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Saint-Saëns (1835—1921) was a child prodigy, composing his first piece for piano at the age of three and entered the Paris Conservatory at age 13. He was a private student of Charles Gounod. He was also an accomplished pianist, conductor, score reader, and astronomer. As a composer, he wrote in many genres, including opera, symphonies, concertos, sacred and secular choral music, concertos, and chamber music. His highly popular works include Danse Macabre and Samson & Delilah. March Militaire Française is the finale movement of a four-movement symphonic poem, Suite Algérienne, Opus 60, that was inspired by Saint-Saëns’s trips to Algeria, then a French colony on the continent of Africa. Although no authentic Algerian music exists in this piece, Saint-Saëns used melodic tendencies of the native Algerian culture. Marche Militaire Française, has become famous independently of the other movements both as an orchestral favorite and as a French concert march for the wind ensemble and concert band.
Composer Morten Lauridsen is most noted for his seven vocal cycles – Los Chansons des Roses, Madrigali, Mid-Winter Songs, Cuatro Canciones, A Winter Come, Nocturnes and Lux Aeterna – and his series of a cappella motets which are regularly performed by distinguished ensembles and vocal artists throughout the world. His O Magnum Mysterium has become one of the most
performed and recorded compositions of recent years. Mr. Lauridsen (b.1943) is Distinguished Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and served as Composer-in-Residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1994 to 2001. In 2007, Lauridsen was awarded the National Medal of Arts for his “radiant choral works combining musical power, beauty and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide.”
O Magnum Mysterium (“O Great Mystery”) has become one of the world’s most performed and recorded compositions since its 1994 premier by the Los Angeles Master Chorale conducted by Paul Salamunovich. About his setting, Morten Lauridsen writes, “For centuries, composers have been inspired by the beautiful ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ text with its depiction of the birth of the new-born King amongst the lowly animals and shepherds. This affirmation of God’s grace to the meek and the adoration of the Blessed Virgin are celebrated in my setting through a quiet song of profound inner joy.” H. Robert Reynolds has arranged the symphonic wind version of this popular work with the approval and appreciation of the composer.
The text of O Magnum Mysterium translates as:
O great mystery,
And wonderous sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in their manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear the Lord Jesus Christ.
Suspiros de España (literally, “sighs of Spain”) was written in the Spanish city of Cartagena in 1902. Although written as an instrumental march, it later became popular to add lyrics (often different versions) by major Spanish popular singers. It is a pasodoble, a type of Spanish popular march that literally translates as “two-step.” The music is infused with Spanish-tinged melodies, harmonies, and rhythms.
By Earl “Buddy” Mattei, arranger:
Born in Mississippi in 1923, Lyndol Mitchell began his higher education in 1941 as a student at Western Kentucky State College in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He and my father, also a music student at Western, became life-long friends. They both had to put college on hold while they served in the military during World War II, Mitchell serving in Army Air Force intelligence in Europe. Upon discharge from service they completed their studies at Western Kentucky and then reunited in the late 1940’s for graduate work in Rochester, New York at the famed Eastman School of Music.
Mitchell earned his Master’s Degree in Composition and was hired as a teaching fellow when he began his doctorate work at Eastman. He was appointed to the Eastman faculty in 1952 and served as Professor of Composition until his untimely death from leukemia in 1962.
Among many other works written between 1948 and the mid 1950’s, Mitchell wrote three separate works for orchestra based on folk songs common to the Appalachians and Eastern Kentucky. These he compiled into a three-movement suite titled Kentucky Mountain Portraits and it was published for orchestra in 1957.
The first movement, Cindy, is titled for the song from which it was created. It is the most complex of the three movements, featuring extensive counterpoint, contrasts in tempo and style, and multiple key changes. In his original program notes Mr. Mitchell referenced the following from the collection Folksong U.S.A. by John and Alan Lomax:
“Cindy, according to one singer, was so stupendously sweet that he wanted to sew her onto his coattails so as always to keep her by his side.” Others have painted her as a rather brash mountain gal, mainly interested in getting herself a man, who, on first meeting “threw her arms around me and hung on like a leech.” Then again, Cindy was the kind of gal who went to church and “got so full of glory that she shook her stockings down”. “So it seems that Cindy is a pretty complex personality.”
The composer’s skill is on full display as he so expertly captures the multi-faceted Cindy.
Ballad, the second movement, uses Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies and Pretty Polly as the thematic basis for this simple yet stunningly beautiful arrangement of these two classic laments. Requiring sensitive musicianship from the performers, Mitchell here portrays the melancholy, tragedy, and heartbreak too often experienced in my native Bluegrass State’s eastern mountains.
Shivaree, the joyous third movement, was written in 1948 while Lyndol and his wife were still living in Bowling Green. He uses fragments of Paw Paw Patch and Skip to My Lou to depict the happy wedding day of a young mountain couple. The multi-metered first section is representative of the cheerful reception and dance following the wedding ceremony. The slow sections picture the newlyweds on the way to their new home. The work concludes with the boisterous shivaree, the mountain custom of “serenading” a young couple on their wedding night. A late-night gathering of family and friends outside the new couple’s home would yield a cacophony of whoops, hollers, whistling, banging of pots and pans, and any other available means of loud noise-making. All this merriment and good-natured harassment was possibly influenced by the widespread consumption of a locally brewed untaxed beverage or, as my father would have called it, “Kentucky Fruit Punch”.
Early in my career as a composer-arranger my father made me aware of his friend Lyndol Mitchell’s Kentucky Mountain Portraits. In Dad’s opinion this work would be a great piece to transcribe for concert band and strongly encouraged me to take on the project. It quickly became one of many ‘get-around-to-it’ projects that would sit dusty and dormant for nearly forty years. Life happened, then retirement, then the pandemic, and I was finally out of excuses. I had never actually heard the piece, but now there was YouTube. It would have been a formidable task using pencil and paper, but now there were also great music programs for computer which let you hear a realistic recording of what you have written! I began by entering II.Ballad into the computer. Upon comparing the computer recording with Howard Hanson’s original recording by the Eastman-Rochester Symphony, I quickly realized that my dad’s vision from decades ago had been spot-on. I continued by entering the Shivaree and Cindy and followed with several weeks of orchestrating. Now, with the immeasurable advice, assistance, and musicianship of Joe Frank, Jr. and the hard work, patience, and dedication of the Plano Community Band, I’m very excited to express to them my gratitude as I join in the premier presentation of this brand new version of a wonderful sixty-five year old work. I do hope you enjoy it!
Band directors please note: This orchestral transcription for band is now being prepared for publication and will soon be available through Mattei Music Services. For details please email me.
The many qualities and changes in appearance of the sky are translated into musical moods through this expressive work. The opening lyric section flows between soloistic and full ensemble playing and leads to a sinister fast section of driving rhythms and mixed meter that crescendos to a powerful new setting of the original melody to close the work.
Texas, Our Texas is the official state song of Texas. It was written in 1924 by William J. Marsh, who was born in Liverpool, England, and emigrated to Texas as a young man, and Gladys Yoakum Wright, a native of Fort Worth, Texas. It was selected as the state song by a concurrent resolution of the Texas Legislature in 1929 following a statewide competition. Older songs, such as The Yellow Rose of Texas and Dixie, were also considered but ultimately it was decided a new song should be composed.
David Lovrien, a native from Plano, Texas, wrote this exciting arrangement of the song with a theme that sets the piece as a bold western movie soundtrack, finishing with a majestic rendition featuring brass fanfares.
Meet the Artists
The Plano Community Band is a volunteer organization made up of approximately 70 musicians from all walks of life who share a passion for music. The band performs two Spring concerts and a Fall concert each year at the beautiful Eisemann Center in Richardson, but is best known for its Summer concerts at Haggard Park, in old downtown Plano. The Summer Series begins the first Monday in June, and performances at the park continue every other Monday evening for a total of five concerts. The band has themes for each concert including kids’ night, big band and a patriotic concert.
The band is a nonprofit organization sponsored in part by the Plano Cultural Arts Commission. The band is also supported by John Paul II High School, member dues and from generous donors in the community. There is never an admission charged for any of the band’s public performances.
The Plano Community Band is a proud member of the Association of Concert Bands, an international organization dedicated to the advancement of adult community bands. The band has performed at several of their national conventions as well as hosted the conventions in 1992 and 2010, and has been invited to perform at the 2022 convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Plano Community Band’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, is a retired music educator and band director with over 35 years of experience working with student and adult musicians in Texas and Georgia. He was born in Harlingen in the Rio Grande Valley and spent most of his adult years in Richardson and Sherman, Texas. Joe is a third-generation band director. His father, Joe Frank, Sr., was a well-known Texas band director and orchestra director and charter member of the Phi Beta Mu Band Director Hall of Fame. Joe taught for 17 years in the Richardson ISD where mentors such as Joe Frank, Sr.; Richard Floyd; Tommy Guilbert; Robert Floyd and Howard Dunn helped form his concepts of teaching students and interpreting, rehearsing and performing wind band literature. In 1990, Joe became Director of Bands for the Sherman ISD and helped lead the Sherman Bands to 14 years of successful performances, competitions and statewide recognition. While living in Athens, Georgia, Joe became director of the Classic City Band and developed a love for working and making music with adults. Joe currently lives in Denison, Texas, with his wife, Becky. He is a frequent clinic/consultant and adjudicator for middle school and high school bands. His daughter, Jessica, is a stay-at-home mom and volunteer youth leader. She currently plays clarinet in the Band. His son, Jeff, is a pediatric neurologist in Oregon. Joe enjoys sailing, golf, snow skiing, and traveling with Becky.
Plano Community Band’s Associate Conductor, Business Manager, and Event Coordinator, was born in Texas City, Texas, and has made Plano his home since 1969, going through the Plano schools and the band program at Plano Senior High. During his high school days, Jim was privileged to have played with Doc Severinsen and Alan Vizzutti, and his first love always seemed to be jazz. After graduation, he was selected to play with the National Bandmasters Association Jazz Band, performing with Marvin Stamm at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Jim attended Sam Houston State University on a music scholarship, receiving his degree in Music Education in 1991. While at Sam Houston, Jim studied under Dr. Fisher Tull, Dr. Gary Sousa and Dr. Rod Cannon. Jim also headed up the recording and archiving of concert performances and was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi. After teaching a couple of years, Jim returned to Plano and began working in the communications field. He currently holds the position of Director of A/V and Computer Services for the 4,500-member Custer Road United Methodist Church. To keep music in his life, Jim joined the Plano Community Band in 1993 as the baritone saxophone player. Jim also plays with many Dallas-area jazz and big bands. He became the Band’s associate conductor in 1995.
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