The Chamber Music Series concert at 2 p.m. (EST) Sunday, April 17, will showcase an eclectic mix of music by various ensembles from “The President’s Own,” from harp solos to wind octet with percussion and trombone octet to clarinet, violin, cello, and piano quartet. The program was coordinated by bass trombonist Master Sgt. Karl Johnson and will feature works influenced by each composer’s beliefs or understanding of the divine.
“What I find most interesting is the way that music provides a window into the soul of how each composer thinks and feels about the divine,” Johnson notes. “J.S. Bach, for example, seems to find great beauty in order and form whereas Arvo Pärt seems to find his solace and inspiration in the cathedral like space that his music creates.”
The performance will begin with two harp solos by Johann Sebastian Bach: Bourrée’s Double from Violin Partita No. 1, transcribed by Marcel Grandjany, and Gavotte en Rondeau from Suite BWV 1006a. Following the harp solos, a wind octet with percussion will perform Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, arranged by Beat Briner. The piece, conducted by trumpeter/cornet Gunnery Sgt. Robert Singer, can best be described with the word “tintinnabuli” which is defined as relating to bells or the ringing of bells.
The concert’s first half will conclude with Giovanni Gabrieli’s Sonata XIII and Canzon VIII from Canzoni et sonate, arranged by Eric Crees. Gabrieli was an organist who was known for sacred vocal and instrumental compositions. These works were published posthumously in 1615.
The performance’s second half will feature Olivier Messiaen’s deeply profound Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time). Messiaen composed the entire piece while a prisoner of war during World War II and performed the work for the first time in Stalag 8-A with three fellow inmates. The eight-movement quartet was inspired by several verses in the tenth chapter from the Book of Revelation in the Bible and, as Messiaen himself said, the work will “draw the listener into a sense of the eternity of space and time.”
The performance is free – no tickets are required – and will take place in the John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C. Free parking is available under the overpass on 7th Street.
The concert will also stream live on the Marine Band website and www.youtube.com/usmarineband.
Complete program and notes