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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Bach, Mozart, and Haydn’s Drum Roll

By Master Sgt Kristin duBois | United States Marine Band | April 9, 2019


The Marine Chamber Orchestra returns to the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall in Alexandria, Va., this Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m., for a gorgeous program of music that will delight the ear and excite the senses. Conducted by Assistant Director Capt. Ryan J. Nowlin, the concert will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s masterful Suite No. 4 in D, BWV 1069; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat, K. 417 with soloist Gunnery Sgt. Jennifer Paul; and Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 103, Drum Roll.

The 1:15 p.m., pre-concert performance, however, will feature a different style of music: the first performance of a conical brass quartet from the Marine Band. According to founding member Staff Sgt. Chris Larios, “A brass quartet in this style uses two cornets, tenor horn, and euphonium. Whereas the instruments in a brass quintet have distinct individual colors and abilities, this instrumentation is more like a string quartet, with all four instruments having similar abilities and blending together much more homogeneously. It will feature dazzling technique, beautiful melodies, and lush tone colors common to the British brass band style popular in Europe and the UK. Our program will include original works for brass quartet as well as arrangements featuring each individual member.”

The brass quartet pre-performance in the lobby will create a natural segue into Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 in the concert hall. “There is both a lot of subtlety and a lot of room for interpretation in playing these horn concertos,” Gunnery Sgt. Paul said. “The Mozart horn concertos are performed frequently, but every horn player plays them differently. I hope the audience mainly hears how much I enjoy and respect this piece. In this concerto, I particularly enjoy the conversation between the orchestra and the horn solo, especially in the Rondo movement.”

“Of Mozart’s four horn concertos, this is the one he dedicated to his good friend, Joseph Leutgeb, a horn player,” she continued. “They must have had a joking relationship, as evidenced by the dedication: ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart takes pity on Leutgeb ass, ox, and simpleton, at Vienna on May 27, 1783.’ The end of the Rondo movement has caused much discussion among horn players ever since. The penultimate statement of the rondo theme sort of peters out, suggesting that the horn player is running out of steam or possibly forgetting the notes, but then ends triumphantly with the fastest statement of the rondo theme yet. It is great fun to play!”

The program also includes Bach’s Suite No. 4 in D, an orchestral interlude of an overture and four instrumental dances. These Suites were immensely popular during the Baroque era, especially in Germany and in the court of King Louis XIV. Embracing the fusion of French and Italian musical elements, Bach opted to omit the expected allemande and courante dances for the bourrées, gavotte, and minuets and concludes with a rousing “rejoicing.”

The second half of the program is comprised of Haydn’s Symphony No 103. “Since its 1795 premiere, Joseph Haydn’s 103rd Symphony, nicknamed Drum Roll after the long and ominous timpani roll with which it begins, remains a favorite of his impressive output of 104 symphonies,” Capt. Nowlin said. “Brilliantly constructed, the four-movement work culminates in an unflagging, energetic finale based on a single theme and is filled with drama and excitement.”

The concert will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 14 at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Va. The pre-concert performance takes place at 1:15 p.m. in the lobby. The concert is free; no tickets are required and free parking is available.

Concert program and notes


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