Divertimento for Wind Octet
Svend Schultz/ed. Dustin Barr
2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns, 2 bassoons
Set in four contrasting movements, Schultz’s Divertimento for Wind Instruments is a neo-classical homage to the eighteenth century wind serenades and partitas of composers like Mozart, Haydn, Krommer, and Beethoven. Works of this type were often, though not exclusively, scored for an octet of oboes, clarinets, horns, and bassoons and were a common form of courtly entertainment during the Classical Era. Schultz’s work joins Emil Hartmann’s Serenade, op. 43 and Asger Lund Christiansen’s Octet, op. 34 as examples of significant contributions to this genre by Danish composers. Though an entirely well crafted and serious composition, Schultz’s octet freely embraces moments of lightheartedness and humor common in Classical works bearing the same “divertimento” title.
Despite the work’s high artistic merit, it remains largely unknown to wind players and conductors today. This is surprising on two accounts. First, it is prominently listed as one of the top 101 works for chamber wind ensembles in An Annotated Guide to Wind Chamber Music (ISBN 0-7579-2401-8) by Rodney Winther, former Director of Wind Studies at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Secondly, the Danish Wind Octet released a suburb recording of the work on their 1994 album (8.224002 Dacapo Records). With these resources already in existence, I believe the Divertimento’s relative obscurity is due solely to its previous lack of publication and availability. With this new edition, it is my hope that many more players and audiences will get to enjoy this worthy addition to the wind chamber music repertoire.
Octet for Winds, Op. 34
Asger Lund Christiansen/ed. Dustin Barr
2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns, 2 bassoons
Asger Lund Christiansen is primarily known today as the foremost Danish cellist of his generation. He was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Music where he graduated in 1945. He subsequently enjoyed a thirty-eight year career as a member of the illustrious Copenhagen String Quartet. He returned to the Danish Academy of Music in 1965 as Professor of Cello, retiring in 1987 to devote his remaining years to performing and composition. Christiansen's compositions are remarkable examples of mid-twentieth-century neoclassicism.
Christiansen's Octet for Winds, opus 34, was composed in 1992. The work was commissioned by The Danish Wind Octet and recorded on the Dacapo label (8.224.002 Dacapo Records). In the style and spirit of the Octet one might find reminiscences of the music by Carl Nielsen, but Asger Lund Christiansen was also inspired by French composers (Francis Poulenc and Albert Roussel) and their elegant treatment of the woodwinds.
The work is an excellent example of the composer’s neoclassical style. It is cast in three movements. The first is a highly structured sonata form movement that reveals the composers penchant for long musical melodies interspersed with elaborate rhythmic underpinnings. The middle movement contains the work’s most dissonant textures. Its slow and deliberate rhythms allow the complex chords to evoke simultaneous feelings of eeriness and tranquility. The movement, however, does not take itself too seriously and finds opportunities to employ its dissonant extremes to comedic effect. The third and final movement is set to a spritely triple meter. In contrast to the lyric melodies of the opening, its short melodic statements are quickly passed from instrument to instrument creating a kaleidoscopic flurry of color. Christiansen’s humor is present again when the lilting principal tune is transformed briefly into a somewhat sarcastically cumbersome scherzo. This fleeting episode disappears and a brief return to the music of the central movement prepares the final dancelike coda.
Expressive Conducting: Movement and Performance Theory for Conductors
Jerald Schwiebert, Dustin Barr
Expressive Conducting: Movement and Performance Theory for Conductors applies the insight of movement and performance theory to the practice of conducting, offering a groundbreaking new approach to conducting. Where traditional conducting pedagogies often place emphasis on training parts of the body in isolation, Expressive Conducting teaches conductors to understand their gestures as part of an interconnected system that incorporates the whole body. Rather than emphasizing learning specific patterns and gestures, this book enables student and professional conductors to develop a conducting technique that is centered around expressing the themes of the music.
Drawing parallels to the worlds of acting, this text treats the body as the conductor’s instrument. Coaching notes derived from years of experience as a performance movement specialist offer readers approachable methods for eliminating communication barriers―both conscious and subconscious―to encourage optimal performance, highlighting acting theory, movement exercises and the significance of weight distribution. Unlike other conducting approaches, this text understands that conducting resonates throughout the entire body and is not conveyed by the hands or baton alone.
With a comprehensive consideration of the conductor’s body and movements, featuring over 50 original illustrations, Expressive Conducting advances strategies for improving one’s conducting skills in rehearsal and performance. Jerald Schwiebert has developed a practical language for expressive conducting. Together, Schwiebert and Barr present a text that is suitable for conducting students, instructors, and professionals alike.