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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Double Feature

By Master Sgt. Amanda Simmons | United States Marine Band | March 7, 2016


Lights, Camera, Action! Join the Marine Band for a program titled “Double Feature: Music of Adventure, Danger and Drama on the Silver Screen,” at 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 14 at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. The program will feature works ranging from The Sea Hawk, released in 1940, to one of the latest box office smashes, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

“The best film scores in history pack an emotional power such that the music itself has transcended the moving pictures they were originally created to accompany,” said Marine Band Director Lieutenant Colonel Jason K. Fettig. “Many of these famous themes were composed by a group of distinguished international composers who came to Hollywood to ply their trade in the movies, and the sweeping symphonic scores they provided have since proven equally effective in performance on the concert stage. This special concert highlights music from films that span nearly 75 years, from the Golden Age of Hollywood to the cinema of our time, anchored by some of the greatest film music ever written in John Williams’ score to Star Wars.”

The program will open with Miklós Rózsa’s March from El Cid, the 1961 film based on the life of Christian Castilian knight Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, starring Charlton Heston and Sofia Loren. The Marine Band will then perform Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s The Sea Hawk, where Errol Flynn played an English pirate who terrorizes the Spanish Armada.

According to Fettig, “The present collection of music from the film highlights the main themes of Korngold’s film score, from the swashbuckling action to the heartfelt love story at the center of the adventure.”

British composer John Barry’s Theme from Out of Africa will also be featured on the program. Released in 1985 to great acclaim, Out of Africa starred Robert Redford as a big game hunter who engages in a love affair with a Danish baroness and plantation owner played by Meryl Streep. Barry’s symphonic score, which received an Academy Award for Best Original Score, is perfectly matched to the sweeping amber landscapes of Kenya that serve as the backdrop to this classic drama.

Pianist Gunnery Sgt. Russell Wilson will make a cameo on the program to perform Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto from the 1941 film Dangerous Moonlight (Suicide Squadron).  The mini-concerto became so popular after the movie release that it made the journey from film to the concert stage and recordings of the work sold millions of copies during the remainder of World War II and beyond. To this day, the piece remains a fixture in the pianists’ popular repertoire and is performed regularly in concert halls around the world.

Before closing the program with the works from more recent releases, Fettig programmed Sir William Walton’s Suite from Henry V, Bernard Herrmann’s “The Death Hunt” from On Dangerous Ground, and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, transcribed by Assistant Director 1st Lt. Ryan J. Nowlin.

Two works arranged for the Marine Band by Paul Lavender will close the program: John Williams’ Music from Lincoln and a suite from the latest installment in the Star Wars series, The Force Awakens. The Force Awakens was released in December 2015 and takes place some 30 years after the conclusion of The Return of the Jedi.

“As old and new characters come together in the film, Williams’ score artfully weaves together familiar music from the original films with brand new themes and brilliantly highlights pivotal actions and relationships,” notes Fettig. 

After the familiar music for the opening credits is sounded, the suite continues with the “March of the Resistance,” followed by the main theme of the mysterious new lead character, Rey. “Scherzo for X-Wings” accompanies a furious battle scene featuring the iconic aerial fighters of both the Resistance and the First Order. The closing movement of the suite begins with the music of the Jedi and moves into a final montage of all of the main themes.

All tickets have been distributed for this performance. Tickets are valid until 7:15 p.m., at which time all non-ticketed patrons will be admitted to fill any remaining seats. Non-ticketed patrons are strongly encouraged to queue up at 6:15 p.m. will be admitted on a first come, first served basis at 7:15 p.m.

Click here for the program and notes.

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