SCHOENBERG: Migration; CORIGLIANO:
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,
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
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.