Saturday, June 19 2:00 pm
American Brass Quintet
Gates Concert Hall

Dwayne Hollenbach, a former student of Ray Mase, introduced the concert by reminding the audience of the tremendous debt brass musicians owe to the pioneering efforts of the American Brass Quintet. One of the first professional brass quintets, the group began in 1960 and has a long and distinguished track record of commissioning new repertoire and performing outstanding concerts. This performance was no exception.

Beginning with A Suite of 17th-Century Dances edited by Ray Mase, the quintet dazzled the audience with its rhythmic flair, ringing intonation, and a kaleidoscope of shifting tonal colors. The five dances by the English composers Brade and Simpson alternated between moods of spirited virtuosity and luxurious lyricism. A particular highlight was the warm, sackbut like sound created by the use of flugelhorns in the Brade “Paduana.”

After the suite, trumpeter Ray Mase welcomed the audience and introduced the next two pieces on the program. Because the program featured excerpts of some longer works to allow for a better sampling of repertoire, the quintet played just the first movement of Melinda Wagner’s dynamic Brass Quintet. The players switched their set up for the Pulitzer Prize winning composer’s work, as they would do repeatedly during the concert. In this case the trumpets sat side by side on the right side of the stage rather than across from each other, as they had for the previous piece. Featuring dramatic pyramid effects and dramatic shifts of texture, the work whetted the audience’s appetite for more of Wagner’s work in the future.

The next piece was, according to Mase, a “sneak preview” of a piece commissioned by the ABQ for a premiere at the Aspen Music Festival later this summer. Steven Sacco’s Little Suite of Miniatures lived up to its title with five short movements. An attractive and engaging work, Sacco’s music highlighted refreshing tonal language and organic motivic writing.

Trumpeter Kevin Cobb introduced the next two pieces on the program: Ray Mase’s transcription of Chansons by Josquin des Pres and Gilbert Amy’s experimental 1967 composition, Relais. Cobb explained that the stage set up would again be changed for the Josquin to highlight the canonical textures of the piece by having the trumpets and trombones sit across from each other with the horn in the middle. As with the Suite of 17th Century Dances that began the program, the ABQ impressed the audience with their virtuosity and sonorous blend. Shifting back to a side-by-side trumpet set up, the quintet tore into excerpts from Gilbert Amy’s Relais with remarkable precision and expression.

Bass trombonist John Rojak introduced the final piece on the program, Eric Ewazen’s popular Colchester Fantasy, a work originally premiered by ABQ in the late 1980s. Noting that, “this was the piece that started the whole avalanche of Ewazen’s brass music,” Rojak pointed out that since then, Ewazen has become the most prolific composer for brass instruments to date, writing numerous solo and chamber works. Following a fantastic performance of this new classic, the audience rewarded the quintet with a thunderous standing ovation. After three curtain calls, ABQ played an encore: the dizzying “Scherzo” (second movement) from Anthony Plog’s Mosaics.

Trumpet Prelude

Kansas State University Alumni Trumpet Ensemble,
Gary Mortenson, coordinator

Aaron Allison, Erin Beave, Darren Brooks, Dennis Brooks, Kari Brooks, Scott Brown, Russ Carver, Luke Chaffee, Kathy Essmiller, Scott Freeby, Brian Hardeman, Kevin Hupe, Jon Kohrs, Donnie Lemley, Sandi Lohman, David Montgomery, Jessica Mullen, Kenny Roe, Bryan Schroeder, Phil Ward, Todd Hollis

+Trumpet Salutations - Nigel Coombes

*Shadow Boxing (2004) - Bryan Schroeder

*Enlightenment (2004) - Scott Freeby

+Written for the Irish Guards Trumpet Section, Chelsea – London, United Kingdom, and given to ITG by the composer as a 2005 insert to the ITG Journal. American premiere.

*World premieres conducted by the composers and commissioned for the ensemble’s appearance at the 2004 ITG Conference.

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