MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON ANNEX, D.C. --
“The President’s Own” Chamber Music Series will present a concert at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 18, featuring all percussion ensembles and two world premières composed by percussionists in the Marine Band. The concert will take place in John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C., and is free and open to the public. There is free parking under the overpass on 7th Street, across from the Annex. The concert will also stream live on the Marine Band’s website www.marineband.marines.mil and YouTube channel youtube.com/usmarineband.
The program will begin with the two premières: Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Bisesi’s “Tradition” and Master Sgt. Glenn Paulson’s Time to Go. “Tradition” is a work scored for three rope tension field drums with snares and one rope tension bass drum and it pays homage to military percussion music of the past. Military percussionists were used to spread orders on the battlefield and those same “calls” are used in many ceremonial functions today. Many percussionists have taken the “calls” and embellished them with percussive patterns. “The virtuosity that has resulted from this creative endeavor by many different percussionists over the last century was the sole source of inspiration for me to compose my own work in this genre,” Bisesi said. “It is my intent that even though at times the performers are playing music that is considerably more complex than the musical demands of past centuries, the underlying focus never shifts from the original calls and cadences that have made this genre an important part of the history and pedagogy of percussionists.”
Paulson’s Time to Go is the fifth piece in a series composed with the experimentation of using modern train sounds. “In Time To Go, each instrument has rhythmic and melodic motives including the recorded train sounds, which make use of motives to create different moods,” Paulson explains. “The train sounds become interwoven with the different percussion parts, creating new sonorities. ... The motive expands, splits apart, and then disintegrates into a single note that shifts between the xylophone and vibraphone. Although it is only a single note it ultimately has that last word.”
The concert will continue with Rüdiger Pawasser’s sculpture in wood featuring a marimba quartet performing a variety of jazz harmonies, rhythms, and melodies, followed by John Cage’s First Construction (In Metal) and Andrew Beall’s Deliverance. Cage’s unique work makes use of many “found instruments,” unlikely items that might be found on the side of the road or in a junk yard such as thunder sheets, brake drums, and metal pipes.
The concert will conclude with Tom Nazziola’s Cat and Mouse, a work for vibraphone, marimba, and udu and features the mallet instruments “chasing” each other; and Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra, featuring violin soloist Staff Sgt. Christopher Franke. The three-movement work also incorporates several “found instruments” that draw heavily on non-Western sounds, especially those of the Gamelan ensembles of Java and Bali. The result is music of such exotic beauty that it transports the listener to distant places and invokes ancient, spiritual cultures.
Complete program and notes
Directions and parking