Spirited, enjoyable performance from MIT Concert Band
MIT CONCERT BAND
Conducted by John Corley.
Pat Kinney, clarinet soloist.
Works by Giannini, Grainger,
Jarrett, Bavicchi, and Hindemith.
Saturday, December 2.
By BENNY WEINTRAUB
THE MIT CONCERT BAND gave their second concert of the year last Saturday evening in Kresge. John Corley conducted the band, with Pat Kinney as clarinet soloist. The band did a fine job, sounding especially rich in the tutti sections.
The highlight of the concert was Paul Hindemith's Symphony in b flat, one of the greatest works for band. Corley told the audience that he conducts this piece every four years so that all the band members will get to play it at least once. (One member had played it four times.) The piece, written in 1951 for the US Army Band, has three movements, each with two important themes. The second movement begins with a duet in the alto saxophone and cornet, played beautifully by Edward Ajhar and Scott Berkenblit. The band did their best work on this piece, as they all seemed to enjoy playing it. They also did a good job on Praeludium and Allegro, written in 1958 by Vittorio Giannini, which opened the concert.
Pat Kinney, the principal clarinetist of the Concert Band, was featured in John Bavicchi's Concerto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble, Op. 87. Kinney, fresh from his performance of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the MIT Chamber Orchestra, did an excellent job with this piece's many technical challenges. The Bavicchi Concerto sounded like a cross between Copland's Clarinet Concerto and Boston rush hour traffic. Like the Copland, it had very distinct rhythms and numerous leaps in the solo part. But like rush hour, it didn't seem to go anywhere.
The band was less effective on Percy Grainger's Hill-Song No. 2. This beautiful work uses the wind sonority to depict the hills in the western highlands of Scotland. The piece featured nice solo passages in the clarinet, soprano saxophone, oboe, and English horn, but intonation problems made the hills a bit rocky.
The band also played a modern piece by Jack Jarrett, a composer at the Berklee College of Music. Symphonic Variations synthesizes many musical styles, such as the waltz, atonality, and jazz, into a set of variations. It was a good piece for the contrabass clarinet fan.
For the most part, the band gave an enjoyable performance. Some attention should be given to intonation and ensemble problems, but the group sounded very good as a whole. The band is now preparing for their tour of Toronto and upstate New York at the end of Independent Activities Period.