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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Orchestra with Relentless Bassoon

By Gunnery Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali | United States Marine Band | August 13, 2019


The Marine Chamber Orchestra will continue its Summer Series with a concert at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, August 17, at Northern Virginia Community College’s Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall in Alexandria, Va., featuring works by Josef Suk, Elliott Carter, and Jack Jarrett as well as a relentless bassoon work by André Jolivet. Conducted by Assistant Director Capt. Bryan P. Sherlock, 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 a pre-concert ensemble performance prior to the concert.

The first half of the concert features music by composers who were strongly influenced by their mentors. Czech composer Josef Suk studied composition at Prague Conservatory with Antonín Dvořák, a teacher who left his mark on Suk’s earliest compositional style. The first selection of the concert—Suk’s Serenade in E-flat, Opus 6—is suggested to have served as a musical portrait of Dvořák’s daughter Otylka, who later married her father’s mentee. Elliott Carter, born in New York City, was encouraged by his mentor Charles Ives and teachers Gustav Holst and Nadia Boulanger; Carter’s Elegy—the second selection of the concert—has a neoclassical style often associated with Boulanger.

Following the Elegy, the orchestra will perform André Jolivet’s Bassoon Concerto, featuring soloist Staff Sgt. David Young. The concerto was written for and premiered by the great French bassoonist Maurice Allard, a huge figure in the world of the French Bassoon. According to the soloist:

This concerto is a great combination of serious musical substance and audience accessibility. It is a modern piece that takes the expressive and technical power of the bassoon seriously. The piece is relentless. There are few moments in the piece to catch your breath, and none that are without some sort of challenge, be it technical facility or expressive range. Something to watch for is the interplay between the bassoon and solo violin. I think audiences will also enjoy the great variety in the piece. The opening Recitativo is like a freely wandering monologue with orchestral commentary. The Allegro Giovale is just completely packed with all kinds of complex rhythms and syncopations, incorporating a healthy dose of jazz. The Largo Cantabile is simultaneously lovely and haunting, and the final Fugato is a race to the finish with a respectful nod to the past in its fugal form.

Young adds that he is looking forward to the performance: “I love playing with strings alone. It can be difficult to balance bassoon with a full orchestra with wind section, but the unique combination of bassoon, strings, piano and harp allows the bassoon to shine without the ensemble needing to hold back.”

The concert will conclude with American composer Jack Jarrett’s symphonic suite Romeo and Juliet. The five movements take the audience through a familiar journey, though according to the composer: “Although my music is extremely eclectic, it does not try to be original at all costs. It does try, however, to be satisfying to listen to.”

Complete program and notes

Directions and parking

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