On Sunday, Feb. 5, the Marine Band will return to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland in College Park to perform a concert titled “Wanderers.”Conducted by Assistant Director Major Michelle A. Rakers, this free concert will feature music that was created out of personal journeys, either through one’s own creative development or in the literal sense of taking voyages near and far.
The program will begin with The Grand Promenade at the White House (Coronation March) from Tales of a Traveler, by John Philip Sousa. Sousa himself lived a life of travel, touring with his band around the country and the world. As the “traveler” referred to in the suite, Sousa conceived the music while on the Sousa Band’s World Tour of 1911. Almost 100 years later, American composer Scott Lindroth wrote Passage in 2010, a work which illustrates a journey through his own musical experiences. According to Lindroth, “the piece has retrospective character for me.” The four-note theme heard early in the composition comes from a piece he wrote earlier in his career, and in the middle section he utilizes a texture that he “discovered” 20 years prior to composing Passage. “It’s like encountering an old friend who has changed with age, hopefully for the better.”
The program will feature trombone soloist Gunnery Sgt. Samuel Barlow performing Henri Tomasi’s Trombone Concerto and mezzo-soprano Gunnery Sgt. Sara Sheffield singing Charles Ives’s Memories, Very Pleasant and Rather Sad: A Charles Ives Song Set. French composer Adolphe Valentin Sellenick’s Marche Indienne will continue the traveling theme—the exotic work suggests the composer may have written the march after taking a trip to India. As with many art forms, some composers largely of the 19th Century and very early 20th Century developed a fascination with the “Orient” and the title “Marche Indienne” along with the melodies offered in this march suggest that very influence.
Finally, the “Wanderers” program will conclude with Italian composer Ottorino Respighi’s The Pines of Rome, a tone poem depicting his memories of the Roman landscape. Composed as a companion piece to his earlier work The Fountains of Rome, this large-scale work received its American première in 1924 in New York. Lawrence Gilman, the annotator for the concert, wrote in his program notes that the composer “uses nature as a point of departure, in order to recall memories and visions. The century-old trees which so characteristically dominate the Roman landscape become witnesses to the principal events in Roman life.”
Hailed throughout the years as one of the greatest composers of tone poems and an incredibly skilled master of orchestral colors, Respighi had a specific sound in mind for the third movement, titled The Pines of the Janiculum. Perhaps drawing upon a memory from his own experiences on or near the hill of Janiculum, Respighi included the recorded sounds of a singing nightingale toward the end of the movement.
“I think the sheer variety of styles that are featured on this particular program will take our patrons on an interesting journey,” Rakers said. “And The Pines of Rome is a great way to close the concert. It’s always been a favorite of mine because it captures such a tremendous variety of atmospheric moods and then culminates with such a grand finish. It’s glorious.”
The performance will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 5 at the Dekelboum Concert Hall at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland located at Stadium Drive and Route 192 in College Park, Maryland. The concert is free; no tickets are required and free parking is available.