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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Romantic Era Chamber Concert

By Gunnery Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali | United States Marine Band | October 23, 2019


The 2019 Fall Chamber Series will conclude with the final performance at 2 p.m., this Sunday, Oct. 27. The performance, coordinated by clarinetist Staff Sgt. Alexander Bullard, will take place in John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C., and stream live online at www.marineband.marines.mil. Bullard offered the following on the program, which includes Quintet in B-flat, Opus 34 by Carl Maria von Weber; Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 in C-sharp minor S. 244/12; and Johannes Brahms’ String Quintet No. 2 in G, Opus 111:


My favorite era of classical music is the Romantic era, and it was around my love for this particular time in history that I decided to build this program. Carl Maria von Weber was known as one of the early Romantic composers, and he is also one of the first prominent composers to write prolifically for the clarinet. His concertos are often the very first that young clarinetists learn due to the operatic lyricism and accessible nature of the pieces. Far less often performed, however, is his Clarinet Quintet. Despite this, I find it to be the best of his works for clarinet. It showcases Weber’s wonderful talent of writing for the clarinet, with its soaring melodies and captivating lyricism that both beautifully captures the nature of the clarinet and Weber’s outstanding operatic pedigree.

            Following the Weber is Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 by Franz Liszt. Unlike Weber, who was mostly known for his operas, Liszt was a superstar pianist in the mid-nineteenth century, with a personality and ego to match. Liszt’s virtuosity on the piano is easy to hear in his Hungarian Rhapsodies, and his creative use of Hungarian folk songs and melodies never fail to entice and captivate listeners.

            To finish out the program, I chose Johannes Brahms’ String Quintet No. 2. I first came across this piece while I was reading a biography of Brahms in college, and I immediately fell in love with it. Written near the end of his career, the full depth and maturity of Brahms is on full display. In particular, I loved the symphonic character of the music; there are so many moments in this piece that seem to cry out for a full string section. Brahms was a titan of the Romantic era, and there are few better examples of this in the chamber music repertoire than this string quintet.


The Fall Chamber Series concert is free and no tickets are required. The Marine Barracks Annex is accessible by Metro via the Navy Yard or Eastern Market stations. Free parking is also available under the overpass on 7th Street, across from the Annex.


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