Saturday, October 16, 2010

Alfred Reed - Armenian Dances 1 and 2, Alfred Reed, Senzoku Gakuen Symphonic Wind Orchestra

Composer(s): Alfred REED
Conductor: Alfred REED
Orchestra/Ensemble: Senzoku Gakuen Symphonic Wind Orchestra
Label: Walking Frog Records
Catalog #: WFR140
Format: CD
Time: 70:25 min

(Text From Wikipedia)
Alfred Reed (January 25, 1921 – September 17, 2005) was one of America's most prolific and frequently performed composers, with more than two hundred published works for concert band, wind ensemble, orchestra, chorus, and chamber ensemble to his name. He also traveled extensively as a guest conductor, performing in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

He was born in New York and began his formal music training at the age of ten. During World War II he served in the 529th Army Air Force Band. Following his military service he attended the Juilliard School of Music, studying under Vittorio Giannini, after which he was staff composer and arranger first for NBC, then for ABC. In 1953 he became the conductor of the Baylor Symphony Orchestra at Baylor University, where he received his B.M. in 1955 and his M.M. in 1956. His master's thesis "Rhapsody for Viola and Orchestra" was awarded the Luria Prize in 1959. He was a member of the Beta Tau Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national fraternity for men in music.

From 1955 to 1966 he was the executive editor of Hansen Publications, a music publisher. He was professor of music at the University of Miami (where he worked with composer and arranger Robert Longfield) from 1966 to 1993 and was chairman of the department of Music Media and Industry and director of the Music Industry Program at the time of his retirement. He established the very first college-level music business curriculum at the University of Miami in 1966, which led other colleges and universities to follow suit. At the time of his death, he had composition commissions that would have taken him to the age of 115. Many of Reed's wind band compositions have been released as CD recordings by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra.

(Text From Wikipedia)
Armenian Dances
Armenian Dances is a musical piece for concert band, written by Alfred Reed (1921–2005). It is a four-movement suite, of which Armenian Dances (Part I) comprises the first movement and Armenian Dances (Part II) comprises the remaining three. Each part consists of a number of Armenian folk songs from the collection of Komitas Vardapet (1869–1935), an Armenian ethnomusicologist.

Part I
Armenian Dances (Part I) was completed in the summer of 1972 and first performed by the University of Illinois Symphonic Band on January 10, 1973. The piece is dedicated to Dr. Harry Begian, the director of that ensemble. The work includes five distinct sections:

1. Tzirani Tzar (The Apricot Tree) (mm. 1–29), which opens the piece, begins with a short brass fanfare and runs in the woodwinds. This sentimental song consists of three related melodies.
2. Gakavi Yerk (The Partridge's Song) (mm. 30–68), an original composition by Vardapet, has a simple melody which is first stated in the woodwinds and then repeated by the brass. Its simple, delicate melody was intended for a children’s choir and is symbolic of that bird’s tiny steps.
3. Hoy, Nazan Eem (Hoy, My Nazan) (mm. 69–185) is a lively dance, mostly in 5/8 time, which naturally imposes an unusual pattern of additive meter. In this song, a young man sings the praises of his beloved, named Nazan.
4. Alagyaz (mm. 186–223), a folk song named for a mountain in Armenia, is a broad and majestic song; it serves as a contrast to the fast, upbeat songs that come both before and after.
5. Gna, Gna (Go, Go) (mm. 224–422) is a delightful and humorous laughing-song in 2/4 time; it builds in volume and speed until the exciting conclusion of the piece.

Part II
Armenian Dances (Part II) was again dedicated to Dr. Harry Begian, and was premiered on April 4, 1976 in Urbana, Illinois by the University of Illinois Symphonic Band, Dr. Begian conducting. Part II consists of three movements, each based upon a single Armenian folk song.

1. Hov Arek. A lyrical song in which a young man implores the mountains to send a breeze to rid him of his woes. It is a deeply moving song in which the delicate melodic line encompasses a wide range of expression. Hov Arek means "come, breeze;" however, on the score Dr. Reed put the translation as "The Peasant's Plea."
2. Khoomar. A female Armenian name. It was originally arranged for soprano with mixed chorus by Gomidas Vartabed. In this energetic, light-hearted dance song, a joyous Armenian village scene is depicted in which two young people meet and marry. This song is characterized by its vital rhythmic patterns. Dr. Reed subtitled this movement as "Wedding Dance."
3. Lorva Horovel. The original music has a complex improvisational melody which was extensively researched by Vartabed. In its rich rhythmic and melodic structure, it reveals elements dating back to Pre-Christian times. The song is connected with the farmer and his physical and spiritual being during his work. It is the immediate result of his labor, with his pleas to the oxen and his exclamations while plowing. These expressions resound throughout the free flowing melody, rhythmic and intervallic structure of this beautiful song. It is a plow song from the district of Lori, and Dr. Reed subtitled it "Songs from Lori."

* Program Note by Alfred Reed, from the scores to Armenian Dances (Part I) and Part II
* Historical Note by Dr. Violet Vagramian, Florida International University, from the scores to Armenian Dances (Part I) and Part II


    PW:Fagraea fragrans

    Please feel free to make some comments, they go a long way to encourage me to continue my blog contributions.

  2. This is a great find. I am Armenian and I know these melodies well, the arrangements are compelling. This and the Horenstein recoding of Mahler's 3rd are much appreciated. Thank you.

  3. Wow!! This is complete new to me thanks Yun-mig!! Thanks!

  4. Dear Christian, it's great to know the music has reached you well. As you aptly put, the arrangements are done with much heart and care put in, and I might add, played with equal conviction here.

    Dear Horacio, I hope you'll enjoy the music as much as I did. ^_^

  5. Below is a youtube link to a video of a performance of Armenian Dances, Part I:

    It is performed here by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. (One of the best wind orchestras in the world)

  6. I like very much the info and reviews you give for each record you present here! :)

  7. I hope you forgive me but I decided to listen to it not for Armenian Dances but for Symphony never seen in Internet.

    What a brilliant sound of the band!

    Thank you very much!

  8. Yes fantastic record!! Thanks a lot!! Looking forward for your next post!!!!!:))

  9. Hi!! I´m new guy in the town in this excellent blog Can you re-uploaded the CD? Please Thanks