Concert 2 2024: By Invitation

The Grainger Wind Symphony invites the Balckburn High School Symphonic Band to share the concert stage.

To go back to the post about this concert click here.

To download the printed program click here.

To see a video of Dance at the Gym (Mambo) click here

Music by Ron Grainer, Delia Derbyshire & Murray C. Gold arr. Robert Buckley. Ron Grainger and Delia Derbyshire were employees of the BBC Sound Studio who created the series. Typically, institutional policy did not acknowledge individual contributions. However of particular interest is that Ron was an Australian! From the long-running and iconic BBC television series Doctor Who, composer Murray Gold brought a new dimension of dramatic and evocative musical themes dating from 2005 to present. Here’s a masterful setting for band featuring familiar themes for the Doctor, along with the alien monsters Cybermen and Daleks, and also memorable companion themes for Rose and Martha.

Commissioned by Blackburn High School Friends of Music for the Symphonic Band performance at The Midwest Clinic, International Band and Orchestra Conference 2017, Chicago USA. Based on the opening phrase of the Blackburn High School Song – Ad Lucem Crescimus: Growing Toward the Light, the phrase also serving as the school’s motto, this work takes us on a brief, energetic journey toward the light. To go to the publisher’s website click here.

Nick Shirrefs was born and raised in Southwest Victoria to a very musical family. He started learning piano at the age of 6, and later trombone at secondary school.

While some may say he wasted his adolescence watching movies, as his interest in composition grew, his “wasted adolescence” suddenly started to bear fruit. He developed a deep and passionate love affair with film music, particularly the music of John Williams, Ennio Morricone and Danny Elfman, as well as a deep admiration for the composers of the Romantic and Impressionist eras.

Eventually Nick decided to take his music education seriously and completed a Bachelor of Music, majoring in Composition at the Sydney campus of the Australian Institute of Music under the careful guidance of Dr. David Hush. Once he completed his degree, Nick travelled the world for 6 months to broaden his horizons and discover as much world music as he could.

Returning to Australia, Nick found himself employed as a brass and percussion teacher at Horsham College and Murtoa College, where he still teaches to this day both as an instrumental and classroom teacher as well as a VET Music Instructor.

Among Nick’s musical successes are the premiere of his work “Origin – A Cosmic Voyage” with the Limestone Coast Symphony Orchestra, “Some Music For Sailing Ships”, premiered by the Hamilton Symphony Orchestra, “Sonata for Flute in D”, performed by international flautist Mark Shiell, performing his original jazz pieces with Wilbur Wilde and the publication of his concert band piece “Insert Superheroes Here:” for school grade concert band.

Nick continues to write for school concert bands in particular and takes immense joy from workshopping his compositions with students around the state.

Lately, Nick has taken to expanding his knowledge on the finer aspects of the recording process, composing brass-centric pieces for himself to play, record and produce, particularly in the hope of promoting the education of brass instruments and what they are capable of. These compositions can be heard on his YouTube channel.

The Grainger Wind Symphony performed the world premiere of this work in 2022.

Gallipoli is a work for Wind Orchestra largely inspired by the remarkable book “Gallipoli” by Australian author Peter FitzSimons.
My interest in the history of warfare, prior to reading this book, was largely focussed on World War Two, and I must admit my knowledge of Gallipoli and World War One was somewhat lacking.
The book itself is an engrossing read on what was ultimately one of the most devastatingly poor military exercises in modern history, and this work focuses on three elements that were either mentioned in the book or envisaged by me as I read.
The first section (bar 1 – 67) is my interpretation of the Australian Armed Forces gathering in Western Australia to board the “grey leviathans” for what they believed would be a great adventure. The music is military and march like in nature, with a stirring melody over a slightly syncopated rhythmic accompaniment. The influence of John Williams’ score to “Saving Private Ryan” can not be understated here, as I am largely inspired by his remarkable melodies in film.
The second section (bars 68 – 120) is my interpretation of specifically, the Battle of the Nek. The disastrous absurdity of this particular battle had a profound effect on me. The desperation of the situation is beyond the scope of human understanding, yet it still occurred. The music at this point starts off quietly and rhythmically, as a representation of what the Australian infantry knew would be certain death. As the Australian infantry go “over the top” towards the Turkish army, the music becomes chaotic and complex. The overall sound should be quite disturbing initially, with the trombones grinding glissandos a feature. As this section proceeds, small sections of melody can be heard representing the waves of humanity being slaughtered unnecessarily, and how the battle swung briefly between the two sides before ultimately, the Australians are utterly devastated by the Turkish machine gun fire.
The final section (bars 120 – 205) should be reminiscent of that final country dance that so many soldiers and their wives back home never got to enjoy. It’s a simple melody that builds in intensity but never loses the sense that it is a plaintive, waltz melody easily danced to in any country town hall. The piece final culminates with a solemn mention of The Last Post, as a salute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Composed by Frank Ticheli, the symphony’s three movements refer to celestial light — Shooting Stars, the Moon, and the Sun.

The finale, “Apollo Unleashed”, is perhaps the most wide-ranging movement of the symphony, and certainly the most difficult to convey in words. On the one hand, the image of Apollo, the powerful ancient god of the sun, inspired not only the movement’s title, but also its blazing energy. Bright sonorities, fast tempos, and galloping rhythms combine to give a sense of urgency that one often expects from a symphonic finale. On the other hand, its boisterous nature is also tempered and enriched by another, more sublime force, Bach’s Chorale BWV 433 (Wer Gott vertraut, hat wohl gebaut). This chorale — a favorite of the dedicatee, and one he himself arranged for chorus and band — serves as a kind of spiritual anchor, giving a soul to the gregarious foreground events. The chorale is in ternary form (ABA’). In the first half of the movement, the chorale’s A and B sections are stated nobly underneath faster paced music, while the final A section is saved for the climactic ending, sounding against a flurry of 16th-notes.

My second symphony is dedicated to James E. Croft upon his retirement as Director of Bands at Florida State University in 2003. It was commissioned by a consortium of Dr. Croft’s doctoral students, conducting students and friends as a gesture of thanks for all he has given to the profession. By Frank Ticheli.

The Grainger Wind Symphony performed the Australian Premiere in July 2004 under the baton of the dedicatee James E. Croft.

From the 2015 instalment of the epic blockbuster movie series, here is the evocative and magical heroine theme that appears throughout the movie and leaves a lasting impression not soon forgotten.

The character Rey has been given an adventure theme that is a memorable and iconic signature of “The Force Awakens.” John Williams has created a musical identity that defines her strong spirit and key role in the rich story line of Star Wars. This adaptation stays very true to the original score.

Scenes from “The Louvre” comes from a 1964 television documentary produced by NBC News called A Golden Prison: The Louvre, for which Dello Joio provided the soundtrack. The documentary tells the history of the Louvre and its world-class collection of art, which is in many ways inseparable from the history of France.

Dello Joio chose to use the music of Renaissance-era composers in his soundtrack in order to match the historical depth of the film. He collected the highlights of this Emmy-winning score into a five-movement suite for band in 1965. The first movement, Portals, is the title music from the documentary, and it consists entirely of Dello Joio’s original material, complete with strident rhythms and bold 20th-century harmony. The second movement, Children’s Gallery, never actually appears in the film. It is a light-hearted theme and variations of Tielman Susato’s Ronde et Saltarelle. The stately third movement is based on themes by Louis XIV’s court composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully, and is aptly titled The Kings of France. Movement four, The Nativity Paintings, uses the medieval theme In Dulci Jubilo. The Finale uses the Cestiliche Sonata of Vincenzo Albrici as its source material, to which Dello Joio adds his own harmonic flavor, particularly in the final passages of the piece.

  • Program Note from Ohlone Wind Orchestra concert program, 10 November 2013

This band version of Scenes from “The Louvre” is adapted from the 1965 Emmy Award winning original film score. The five movements of this suite pay tribute to the development of the museum and feature thematic material from the Renaissance time period. The Portals begins with a low brass choir and evokes notions of the grandeur of the Louvre.

  • Program Note by Richard Floyd for the 2015 Texas All-State 5A Symphonic Band

The First Suite in E♭ for Military BandOp. 28, No. 1, by the English born and raised and composer, Gustav Holst is considered one of the cornerstone masterworks in the concert band repertoire. Officially premiered in 1920 at the Royal Military School of Music, the manuscript was originally completed in 1909. Along with the subsequent Second Suite in F for Military Band, written in 1911 and premiered in 1922, the First Suite convinced many other prominent composers that serious music could be written specifically for band.

Movement 1: “Chaconne”[edit]

Movement 1: Chaconne

Duration: 4 minutes and 51 seconds.4:51

Performed by the U.S. Marine Band

Problems playing this file? See media help.

 \relative c { \clef bass \time 3/4 \key ees \major \tempo "Allegro moderato" \partial 4*1 ees( f2 c'4 | bes2 g4 | ees f2 | bes,2) g4( | c2 d4 | g f2 | bes2.~ | bes2) }

This movement, in 3
4 time, is based upon an eight-bar melody initiated by the low brass which repeats sixteen times throughout the piece. The rhythm of the theme with its minimcrotchet and crotchetminim rhythm is believed to be based upon medieval English carols; the “Agincourt Song” from 1415 in particular bears a strong resemblance.

Holst uses many colourful effects to vary the chaconne theme. These include “band hits” (synonymous with the popular term “orchestra hits”) in the brass and percussion outlining the notes of the theme while the woodwinds play virtuosic semiquaver runs. The whole passage is marked brilliante or “brilliantly”. Immediately following this is a famous low brass excerpt where they play a quaver line based again on the notes of the theme. This section is marked pesante or “heavily” which sharply contrasts with the material directly before.

Following this are more variations using mostly combinations of solo instruments including a solo horn, duet between flute and oboe, and solo alto saxophone. This section eventually develops into a minor key.

Two of the repetitions, the tenth and eleventh, are an inversion of the theme:

 \relative c { \clef bass \key ees \major \time 3/4 \partial 4*1 ees | d2 g,4 | aes2 c4 | ees d2 | aes' c4 | g2 f4~ | f c d | g2.~ | g2 }

Here the mood changes drastically with a funeral march like feel with the dynamics exceptionally soft. The bass drum and tuba emphasise a hemiola rhythm while a solo euphonium plays the inversion in a minor key. The twelfth repetition, the theme played a third higher, is a famous trombone soli that hints at Holst’s earlier years as a trombone player. Then a crescendo poco a poco extends over two more repetitions of the theme. At the height of the crescendo, more hemiola in the brass and saxophones is used to heighten the harmonic interest.

The climax is at the top of the crescendo with the theme being stated in almost all of the low instruments. The higher instruments play soaring counterpoint lines, all of which is marked ff. The final repetition, stated in the trombones and low trumpets/cornets (an unusual combination for its day) is transposed up a fifth, chromatically altered, and extended. The movement ends with the trombones and trumpets/cornets playing against the rest of the band playing on beats one and two while the rest of the band is striking sustained chords on the third beat of the bar. Holst, in the final chord, drops out all of the bass voices from the band leaving a very brilliant sounding chord with high concert B♭s in the flutes, piccolos, and trumpets/cornets. This powerful coda is difficult to play well, but has very high emotional impact when it is. From