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United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Summer Orchestra Series Continues with “Hoe Down”

By Staff Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali | United States Marine Band | July 13, 2015


The Marine Chamber Orchestra will continue its Summer Orchestra series with American composer Aaron Copland’s beloved “Hoe Down” at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 18 at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. Conducted by Assistant Director 1st Lt. Ryan J. Nowlin, the concert will highlight works by composers who have had a major impact on their country’s nationalism. In addition to Copland, the program will include works by British composers Gustav Holst and Gerald Finzi as well as Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch.

The concert will highlight one of Copland’s most recognized works—“Hoe Down” from Rodeo, a ballet which he created about the American West. The recognizable music is definitive of Copland’s signature upbeat tempos and optimistic harmonies.

Nowlin has also programmed Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, featuring clarinetist Staff Sgt. Christopher Grant. Commissioned by jazz legend Benny Goodman, known as the King of Swing, the concerto combines elements of jazz with American folk music. Grant said of the piece:

I have listened to the recording of Goodman performing the Clarinet Concerto with Copland at the piano since I was a teenager; it's widely regarded as the best interpretation of the work. Something that has always influenced me from that particular recording is how eloquent and simple the performance is. While much of the piece is rooted in jazz, too much freedom with rhythms does Copland’s intentions a disservice. Although this concerto has moments where there is a sense of improvisation to the listener, Copland in fact notated very clearly what he intended from the performer.

The fact that the King of Swing commissioned the concerto certainly plays heavily into the rhythmic intricacies as well. I love that despite the lack of percussion or winds, the rhythmic nuances are still very clear throughout the performance.

I love listening to and performing this work. It has always been one of my favorite pieces for clarinet. The melodies of the first part of the concerto are so beautiful and lyrical; it's very inspiring and emotional. And the second part—with its Latin American and jazz inspired rhythms—is so fun and engaging for both the performer and the audience.

The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 18 at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. The concert is free, tickets are not required, and free parking is available in the garage adjacent to the hall.

Program and notes


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