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American Record Guide Reviews "Migration"



Clarinet Concerto; JOLLEY: The Eyes of the World are Upon You; MONTAGUE:Intrada 1631

University of Texas Wind Ensemble

Reference 150—79 minutes

Under the direction of Jerry Junkin, the University of Texas Wind Ensemble has established itself as one of the nation’s elite wind bands. Dedicated to developing the wind and

percussion repertoire, they have commissioned new works from the finest composers.

The recording is beautifully produced and the sound is excellent.

The recording begins with the bold and brassy chords of Adam Schoenberg’s Migration,

a 5-movement composition that chronicles the emotional journey immigrants often

make as they leave their homeland and make the arduous trek to a new home. Schoenberg

has written a work of considerable complexity, combining textures of different keys, rhythms,

and meters.

One of the high points is II, `Dreaming’, where the group enacts Schoenberg’s vision of

a transparent, ethereal dreamscape with exquisite control and imagination. It is evident

that these are gifted and superbly trained musicians; their performance is inspiring.

Corigliano’s Clarinet Concerto is a work of intimacy and creative brilliance, played here

by Jonathan Gunn, associate principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony. Working through

the Messiaen-like bird song in the first move-ment with great assurity and ease, Gunn’s performance is of the highest quality. His ability to play the most difficult technical passages at the softest volumes is impressive.

Another highlight is the clarinet and violin duet in the Elegy, where the soloists play with

tender poignancy as the ensemble offers delicate support. The wind ensemble parts are

often as challenging as the solo writing, and the group plays their role with professionalism

and understanding.

The final works on the recording are solemn meditations.

Jolley’s `The Eyes of the World are on You’ is a reflection on people gunned down at the

University of Texas in 1966 and the law Texas recently passed to allow guns on the state’s

college campuses. The work begins with a plaintive lament from the English horn that

slowly blossoms into the full ensemble. The effect is glorious. It is beautifully paced and

one of the most memorable moments of this recording. The group plays with faultless intonation and exquisite control, especially the English horn and other soloists.

Montague’s Intrada 1631 was inspired by a concert of early South American liturgical

music. Among the works was a 17th Century Catholic chant written in Quechua, the native

language of the Incas. Montague employs the 20-measure chant as the basis for an expanded processional, complete with ritualistic drums and ceremonial brass. The work forms an appropriate, dignified finale to an exceptionally fine recording of wind music.


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