Since ancient times, artists, poets, literary figures, and composers have followed beauty’s elusive flame, in life experiences searching to create that perfect form of expression.
The Lowcountry Wind Symphony’s Music Director, Donald F. Jemella has chosen these subjects, Beauty and Life, as the title of two upcoming winter concerts. The first, South of the Broad River on Saturday, February 3rd, at 7 pm, will be given at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Bluffton, and then repeated at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Sunday, February 11th at 4 pm, North of the Broad River, on Lady’s Island, Beaufort.
LWS is a concert band, made up of local musicians who are dedicated to playing wind, brass and percussion instruments. The program, ‘Beauty and Life,’ spans compositions from the Romantic period of the 19th century to the modern era.
The program opens with three movements from Stephen Melillo’s work ‘The Fountainhead,’ based on the Ayn Rand novel by the same name, published in 1943. It follows the life of Rand’s hero, Howard Roark, as he strives to construct towers of architectural beauty against great odds from those who are unprepared to accept his creative ideas. ‘Integrity’s First Stand’ opens with the strong five-note theme stated by the low brass, and heard throughout. ‘Where Beauty Has No Chance’ is dark and brooding. Following that, ‘Monument to the Spirit of Man’ is actually Melillo’s concluding movement from The Fountainhead Suite. It projects a triumphant rise from a bed of ashes.
An impassioned and highly creative composer, Melillo writes from his mind, heart and soul. His subject matter is most often taken from real life events. This powerful yearning in his compositions can be felt by the musicians as they interpret the sound, and pass it on to their audiences. This act of being together in the concert hall is just not reproducible on a recording. It’s why we want to hear music live. For, without you, the audience, being present, it’s just a rehearsal.
Franz von Suppe (b.in 1819 in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, now part of Croatia) wrote more than 30 operettas, along with farces, ballets, and stage works, most of which have faded with the mists of time. He is chiefly known today for two orchestral overtures, ‘Light Cavalry’ which LWS performed last year, and ‘Poet and Peasant,’ showcased on this program. Both compositions are highly recognizable and frequently turn up at symphonic ‘pops’ concerts, and on soundtracks for films, cartoons and advertisements.
In ‘Arland. D. Williams – Anthem for the Souls You’ve Never Heard,’ composer Stephen Melillo has created a tribute piece dedicated to a true but little known American hero. Arland D. Williams, Jr. was a passenger aboard Air Florida Flight 90, which crashed into the icy waters of the Potomac River in Washington D.C on January 13, 1982. Regular land rescue operations were hampered by a blizzard. But while a helicopter hovered overhead, Williams guided the life ring into the hands of five survivors, one by one. Standing on the wing of the sinking jetliner, he offered safety to others before himself. When the helicopter returned a sixth time, he had slipped beneath the water and was lost.
‘The Gift of Love’ is taken from a two-part composition by Stephen Melillo, which honors the life of composer, Erich Korngold. Born to Jewish parents in a musical family in what is now the Czech Republic, young Erich was a child prodigy, playing piano four-hand arrangements with his father when still a toddler and writing a wildly popular ballet at age eleven. He was able to reproduce any melody he heard, and add elaborate chords. As a young man he rose to the top of musical fame and respect in Europe, writing piano sonatas, operettas, conducting the state orchestra, and holding an esteemed academic position at the Viennese Academy in Austria. In 1934 he came to California to work in the emerging film industry at the urging of his friend, Max Reinhardt. His resulting musical adaptations and compositions were considered ground breaking.
Briefly he returned to his conducting and teaching positons in Vienna but was summoned back to Hollywood in 1938 to work on music for the film, The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn. For that movie, he received his second Academy Award for Best Film Score. It is still considered the finest film in its genre today. The winds of war were blowing in Europe by then, as Hitler annexed Austria and all Jews, especially those in the arts, were greatly at risk. Korngold later declared that composing Robin Hood had saved his life! He continued to compose movie scores, being particularly noted for his romantic symphonic style – a precursor to those modern film epics such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones which are remembered as much for their sweeping melodic lines as for their heroic action. In ‘The ‘Gift of Love’ Melillo pays homage to the genius of Korngold, who is considered one of the founders of film music, during Hollywood’s Golden Age.
‘The Olympic Spirit’, was written by John Towner Williams, in 1984, as theme music for the Summer Olympic Games hosted by the city of Atlanta, Georgia. This piece will be led by LWS’ Assistant Conductor, Deborah Hamner.
At 85, John Williams is one of America’s most multi-talented and celebrated musical geniuses. He is a five-time Oscar winner and a Kennedy Center Honoree, with a career as a composer, pianist and conductor that spans over six decades. He is best known for his collaboration with film director Steven Spielberg, producing some of the most prolific, popular, and easily recognizable film scores in movie history. His iconic sound never fails to stir our hearts with beauty and passion.
Also included on the program ‘Beauty and Life’ are marches by John Philip Sousa and Henry Fillmore.
The Lowcountry Wind Symphony is open to brass, wind, and percussion players who are serious about making music and willing to rehearse regularly. For more information about participating in this group, please contact Bobbi Logan, 843-705-3289 or Chris Raskind at 843-838-6744.ÃÂ ÃÂ
The Lowcountry Wind Symphony looks forward to seeing you at our winter concert ‘Beauty and Life’ at one of our two locations. They are both free and open to the public. However, donations are gratefully accepted. We invite you to bring your friends and join LWS’ group of talented musicians as together we are ‘Exploring What’s Musically Possible’! For more information about LWS please visit our website at www.lowcountrywindsymphony.com