“The President’s Own” will conclude its 2016 Fall Chamber Series this Sunday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m. with the hauntingly appropriate music from the 1931 film “Dracula,” as well as music by Stefan Wolpe, Django Reinhardt, and Johannes Brahms. The concert will take place in John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in Washington, D.C. and is free, with no tickets required. Free parking is available under the overpass across from the Annex. The concert will also stream live on the Marine Band website and at youtube.com/usmarineband.
Concert coordinator Staff Sgt. Christopher Grant, a clarinetist in the Marine Band, built a program that incorporates familiar pieces, but also features selections that might be new and will hopefully expand patrons’ musical adventures. The concert will open with a suite of music by Philip Glass from the 1931 film “Dracula.” The original film soundtrack had a scattering of music by different composers, but no original score. It wasn’t until 1999 when Universal Studios released the movie on DVD that Philip Glass was commissioned to create an original score for the iconic movie. Glass said the following about the score:
"The film is considered a classic. I felt the score needed to evoke the feeling of the world of the nineteenth century–for that reason I decided a string quartet would be the most evocative and effective. I wanted to stay away from the obvious effects associated with horror films."
Following the “Dracula” suite, Grant has programmed Wolpe’s challenging and avant-garde Quartet for tenor sax, percussion, trumpet, and piano, instrumentation more commonly associated with jazz. The work is almost like a jigsaw puzzle, requiring the performers to work together perfectly to fit all the musical pieces together just right. After Wolpe’s Quartet, the concert’s first half will conclude with Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz tune “Minor Swing,” a fun, familiar piece that many will probably recognize.
The second half of the concert will feature one of Brahms’ most widely regarded and celebrated chamber works, Quintet in B minor for Clarinet and Strings, Opus 115. Grant said the following about the work he is very excited to perform:
After hearing clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld in Meiningen, Germany, Brahms was inspired to come out of retirement and composed a handful of chamber works for his newfound friend. Many elements of this piece are a tip-of-the-hat to Mozart’s clarinet quintet from almost 100 years prior. While this work has some fairly classical stylings, it is still harmonically flexible, ambiguous even, and is a quintessential example of Brahms’ ability to combine musical intellect with emotion.