Rochester Crusaders Announce 2009 Program

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The Rochester Crusaders will honor the great British composer Gustav Holst with their 2009 production “Land and Space – the music of Gustav Holst.”

“After the success of our past two seasons with Russian orchestral music, we wanted to maintain our identity, but with a twist,” program coordinator Gene O’Brien said. “Holst gives us the opportunity to utilize 20th century orchestral music, but with material that is audience friendly.

“This is music that allows us to meet both elements of our mission – to present the highest quality music and maintain our traditional strong connection with the audience,” he stated.

“Land and Space” will feature music from “The Planets,” “Moorside Suite” and possibly the “St. Paul Suite.”

“We plan to set the table with an inductory statement on ‘Mars’ from ‘The Planets.’ Our arranger, Jim Prime, feels this is the perfect vehicle to establish the tone of what is to follow,” O’Brien said.

This will be followed by the “Moorside March,” a strong piece that has been seldom done in drum corps but is a concert band evergreen. O’Brien said that “Moorside” will allow the Crusaders to educate while maintaining audience involvement. “We love the idea of doing a march. Drum corps has lost this important part of its tradition., in that corps seldom if ever do marches any more. This march is contemporary, but has all the elements necessary to get our audience really going.”

Two options for the third segment of the show – “Venus” from “The Planets” and “Fantasia on the Dargason” from the “St. Paul Suite” – are being considered. “Each offers another side of the Crusaders and Jimmer wants to see how things settle in elsewhere before making this decision. Either one would be great,” O’Brien stated.

The show will close with “Jupiter” from “The Planets.” “This beautiful piece has the air of inevitability about it,” O’Brien said. “We feel it is a perfect closer for us.”

“The Planets” is one of the most influential orchestral pieces of all time. “One can’t imagine what soundtracks for space and science fiction films would sound like without the influence of this piece. Listen to any John Williams score and you get the connection,” O’Brien stated.

Holst (1874-1934) composed “The Planets” in 1914-16. “Mars, the Bringer of War” predated World War I by two years, but its ostinato 5/4 approach was an eerie precursor of upcoming events. The tension created by the movement from distant, soft backgrounds to a triple forte paints a terrifying picture of a war machine destroying all in its path.

In 1927 Holst was commissioned to write a competition piece for the National Brass Band Festival Committee. The result was “Moorside Suite.” Its march includes material from Holst’s “Land of Hope and Glory.” “Moorside” was played by 15 brass bands in the 1928 competition.

“Fantasia on the Dargason” is the last movement of the “St. Paul Suite,” this piece was written for the orchestra at the St. Paul’s School for Girls in Hammersmith, England. It is a combination of folk tunes, including the time-honored “Greensleeves.” Holst later included “Dargason” in his “Suite in F” for military band.

“Jupiter” is subtitled “Bringer of Jollity” and is meant to be “buoyant, hopeful and joyous.” “We figure this will be the perfect closer to a show that should be educational and entertaining,” O’Brien said.

Be part of the 2009 Rochester Crusaders! Contact Recruiting Director, Brian Wilt at Brianwilt [at] rochestercrusaders [dot] org or call the Crusader Hotline 585.251.7117 for further information.

Posted by on Saturday, November 22nd, 2008. Filed under DCA News.