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United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Chamber Music Series Features Unique Quartets LIVE STREAM ONLY

By U.S. Marine Band | United States Marine Band | March 11, 2020


The Chamber Music Series will continue this Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. as a LIVE STREAM ONLY. Coordinated by clarinetist Staff Sgt. Jonathon Troy, this concert is all about unique quartets, including quartets for English horn and strings, brass, and saxophones. The concert will stream live online at www.marineband.marines.mil and youtube.com/usmarineband. Troy offered the following on the program:


When selecting repertoire for this Chamber Music Series concert, I began by listening to string quartets. The string quartet has long been considered a hallmark of the chamber music world, featuring some of the most significant works in all of classical music. I decided, however, that I wanted to subvert my listener's expectations to a degree by featuring more unusual and diverse instrumental groupings of four and showcasing the unique colors that they can create. This is a program made up of works that lovers of the string quartet will greatly appreciate, but have likely never heard.


The first piece on the program is Allan Stephenson's Miniature Quartet for English Horn and Strings. It was composed in 2014, but harkens back to the late romantic period in tone. In this ensemble, the English horn features predominantly as the solo voice but often is woven into the string texture to act as an equal partner with the other three players. Stephenson adhered to a principle that music should always "please and entertain the listener" and this piece is no exception.


Next up is John Golland's Bagatelles. Most audiences are more familiar with the traditional brass quintet as a chamber ensemble, and this unique instrumentation for a group of four instruments—two cornets, tenor horn, and euphonium—displays some of the more mellow, middle register sounds that brass instruments can create together. Golland's melodies in this work have a somewhat mysterious and dark quality that will take listeners on a journey.


The final concert piece, Facing Death by Louis Andriessen and arranged by the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet, is an ode to be-bop, complete with quotations from the great Charlie Parker. Here we have a work that was originally intended as a string quartet, based in part on the work of a legendary saxophonist, that has been rearranged for a group of saxophonists. This version is equally as riveting as the original but in different ways. The more penetrating sounds of the various saxophones will at times shock and amaze listeners. The variations in speed and rhythm are sure to keep everyone on the edge of their seats.


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