The Kenyon Wind Ensemble showed off their musical versatility last Sunday in Rosse Hall with a spring concert that featured a wide variety of musical genres, conducted by Professor of Music Dane Heuchemer.
The concert opened strong with an Aaron Copland piece, “Fanfare for the Common Man,”which emphasized the horn section, and gave particular attention to the trumpets. The ensemble then moved on to “O Magnum Mysterium,” a piece by Morten Lauridsen originally intended for a chorus and adapted for instruments. The work challenged the ensemble to play smoothly and slowly; making a slow piece sound seamless and texturally beautiful can be more difficult than playing a rapid series of notes. The ensemble did an admirable job, and Andrew Savidge ’21, the trumpet soloist of the piece, played with control and grace.
The group pushed itself by playing a number of pieces not originally written for wind ensembles. “I really like that this year we played a wide variety of stuff. We played orchestral pieces adapted for bands, as well as ‘hearty’ band pieces,” Emily Criss ’21, who plays the French horn, said. There are five new first-year students playing horns, giving the ensemble a more robust sound and a stronger foundation.
Before the intermission, the band played Malcolm Arnold‘s “Four Scottish Dancers,” which, besides having typical brass melodies, used playful sounds such as whistles, tones and melodies that imitated those of a bagpipe.
As the concert progressed, the ensemble displayed their capability to cover different categories of music by performing the avant-garde and dissonant piece “Al Fresco” by Karel Husa. The work played with untraditional harmonies that used spirited staccato rhythms, transitioning into more somber lagato tones before returning to the beginning theme.
The ensemble ended its performance with “Danzon No. 2” by Arturo Márquez, a rhythmic and dynamic Spanish dance that wasrecently featured Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle. This piece was the ensemble’s strongest performance of the afternoon because of how expertly the musicians stayed in sync with the conductor despite all the complicated rhythms.
Throughout the concert the band showed just how versatile they could be, covering music that would usually require a choral or string section without ever sounding as though it were lacking.