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ANNUAL SYMPHONIC CONCERT – PROGRAMME NOTES

Programme notes prepared by Dr Maria Frendo

Selection | PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN | Klaus Badelt (Arr: John Wasson)

This is film music typical of the blockbuster. This arrangement for wind band highlights the main themes that are associated with the more important aspects of the film, namely, love, battle scenes, acts of heroism. The score is punctuated by a few irregular rhythmic patterns, such as 5/4, 7/4, and some very effective cross rhythmic structures. The percussion plays an extremely important part in this piece, which makes it a very effective and colourful starter for any wind band concert.

Overture | RIENZI | Richard Wagner

This is another forceful Overture so characteristic of the introductory music to the Wagner operas. It starts ‘Lento’ and features the solo trumpet playing solitary notes to be answered by the instruments in the lower register. In this first part, the composer introduces the main theme, which is lyrical yet austere, and whose rhythm is later on developed in the subsequent ‘Allegro’. In this latter section, we come by other themes that, typically Wagnerian, seem to never resolve. These open-ended melodies lead and dissolve into one another. Strong features of this Overture are the fanfares on the trumpets, which, towards the end of the Overture, are combined with the main theme.

Air & Variations | GRAND FATHER’S CLOCK | George Doughty
(Euphonium Solo: George Camilleri)

This early nineteenth-century American melody, which was very popular in its time, offers the basis for this showpiece on the Euphonium. As customary in such a genre, the band plays the melody in its simplest melodic and rhythmic form, after which we find a sequence of ‘bravura’ and virtuosic variations on the Euphonium that fully exploits the dynamic and tonal potential of the instrument. To give the soloist some breathing space, the Variations are broken up by short interjections on the band.

Selection | MACBETH | Giuseppe Verdi (Arr: Joseph Vella)

This wonderful opera composed by Verdi in his middle period, faithfully adheres to the Shakespearean text of that name. An opera replete with memorable melodies in the form of solo arias, ensembles, and choral numbers, gives any musician full scope for a colourful and interesting arrangement of the musical material therein. In this arrangement, Joseph Vella provides a platform for both soloists and ‘tutti’ band to display their prowess to the full. Notable solos are given to the Trumpet, Althorn, and Euphonium, respectively representing the Soprano, Tenor, and Baritone.

1t Movement | NEW WORLD SYMPHONY | Antonín Dvořák

This Symphony, sometimes referred to as No 5 and sometimes as No 9, is perhaps Dvořák’s best known and best loved work. It is called the ‘New World’ because it was composed while the composer was in America. Although it features many folk-like melodies, contrary to what some early critics held, the Symphony does not actually make use of any indigenous folk material, despite the fact that they seem to be inspired by it. Only the first of the Symphony’s four movements is being performed this evening. It opens with a slow, dreamy melody on the lighter woodwind but there is soon cryptic reference to the main robust theme of the ‘Allegro’ in E Minor. A lyrical tune in G Major develops in the middle section of this first movement, after which there is an interplay between the main thematic material that is finally to a rousing finale.

Marcia Funebre | IN MEMORIAM – MGR SALV BORG | Joseph Vella

On one of Mro Joseph Vella’s visits to Mgr Salv Borg in hospital in the last few days of the ex-Archpriest’s life, talk about the ‘La Stella’ Band (of which the Mgr was spiritual director and of whom he was so proud) inevitably found its way into the conversation. Half-jokingly, half-seriously, Mgr Borg asked Mro Vella to compose a funeral march in his memory in the eventuality of his demise. In the circumstances, Mro Vella dismissed the suggestion as premature, unwarranted, and unlikely. However, when Mgr Borg so suddenly and unexpectedly passed away two days later, the composer felt an obligation to fulfill Mgr Borg’s wish. This funeral march was composed on the evening of the 27th September, the day of his passing on to eternal life. The score was actually hastily copied and eagerly rehearsed to be played on the 30th, the day of his memorable funeral. This was a fitting tribute to a priest and a gentleman who had ‘La Stella’ band so much to his heart.

The Annual Symphonic Concert is held at the Teatru Astra and starts at 19.30hrs. Free Entrance.

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