Marine Band members have a number of ways in which they contribute to the mission of “The President’s Own.” One way is to serve as a coordinator for the Chamber Music Series and clarinet player Staff Sgt. Andrew Dees is rising to the occasion for the Sunday, May 31 performance. “As a relatively new member of the band, this is the first chance I have had to act as a chamber coordinator,” he said. “At first I was daunted by the amount of repertoire put forth for consideration by my colleagues.” But as he sifted through the binder full of programming choices, a few selections caught his attention. “Most exciting to me was the opportunity to pave the way for a world première,” he said. “Andrew Horwitz is a young and upcoming composer who has crafted a distinctly American work for clarinet and string bass. He takes the listener on a whirlwind tour of the country by way of food in Pages From an American Cookbook.” Horwitz, an American saxophonist and composer based out of New York City, said, “Pages from an American Cookbook is a book of short musical vignettes in the style of Benny’s Gig by Morton Gould. As this piece was written for two members of ‘The President’s Own,’ I decided to base each vignette around a different part of the United States. The first six movements are based on a food culture and a musical culture associated with each location.”
As the chamber coordinator, Dees had the privilege of choosing all of the pieces on the program. He took the liberty of programming Franz Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (“The Shepherd on the Rock”) for voice, clarinet, and piano. “This is one of those pieces that every clarinetist hopes to have the opportunity to play,” Dees said. “It is a German lied written by the master of the art song. Schubert stuffed it full of beautiful sustained chords and challenging technical passages for all three players.” Schubert wrote the parts to be closely interwoven, and created a true trio as opposed to simply a vocal line with accompaniment. The song begins with an expressive clarinet line, turns melancholy with challenging, soaring passages for the vocalist, and comes to a lively, upbeat conclusion as the shepherd looks forward to the coming of spring.
Rounding out the program are William Walond’s Voluntary, Elliot Carter’s “Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux II,” Paul Hindemith’s Sonata for Four Horns, and Jan Disma Zalenka’s Trio Sonata No.1 in F Major. “While these works are not directly related to each other, they are an example of the wide range of forms that chamber music can take,” Dees said. “From Walond’s Voluntary originally written for organ in 1752 to the Horwitz written in 2014, this program will span 262 years of music. I look forward to sharing both the old and the new with the audience on May 31!”
The performance will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 31 at the John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex, at 7th and K Streets in Southeast Washington, D.C. The concert is free, no tickets are required. Free parking is available in the lot under the overpass on 7th Street. The concert will also stream live at www.marineband.marines.mil.
Program and notes
Directions and parking information