Washington, DC --
This week’s #MusicMonday release features Gustav Holst’s Hammersmith, Prelude and Scherzo, Opus 52, and Suite No. 1 in E-flat, conducted by Dr. Frederick Fennell, from “Bicentennial Collection Disc 10: Guest Conductors.”
Gustav Holst Music on YouTube
From the recording program booklet:
No conductor of this century has had a more profound impact on the development of the wind band than Dr. Frederick Fennell. His vision to found the Eastman Wind Ensemble and to launch a series of critically acclaimed recordings has had immeasurable value to introducing and popularizing significant wind music.
He grew up listening to the Marine Band on the radio and during high school won a trip to Washington for selling the most tickets to the Marine Band’s concert in Cleveland. During his trip to Washington, Fennell came to Marine Barracks where he came to rehearsal and met Capt. Taylor Branson, and went on to the White House where he was introduced to President Herbert Hoover.
Dr. Fennell has conducted the Marine Band on several occasions over the years, one important performance being in 1987 when he conducted Gustav Holst’s Hammersmith at the Boston conference of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. It was Dr. Fennell who researched the history of this band masterpiece and discovered in our own files that the Marine Band premiered the work in 1932 at the Washington convention of the American Bandmasters Association. Holst was to have conducted the premiere but illness prevented him from traveling to Washington, so the premiere was conducted by Capt. Taylor Branson. In the absence of a recording of the 1932 premiere, Dr. Fennell’s performance was an important one and an essential part of this collection.
In 1997 LtCol Foley invited Dr. Fennell to become the first guest conductor to take the podium for an entire concert with the Marine Band. Dr. Fennell chose to program favorites from his repertoire … including Holst’s Hammersmith and Suite No. 1 in E-flat.