The Other Side
Format: COMPACT DISC
Foreign Motion; George, Matthew; Vanhoorne, Harmen; University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble
With a tally of more than ninety commissioned works for band, Matthew George and the Minnesota-based University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble are blazing the trail in spurring new works for the medium. The Other Side is the seventh installment on their ongoing UST Symphonic Wind Ensemble Commissioning Series. This golden volume has something for everyone: symphonic Romanticism, allusions to Surrealism and Abstract Art, and virtuosic solos performance, not to mention the unlikely pairing of a rock group with wind band. The music of Spanish composer Luis Serrano Alarcon bookends the album, starting with his B-Side Concerto. A rock/jazz fusion band and the symphonic wind ensemble tackle and support each other over the course of three sections in a concerto that Vivaldi could never have imagined. Nigel Clarke’s Mysteries of the Horizon was inspired by the artwork of Rene Magritte, and the four movements are named after some of his most popular paintings. The performance features the virtuosic cornet soloist, also from Belgium, Harmen Vanhoorne, whom the composer had in mind while writing this dazzling work. Another British composer and another work inspired by art follow; this time Kit Turnbull and Wassily Kandinsky respectively. The title, Everything starts from a dot, is a direct quote from Kandinsky when answering a question about how he goes about starting a painting. Staying with Russia for the final work on the album, Serrano Alarcon’s Second Symphony for Wind Orchestra pays tribute to the era of Russian Romantic symphonic composers. The emotional content of the music matches the powerful forces of the symphonic wind ensemble.