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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Orchestra Performs Final 2016 Summer Series Concert

By Staff Sgt. Brian Rust | United States Marine Band | August 16, 2016


The Marine Chamber Orchestra will wrap up its Summer Orchestra Series with a pair of suites by British composers, as well as a clarinet solo, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. The concert is free and tickets are not required. Free parking is available in the garage adjacent to the hall. There will be no pre-concert ensemble performances prior to this concert.

Conducted by Assistant Director Maj. Michelle A. Rakers, the performance will begin with English composer John Ireland’s A Downland Suite, a piece inspired by the beautiful British landscapes, particularly the area known as the South Downs. Ireland originally composed the work for brass band, but later adapted the middle movement for string orchestra. After his death, Ireland’s student Geoffrey Bush completed the transcription for string orchestra. Rather than doing a literal transcription, Bush followed the practice used by Ireland himself and reconceived the music as a composition for strings. The result is a beautiful piece that captures the great British string sound of the early 20th century.

The program will continue with American composer James Cohn’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in A, Opus 62, featuring soloist Master Sgt. Frederick Vare. Cohn was inspired to compose his Concerto No. 1 upon hearing American clarinetist Jon Manasse perform the clarinet quintets of Carl Maria von Weber and Johannes Brahms. The composer describes the work as “a short classical concerto that allows the soloist to display both his technical prowess and his inimitable way of handling melody. It contains not only fireworks and humor but also some very lyrical moments.”

The concert will close with another British composer’s suite, Sir Hubert H. Parry’s An English Suite. The work was composed over the course of several years and, similar to Ireland’s suite, was compiled by one of Parry’s students after the composer’s death. The seven movements fit together well as a set and display the charm and grace that would influence many of the great British composers of the twentieth century.

Complete program and notes

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