concert band literature that require no comment from me.


Heard here in a transcription by Frank Bencriscutto (1928–97), a longtime band director at the University of Minnesota, “Profanation” is the scherzo movement from Leonard Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony. Based on the haftarah (or haftoroh ), a traditional selection of texts from the Old Testament prophets read during a synagogue service, it depicts the chaos and destruction visited upon ancient Jerusalem by the Babylonians due to the kingdom of Judah’s apostasy from the divine covenant. I have long thought Bernstein’s First Symphony to be by far his best, and this arrangement of the scherzo is quite effective.


The Allerseelen of Richard Strauss is heard here in a transcription by the longtime doyen of American concert band music, Frederick Fennell (1914–2004). If not capable of fully capturing the opulence of Strauss’s orchestral wizardry, it is nonetheless well crafted and rewarding in its own right.


No such reservations need be stated regarding the version of George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture offered here by R. Mark Rogers, currently the director of publications for Southern Music Company and an adjunct faculty member of several Texas schools. The flavor of Gershwin’s musical expedition to the Caribbean is caught to a tangy, spicy fullness."

FANFARE: James A. Altena
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Works on This Recording

1.
Pacific Celebration Suite: Parade by Roger Nixon
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Period: 20th Century 
2.
The Final Covenant by Fisher Tull
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979; USA 
3.
Jericho by Morton Gould
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; USA 
4.
A Movement for Rosa by Mark Camphouse
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992; USA 
5.
Savannah River Holiday by Ron Nelson
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USA 
6.
Molly on the Shore for Band by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; USA 
7.
Colonial Song by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911/1918; England 
8.
Symphony no 1 "Jeremiah": Profanation by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
9.
Lieder (8), Op. 10: no 8, Allerseelen by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Germany 
10.
Cuban Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Timothy Rhea
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas A&M University Symphonic Band
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; USA 

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