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Ready, aim, fire! Cannon sounds to highlight ‘1812’ performance

Pete Nowlen will conduct the UC Davis Concert Band when it presents Wednesday's Spring Concert in Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Courtesy photo

Music director Pete Nowlen works with the UC Davis Concert Band before a performance at UC Davis in Davis, Ca. on May 26, 2010. (Photo by Nader Khouri)

By
From page A9 | May 22, 2012 |

That’s the ticket

Who: UC Davis Concert Band and Campus Band

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets: $12 general, $8 students; www.mondaviarts.org, (530) 754-2787

Kaboom! Kaboom! Kaboom!

The UC Davis Concert Band will put a vast ensemble onstage — some 120 instruments in all — and utilize some electronic wizardry as it presents Tchaikovsky’s stirring “1812 Overture” at Wednesday’s Spring Concert.

The performance begins at 7 p.m. in Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

In addition to the huge complement of wind instruments, “the firing cannons and the pealing cathedral bells (which Tchaikovsky calls for in the score) will be produced digitally, using the sound technology available in Jackson Hall,” said Peter Nowlen, Concert Band conductor.

“We’ve worked with our music department sound technician, Steve Bingen, to select and develop these effects. They will be spectacular.”

In addition, Nowlen will station some of his musicians in the upper box seats to give the performance three-dimensional sound.

“I’m quite confident no one will leave disappointed,” he said.

The Tchaikovsky won’t be the only “battlefield music” on the program. The Concert Band also will play John Mackey’s “Xerxes,” which Nowlen describes as “an angry concert march.” Xerxes was a Persian king who defeated the Greeks on the battlefield and sacked Athens.

“The march is what one would expect for a piece about him: very angry and military with fantastic percussion effects, including multiple gongs, cymbals, etc.,”Nowlen said. “It will be conducted by student conductor Jon Pwu.”

There will be a musical depiction of a natural disaster as well.

“We will play the premiere of ‘Sorrow in Sendai’ by our own Delbert Bump, the UC Davis Band director,” Nowlen said. “This brand-new piece is a musical memorial to those who were killed, injured or otherwise affected by the April 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan.

“It is a lovely tribute — generally reflective but with moments depicting the tumult of the quake and its aftermath.”

Also on the program is British composer Gustav Holst’s melodious, crisply scored “Second Suite in F,” dating from 1911, and a favorite with bands over the past century. And on a gentler note, the Concert Band will play Timothy Mahr’s “Fantasia in G,” which Nowlen said “has truly become a classic of the wind orchestra repertoire since its premiere in the 1970s. It is built obliquely on Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ theme, and it is a consummate expression of joy in music.”

Sharing the bill will be the UC Davis Campus Band, led by Tom Slabaugh and Olin Hannum, performing the Ron Nelson’s  “Courtly Aires and Dances” and Robert Russell Bennett’s “Suite of Old American Dances.”

The Bennett has movements based on American dances like the cakewalk, schottische, western one-step and wallflower waltz, while the Nelson has movements based on Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque dances like the saltarello, allemande and pavane.

Tickets are priced at a “bring the family” level: $12 for adults and $8 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or (530) 754-2787. Seating is unreserved.

 

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