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January 23, 2014

Musical contrasts offer something for all

Musical contrasts offer something for all

PLATTSBURGH — A march, an atmospheric world-music piece, a quirky pretty-quick Bach and a South of the Border folkloric piece comprise “Contrasts,” the Adirondack Wind Ensemble’s winter-concert program.

The ensemble, featuring music educators and community musicians, performs Saturday at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts and for the first Eleanor Marcus Memorial Concert Sunday at E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium, SUNY Plattsburgh.

Adirondack Wind Ensemble Director Daniel Gordon usually starts with an idea and puts together a program to suit it.

This time, he assembled distinct and interesting works for the wind-and-percussion ensemble and named the program afterward.

COMMISSIONED WORK

“There are contrasts among the pieces in the program and within the individual pieces in the program,” said Gordon, who is a professor of music at SUNY Plattsburgh.

“What we have in the bigger picture is an energetic march (“March, Op. 99) by Sergei Prokofiev.

“We have the other special thing; we’re premiering the first work that as written for Adirondack Wind Ensemble. We commissioned it from a Montreal composer named Melissa Hui.”

The commissioned work is titled “Living Things.”

“She writes very atmospheric music about the interplay through various groups within the ensemble,” Gordon said.

INTERESTING INSTRUMENT

Born in Hong Kong, Hui has many world-music influences.

“The piece incorporates sounds reminiscent or inspired by a sho, a Japanese mouth organ,” Gordon said. “It’s a Japanese instrument going back to ancient times.

“It has 15 bamboo tubes that have a reed in the individual tubes, and all the tubes are attached together in a mouthpiece.

“You blow through it. You manipulate the pitch by moving your fingers. You can get multiple pitches at the same time that creates harmonies that are different than standard Western harmonies.”

In “Living Things,” Hui utilizes flutes, oboes and clarinets to recreate the sound of the sho.

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