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"The President's Own"


"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Chamber Series Features Beethoven, Schumann, and Stravinsky

By Gunnery Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali | United States Marine Band | March 29, 2017


“The President’s Own” 2017 Chamber Music Series continues at 2 p.m. this Sunday, April 2, with a concert featuring a Marine with eyeglasses, a cat and mouse, and music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, and Igor Stravinsky. The concert is free, no tickets are required, and will take place at the John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C., and will stream live at www.marineband.marines.mil and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJnvNvp0dmE.


According to concert coordinator clarinetist Master Gunnery Sgt. Elizabeth Matera, “When I go to a concert I like a lot of variety, so I wanted to program a variety of ensembles. I also liked the idea of beginning with a brass fanfare.” Matera added that many of the pieces on the program have titles and subtitles which appealed to her. “Especially ‘Cat and Mouse,’” she said. “That title jumped out at me.”


Brass players will kick off the concert with surround sound in Sousa Hall as they perform Giovanni Gabrieli’s Sonata XIX à 15 from Canzoni et Sonate. Following the brass fanfare, violist Gunnery Sgt. Tam Tran and cellist Mastery Gunnery Sgt. Marcio Botelho will perform Beethoven’s Allegro from Duet with Two Obbligato Eyeglasses, WoO32, a playful composition the composer wrote to perform with his good friend Count Nikolaus Zmeskall. The composer and his friend both wore eyeglasses and likely joked with one another about their poor vision. “There are some notable passages for both the viola and the cello that go up way high, beyond the normal range of the instrument,” Botelho said. “So it’s a double self-deprecating joke: one, relating to the performers’ poor eyesight, the other to the technical challenge the piece might have presented to both performers.”


He added: “I am at that wonderful stage in life where, having enjoyed better than 20/20 vision for the first four decades of my life, I now require glasses for reading. So I will be using my music-reading glasses to play this piece.”


Botelho noted that the audience should enjoy everything about this piece. “It is very light-hearted, melodious or tuneful, and relatively short. In other words: perfect!”


The first half of the concert will continue with Robert Schumann’s Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales), Opus 132, a piece Matera will perform and re-visit from her college days. The second half of the program begins with Tom Nazziola’s Cat and Mouse, a composition that is barely a year old and features the marimba, vibraphone, and udu, a percussion instrument of Nigerian origin. According to the composer, “the title came after the piece was composed. Upon realizing that one of the mallet instruments is often 'chasing' the other in a cannon-like manner, I decided to go with the animated title of Cat and Mouse.”


“It really does sound like a cat and mouse chasing each other!” Matera exclaimed.


The program will continue with Alan Hovhaness’s Koke No Niwa (Moss Garden), Opus 181, a musical tribute for the Buddhist temples in Kyoto, Japan. The work was commissioned by a Tokyo television station and Hovhaness wrote the piece during a time when he traveled the world and developed an affinity for Japanese instruments. The composer utilizes the combination of English horn, harp and percussion to create sounds that will transport the listeners to the Orient.


Closing the concert, an ensemble of unconventional instrumentation will perform Igor Stravinksy’s Octet. In the witty and clever composition with instances of a march feel and plenty of mixed meter, the composer used non-traditional pairings throughout based on the self-imposed limited palette he utilized for the Octet.


“One of the things I love about this piece is the totally unique sound of the complete ensemble,” bassoonist Staff Sgt. David Young said. “Stravinsky wrote this piece for flute, clarinet, two bassoons, two trumpets, trombone, and bass trombone—who would put that together? Stravinsky did. And the odd collection creates a striking overall ensemble sound that works remarkably, and this return to classical form will be a nice way to close this concert.”


Complete program and program notes

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