Marine Barracks Annex, Washington, D.C. --
This week “The President’s Own” will present a light classical program of music from all over the world, with selections by well-known French, Russian, Italian, Czech, and American composers. The program begins with two American works: Henry Fillmore’s march, “The Klaxon”— originally performed with an instrument made from car horns by the composer—and Adolphus Hailstork’s “Celebration!”—commissioned to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial. Conducted by Assistant Director 1st Lt. Darren Lin, the free concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 9, at the John Philip Sousa Band Hall in Washington, D.C., and 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, at the U.S. Capitol; the Wednesday concert will also livestream.
Program and Notes
Following the program’s American segment, clarinet soloist Staff Sergeant Tyler Hsieh will perform French composer Camille Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Opus 28, a piece originally composed for violin. This is the first time Hsieh will perform the piece, and he loves “that it is dramatic, exciting, and singing all at the same time. The composition was originally intended to be the finale for Saint Saëns’ first violin concerto, but because it was so successful, he made it into a standalone piece.”
Hsieh continued, “This work is special to me because it was the first piece I heard my teacher, Charles Neidich, play live. He is arguably one of the greatest clarinet soloists of our lifetime, and hearing him play what I originally thought was just music for violin on the clarinet, like it was meant for the clarinet, made me fall in love with his playing even more. It wouldn’t be too far to say that I decided to study with him because of that experience.”
The program will continue with Russian composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovksy’s Dance of the Jesters from The Snow Maiden followed by Italian composer Antonio Salieri’s “Non vo già’ che vi suonino” from La cifra, featuring mezzo-soprano vocalist Master Sgt. Sara Sheffield. Sheffield first discovered the piece when she heard it on “The Salieri Album” by mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli.
“I love the timelessness of this piece,” Sheffield said. “Although written centuries ago for the lesser-known opera La Cifra, it captures the excitement of a young bride preparing for her upcoming wedding. She sings about all the instruments she would love to have at her nuptial celebration, and each instrument in turn has a chance to showcase its talent in this arrangement.”
The libretto originally references “violini,” but former Marine Band arranger Master Gunnery Sgt. Donald Patterson, USMC (ret.), changed the Italian to “sassofoni” to feature the band’s saxophone section instead. “It was a clever and subtle re-write that adds another layer of whimsy to this delightful piece,” Sheffield noted.
Finally, the program concludes with Scherzo Capriccioso, Opus 66, by Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. This 14-minute piece includes lively and capricious outer sections with a lyrical B section and uses unusual combinations of instruments together such as harp, bass clarinet, and English horn. In choosing to close with the Dvořák, Lin said, “The general theme of this program is light classical, with humor and wit throughout, so I thought this would be the perfect summation for that theme!”
Schedule is subject to change. Inclement weather cancellations will be made by 6 p.m. the evening of the concert and posted on Marine Band social media and website.