UMS Concert Program, April 13, 1986: Philip Jones Brass Ensemble --
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAr
Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Philip Jones, Trumpet Christopher Mowat, Trombone
Rod Franke, Trumpet David Purser, Trombone
Nigel Gomm, Trumpet Raymond Premru, Bass Trombone
Joseph Atkins, Trumpet Frank Lloyd, Horn
Roger Harvey, Trombone John Fletcher, Tuba
Sunday Afternoon, April 13, 1986, at 4:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Suite for Brass.................................................J. S. Bach
Prelude Sarabande (1685-1750)
Triolet for Brass........................................... Andre Previn
Opening Interlude I (b. 1929)
Very Still Interlude II
Fanfare From a Distance
In Nomine............................................ Orlando Gibbons
Among the Lilies.......................................Michael Berkeley
Suite Francaise.......................................... Claude Debussy
General Lavine -Eccentric (1862-1918)
The Girl With the Flaxen Hair
A Londoner in New York...................................... Jim Parker
Grand Central Central Park Q. 1934)
Echoes of Harlem Radio City
The Chrysler Building
ArgoLondon, Decca, EMI, RCA, and Deutsche Crammophon Records. Seventy-fifth Concert of the 107th Season Special Concert
Program Notes by Philip Jones
Bach: Suite for Brass. When looking for music to transcribe for a modern brass ensemble to complement its mainly twentieth century original repertoire, one often turns to composers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Baroque music, for all its ornamentation, itself so essential to this music, is also a challenge to the valvcd agility of brass instruments. In Bach's works one finds these qualities of form and fluidity in profusion. Suite for Brass consists of movements from his French and English Suites for harpsichord, which have been chosen for transcription by Christopher Mowat for the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.
Previn: Triolet for Brass. In poetry a Triolet is a stanza of eight lines in which the first line matches the fourth and seventh, and the second corresponds to the eighth. Therefore, the thematic material of the movements involved is the same, although the character and scansion of the notes are greatly altered. The piece was composed at the request of Philip Jones and completed in December 1984. At that time Andre Previn wrote: "The statement of the theme in the last movement is the favorite of my one-year-old son, especially when the words 'I love a baby who can bounce, bounce, bounce' are sung to the tune. This may not be the zenith of musicology, but I am pleased to dedicate the piece to him."
Gibbons: In Nomine. Gibbons, organist at both the Chapel Royal and Westminster Abbey, wrote In Nomine for viols. This form of composition was very popular in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Based on a piece of plainsong, it enabled beginners on the viol to play the cantus firmus while their more agile consort companions provided the technically demanding parts. In our version, two contrasting groups weave their intricate lines about a centrally placed trumpet playing the plainsong. The work ends with a truly majestic and sonorous climax.
Berkeley: Among the Lilies. This work, composed for the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble in 1978, takes its title from a short chorale Ego Deleclo Meo, which comes from a group of motets by Michael Berkeley. It is subtitled Cantique Sacre, the word 'sacred' in this case referring to the eternal circle of life, constantly growing from nothing to return to nothing, yet everything. The work begins with the four trumpets creating a circle of sound. After a climax, a short chorale is heard on the four trombones before both sets of instruments come together for an extended version of Ego Delecto Meo and a conclusion that brings us to both the end and the beginning.
Debussy: Suite Francaise. Many of the most successful transcriptions for the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble have been made from keyboard music of periods as varied as sixteenth century virginal music by Farnaby and Byrd to the nineteenth century masterpiece Pictures at an Exhibition of Mussorgsky. One of the most recent of these transcriptions is by Christopher Mowat of piano music by Claude Debussy. The first three pieces of Suite Francaise are taken from his piano preludes, composed between 1910 and 1913, while Masques is a piano solo dating from 1904.
Parker: A Londoner in New York. Well known in London as a composer of music for the theatre, TV, and films, Jim Parker is also an oboist and member of the "Barrow Poets." New York has always fascinated him as a particularly stimulating city and was the motivation for this composi?tion for the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble's 1984 tour of the United States. The movements of" this suite portray in musical terms Parker's view of aspects of New York -the bustle of Grand Central Station, the syncopated "Echoes of Harlem," the soaring architecture of the Chrysler Building, the pastoral oasis of Central Park, and the breezy bonhomie of Radio City.
About the Artists
Founded in 1951, the London-based Philip Jones Brass Ensemble pioneered the present-day performance of brass chamber music. The idea of a brass ensemble came to Philip Jones while counting his many tacet bars (bars in the score in which the instrument in question does not play) as a very young trumpet player in the Royal Opera House Orchestra. Brass ensembles then were nonexistent, nor was there any repertoire. Three decades later, the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble is performing throughout the world with a large and varied repertoire and has more than 40 recordings to its credit. They perform at major international festivals and for grand occasions (such as the Pope's historic visit to England in May 1982), appear regularly on television, both at home and abroad, and give masterclasses on brass ensemble playing. A large portion of the Ensemble's repertoire has been written or arranged specially for them and is now published in the "Just Brass " music series at Chester Music London, edited by Elgar Howarth and Philip Jones; these publications are being increased and diversified continually.
The ten members of the Ensemble, making their Ann Arbor debut this afternoon, are England's leading brass players, holding principal chairs and appearing as soloists throughout Great Britain; several hold professorships and conduct their own orchestras.
Philip Jones is the third generation of a family of brass players. He studied at the Royal College of Music and began his career in the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, subsequently playing principal trumpet with all the major orchestras in London. He has headed the School of Wind and Percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and is currently head of wind and percussion at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In 1977 Mr. Jones was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to music.
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