At University Auditorium, the University of Florida’s Wind Symphony put on a performance directed by David A. Waybright and guest conducted by Michael S. Butler.
Sitting in the side balconies of the University Auditorium, one can get close and still have a bird eye view of the performance. From there I could hear clearly and have a wonderful view of the University of Florida students perform what I consider my favorite concert so far this semester. The concert started out with small ensemble for Antonin Dvorák’s Serenade for Wind instruments, op. 44. The ensemble performed movements I, II, and IV; all of which were quite lively and pleasant to listen to. Each movement had a wonderful melody, presented almost like a conversation between the clarinets, played by Hannah Austin and Max Pegues, and the oboes, played by Daniel McTiernan and Claire Santiago.
Aaron Barrera, a freshman music major and Euphonium player attended the concert that night with friends Justin Burns and Andrea Martinez. Also a composition student, Barrera told me “I like to compose my own music and aspire to be a composer in the future.” Barrera had the opportunity to meet the composer Daniel Kellogg, who wrote the concert’s third piece Momentum, at the reception. He asked Kellogg what inspired Momentum, he replied that it was “inspired by nature, looking out at a vista in Colorado; that’s where I’m from.” The piece had a strong presence of timpani and low brass that gave it fullness and a sense of power and large size. The soft line of the flutes at the beginning and end of the song contrasted with the crisp trumpets, much like the jagged and sharp mountains of Colorado contrast with the state’s lush plains.
The forth piece of the night, Redline Tango by John Mackey, was my personal favorite. The song was very rhythmic and percussive at the beginning and gained in intensity throughout. With several blares by the brass instruments, the piece had beautifully brash moments and was both gripping and engaging. The piece also featured unique and beautiful soprano sax and piccolo clarinet solos, all the while, retaining that rhythmic flair of the tango.
Licolnshire Posy by Percy Crainger was the next piece and a favorite of Justin Burns. The freshman, invited by Barrera, said he enjoyed “one particular melody in Posy, “It was the most beautiful melody of the night.” Burns, who plays guitar and has experience playing the French horn, attended the performance because “Aaron invited me, and I love music.” The symphony played all six movements of Licolnshire Posy, of which each had different moods and energies, but continued on a central theme.
A second favorite of both Burns and Barrera, and the sixth piece of the night, was Morton Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium. Barrera said, “I think Morton is a fantastic composer and leaves an everlasting impression on the listener,” and “I was really excited to meet O Magnum Mysterium.” Burns said, “It gives you this epic feeling.” The O Magnum Mysterium contained many beautiful dissonances and resolutions to create a truly moving an inspiring sound. Andrea Martinez, who has experience playing the piano and is also a freshman agreed, saying, “I was captivated by it.”
The concert seemed to go by rather quickly with so many fantastic and enticing pieces to listen to. The concert was truly entertaining and a treat to watch. This week and the next, there will be several performances to attend for the university’s Florida Contemporary Music Festival.
Information and the schedule for the festival can be found at this link: http://legacy.arts.ufl.edu/composition/ContMusFEST/index.html