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"The President's Own"


"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Marine Chamber Orchestra Kicks Off Summer Series with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto

By Gunnery Sgt. Brian Rust | United States Marine Band | June 18, 2018


The Marine Chamber Orchestra will perform the first of its three Summer Series concerts at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 23, at Northern Virginia Community College’s Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall in Alexandria, Va., featuring works by Igor Stravinsky and Gustav Holst, as well as Johann Sebastian Bach’s popular Brandenburg Concerto. The concert is free and open to the public and no tickets are required. Free parking is available in the adjacent garage and there will not be any pre-concert ensemble performance prior to the concert.

Less than three weeks after being commissioned a captain and conducting “The President’s Own” on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol, this concert will mark newly-appointed Assistant Director Capt. Bryan P. Sherlock’s conducting debut with the Marine Chamber Orchestra. When choosing program selections, he started with Stravinsky’s Concerto in D for String Orchestra and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F, BWV 1047. Sherlock had the opportunity to study the Stravinsky score when auditioning for Assistant Director but never had the opportunity to perform it.

“I really grew to love it,” he said. “And the Bach is just a magnificent piece. I noticed both works are in the Baroque concerto form, though the Stravinsky is of a completely different era and language, so I began looking for other pieces that utilize the Baroque concerto form, but have unique approaches to it. My hope is the audience will recognize the similarities in construction while enjoying the widely varied dialects from the disparate times.”


The program will begin with two lesser-known selections by contemporary composers: Karl Jenkins’ Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra, Palladio and Henryk Gόrecki’s Three Pieces in Old Style. Jenkins’ Palladio follows the classic concerto grosso pattern and was inspired by Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, while Gorecki’s work pays homage to his love for traditional secular and sacred Polish melodies and traditions.


The concert’s first half will close with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. The composer’s six Brandenburg concerti are arguably some of his most well-known and oft-programmed works. In his second Brandenburg Concerto, Bach wrote for the unconventional solo group of a quartet comprised of flute, oboe, violin, and clarion (the baroque version of a high trumpet). This piece showcases Bach’s ability to write difficult, yet beautiful, music for even the most unusual combination of instruments. The soloists on this concert include flutist Gunnery Sgt. Ellen Dooley, oboist Staff Sgt. Trevor Mowry, trumpeter Staff Sgt. Anthony Bellino, and violinist Staff Sgt. Sheng-Tsung Wang.


For the concert’s second half, the orchestra will perform Stravinsky’s Concerto in D which was composed in 1946 and illustrates the composer’s interest in simple forms. The first movement begins on just one note, but then develops into a beautiful, lilting dance, while the second movement is a simple song with a bit of tango added. The final movement is more majestic and energetic, displaying Stravinsky’s full mastery of writing for string orchestra.


The program will conclude with Holst’s St. Paul Suite, Opus 29, No. 2. Well before his success with The Planets, Holst was musical director at St. Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith. It was there, between teaching classes, that he composed the short and straightforward four movement suite for string orchestra. While Holst refined his technique by the time he composed The Planets, his St. Paul Suite gives a very good look at the several influences most important to him.



Complete program and notes


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