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"The President's Own"


"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Doublespeak and Destiny

By Master Sgt. Amanda Simmons | United States Marine Band | February 21, 2019


Marine Band chamber music concerts have become known for their diverse programming and unique instrumentation and this Sunday’s concert is no exception. At 2 p.m., Feb, 24, ensembles from “The President’s Own: will present a program includes music by Gabriel Fauré, Astor Piazzolla, and Giuseppe Verdi. The program was coordinated trumpet/cornet player Staff Sgt. Robert Bonner, one of the newest members of the section, and will take place in John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C.

“I wanted to put together a program that was diverse in all aspects of music: instrumentation, form, melody, harmony, and color,” explained Bonner. “I think that the audience will not only appreciate the variety both sonically, but also visually.”

Giuseppe Verdi’s Overture to La forza del destino is one such piece. La Forza del destino, or The Force of Destiny, was Verdi’s 22nd opera and was written in 1862 and this arrangement is by Baltimore Symphony trumpeter Matt Bucker. The opening three-note fortissimo motif represents fate, appearing in the opera each time destiny strikes the characters. The overall structure of the overture does not follow the synopsis of the opera, instead giving the audience a glimpse into the despair, excitement, and drama to come in the epic four-act odyssey.

“This piece is for a full-sized orchestra, but has been condensed down, not watered down, to just eight voices, all trumpets” noted Bonner. “The variety in colors, dynamics, and musical material showcase how versatile the instrument is.”

One of the more contemporary pieces on the program is Nico Muhly’s Doublespeak, which was commissioned by Grammy-Award winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird in honor of composer Philip Glass’ 75th birthday. Glass’ minimalism influence can be heard throughout the constantly pulsing rhythms and repetitive phrases of this piece. Musicians on flute, clarinet violin, cello, percussion, and piano demonstrate the work’s harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary.

In 1924, Sergei Prokofiev was living in Paris and immersing himself in ballet music, after recovering from a year and a half of musical failure in the United States. The program includes his Quintet in G minor, Opus 39, which was originally commissioned for a ballet by the young dancer and choreographer, Boris Romanov. Though the instrumentation is unusual (limited to oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, and double bass) it followed the trend of the time in Paris.

Patrons will also be treated to Gabriel Fauré’s Romance, Opus 28, which he composed for his then-fiancé Marianne Viardot, daughter of the famed mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot; Henri Tomas’s “Être ou ne pas Être!” Monologue d’Hamlet; and Astor Piazzolla’s Suite from María de Buenos Aires, written in the nuevo tango style.

The concert is free and no tickets are required. The concert will also be lived streamed at: www.marineband.marines.mil and www.youtube.com/usmarineband.

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