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"The President's Own"


"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Fall Chamber Series Includes Strings and Brass

By Staff Sgt. Brian Rust | United States Marine Band | October 7, 2014


The 2014 Fall Chamber Series continues this Sunday, Oct. 12 with a concert at 2 p.m. featuring various ensembles formed by the musicians of “The President’s Own,” from violin solos to brass quintet and solo clarinet to a mixed ensemble of seven instruments. Coordinated by percussionist Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Maloy, the performance will include music spanning the past three centuries. The concert is free and no tickets are required and will take place at John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C. Free parking is available under the overpass on 7th street across from the Annex. The concert will also live stream beginning at 2 p.m. on the Marine Band website www.marineband.marines.mil.

The concert will begin with violinist Staff Sgt. Christopher Franke performing the Allegro assai from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonata No. 3 in C. The third in a set of six sonatas and partitas for solo violin, Bach’s Sonata No. 3 in C is considered one of the most difficult and demanding of the six works but also brilliantly displays the virtuosic playing of the violinist. Following the sonata, a brass quintet will perform Sir Malcolm Arnold’s Quintet, Opus 73, followed by the trio of violin, clarinet, and piano playing Amilcare Ponchielli’s Paolo e Virginia. Paolo e Virginia was never published during the composer’s lifetime and the title stems from the popular 18th-century French romance novel by Jacques-Henri  de Saint-Pierre, Paul et Virginie.

Just as the concert began with a sonata, the first half will end with a violin duo performing Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata in C, Opus 56. While Prokofiev studied Beethoven’s works, particularly his string quartets, his rebellious compositional style gives his Sonata in C a very distinctive sound and differs greatly from the Beethoven sonatas written more than 200 years prior.

The second half of the concert features only two pieces. The first, Three Etudes on Themes of Gershwin by Paul Harvey, honors 20th-century American composer and pianist George Gershwin. In the etudes, British composer, clarinetist, and saxophonist Harvey fuses the jazz-flavored classicism of three of Gershwin’s best-known songs with his own contemporary compositional techniques. The result is a potpourri of sounds that both honors Gershwin and demonstrates the many roles of the clarinet.

The concert’s final work features a mixed ensemble performing Igor Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale). The piece was originally written as a traveling theatrical show featuring a narrator, actor, and dancer with the septet of instruments. The work follows the story of a soldier who returns to his hometown on military leave and is then deceived by the Devil to gain wealth. He follows the Devil for what he thought was only three days but finds out it was actually three years. He is unable to return to his old life and begins anew in a different town by marrying a princess who he rescued. During the rescue, the Devil tries to interfere, but the soldier plays his fiddle until the Devil collapses from exhaustion. The Devil warns that if the soldier ever leaves the castle grounds, the Devil will regain control over him. Sometime after their marriage, the princess convinces the soldier to revisit his old home, and upon his visit the Devil is there to meet him and carries him away in a final act of power.

Complete program and notes

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