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Arts at St. Bede's


Menlo Brass Quintet

7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 1, 2005

Menlo Brass Quintet

front row, left to right
Samuel King - French horn, Dan Hallock – trumpets
back row, left to right
Barbara Sigler – trombone, Ron McWilliams – trumpets, Bob Lipton – tuba


About St. Bede’s Church…

St. Bede’s church is home to a joyous, thoughtful, and diverse congregation that seeks communion with God through prayer, worship, service, and study.  We sponsor a yearly series of concerts and other performances because we also experience the divine in the beauty and creativity of the arts.  We are happy that you have chosen to join us this evening and hope that this event leaves you both entertained and spiritually refreshed.  If you are considering visiting us again, please know that everyone is welcome at all of our services, concerts, lectures, workshops, classes, and other events.  St. Bede’s is an Episcopal church, rooted in the Anglican faith tradition, a tradition that blends beautiful, ancient liturgies with open-minded spiritual inquiry.  We seek God through Jesus Christ, and strive to follow his teachings.  We also honor those who follow different religions and have come to know God by other names.  Although we love meeting newcomers, we won’t chase you down if you’d like to visit one of our services anonymously and leave quickly after it ends.  Above all, we’d like you to feel free to do whatever makes you most comfortable.  May this evening’s performance be a blessing to you!  We hope to see you again soon!


Handel Mini-Suite  
     I. The Rejoicing
         from Music for the Royal Fireworks
G. F. Handel
arranged by Chuck Seipp
     II. Allegro Vivace
         from The Water Music
arranged by Fred Mills
     III. Boureé
         from Il pastor fido
arranged by Bernard Fitzgerald
Amazing Grace Traditional
arranged by Luther Henderson
Symphony for Brass, Quintet No. 1, Opus 5
     I. Moderato
     II. Adagio
     III. Allegro
Victor Ewald
A Simpler Life
     I. Mist RIsing Mountain
     II. Spring Hymn
     III. Carnival of Waking Dreams
Christopher Dedrick
Chicken Bob Lipton
Summertime from Porgy and Bess George Gershwin
arranged by Jack Gale

A reception follows in the Great Hall

Program Notes

Handel Mini-Suite
The Menlo Brass enjoys these gems from George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), combined here to form a Mini-Suite. The first two were written for George I, King of England. Handel was expressly asked by the king to use as many "martial" instruments as possible to celebrate the Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle in 1749, resulting in Music from the Royal Fireworks. The Water Music was written in 1717 for George I's royal procession on the Thames. It was intended to be light, buoyant, and refreshing, and to be played loudly enough to drown out the scatological welcome given to the new king by London's boatmen as they exercised their traditional right of uncensored expression. The Bourrée from “Il pastor fido,” a Handel opera, was written in 1712. Handel and brass make a splendid collaboration, as even a king could tell.

Amazing Grace
Brass players not only have shared in a long classical music tradition, we are also an integral part of a rich Dixieland heritage. Dixieland represents a truly North American art form that, from its beginning, welcomed brass. It is a style of improvisation that has grown up in America, superimposing Black/African music traditions on imported European marches and church music. The essence of Dixieland, as well as the beauty and emotion of Amazing Grace have been captured in this arrangement by Luther Henderson. Amazing Grace features Dan Hallock on cornet.

Symphony for Brass, Quintet No. 1, Opus 5
Russian-born Victor Ewald (1860-1935) was not a musician by trade, but an engineer and teacher who had music as his avocation. In the Russia of the 19th Century, many musicians, including the greatest, were "amateurs," having another profession in addition to their art. A cellist and hornist, Ewald wrote several brass quintets for the conical brasses common in his day. Ewald played the cello with the Belayev String Quartet, named after a famous editor in St. Petersburg. Belayev published this Symphony for Brass in 1912.

Ewald's Quintet recalls the style of Tchaïkovsky in its melancholic key, the dark tonality of Bb minor, and the 5/4 meter of the second movement. The first movement is in sonata form. The second movement in Gb major and 5/4, is composed of two adagios around a scherzo. The third movement  is a fantasy built on motives taken from the preceding movements, organized around an arc-like structure ABCBCBA and coda. The piece finishes with a fanfare in the bright tonality of Bb major.

A Simpler Life - Commissioned by the Menlo Brass Quintet
Christopher Dedrick (b 1947) is an American-Canadian composer, arranger, conductor, singer, and music producer. He has won three Gemini awards from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for best original music scores. While in his teens, Chris was signed to his first recording contract. He began conducting, arranging for, and recording with many well-known artists. In the early '70's, Chris served in the U.S. Air Force as chief arranger for the Airmen of Note. Chris is known for his chamber works, jazz pieces, and small symphonic works, a complement to his success as a songwriter, popular arranger, film, and TV writer.

The Menlo Brass immensely enjoys performing Chris Dedrick's arrangements of pieces originally done for the Canadian Brass. His arrangements provide great beauty through lush harmonies and spare, lucid writing. As a trumpet player, Chris has an excellent understanding for the capabilities and limitations of brass instruments, enabling him to score rich harmonies from only five brass.

A Simpler Life was commissioned by and for the Menlo Brass Quintet, and was completed in May, 2001. Chris created a wonderfully rich texture of beautiful melodies and harmonies that are both delicate and transparent, with sweeping lines and exciting emotion. He exposes the warmth of each player with a relatively simple harmonic backdrop. Recognizing the innate beauty of simplicity over complexity, Chris reached for the beauty and natural flexibility of each instrument and the challenges of an intimate and precise ensemble.

The composition consists of three movements, providing vivid visual images. Mist Rising Mountain starts with solo horn with slight pauses, as if to listen for an echo from the mountain. The first trumpet follows in that style, which has something of an Irish ballad at its roots. The overall attitude is wonder and joy. Spring Hymn has a chorale nature, as though there is another brass choir or string group behind the brass quintet, when the timbre and intonation of the chords are lined up so that the overtones and resultant tones "kick in." The feeling is inner strength; deep conviction that ironically has within it a kind of prayer for support. Carnival of Waking Dreams has precise rhythmic, metronomic drive, but with the addition of a dance feel.

The Menlo Brass gave the world premiere of A Simpler Life on April 28, 2002.

Chicken is a piece Bob Lipton (b 1954) wrote years ago for a rock band. He has arranged it for many different groups and instrumentations. The title came from the phrase, "chicken with its head cut off." The Menlo Brass is pleased to feature one of Bob's many fine compositions on this program.

Summertime from Porgy and Bess
George Gershwin (1898-1937) came to music with a burning ambition. He learned the art of songwriting and by 1919 had his first hit. Gershwin was among the first to oscillate between the concert hall and the Broadway stage. This artistic schizophrenia caused the lines to be blurred, at least for the critics, between the serious and the popular, and Gershwin was never accorded the respect his talents deserved.

When Gershwin read "Porgy" by DuBose Heyward, he was taken with the storyline, and obtained Heyward's permission to put it to music. He relocated to South Carolina for 20 months, studying African-American music and language patterns for the score. The show premiered in Boston in 1935, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Whether Porgy and Bess is an opera or a musical depends upon one's definition of each, but regardless, it is unquestionably America's most enduring musical drama, as Summertime is its timeless ballad of the South.



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