American Tapestry / Corporon, Lone Star Wind Orchestra

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Excellent program serves as recording debut of a new wind band. The excellent Wind Band Classics series from Naxos continues here with the recording debut...
Excellent program serves as recording debut of a new wind band.

The excellent Wind Band Classics series from Naxos continues here with the recording debut of the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, under the baton of Eugene Corporon, best known for his work at the University of North Texas. This recording could have been titled “American Optimist” or something similar, as the excellent program is dominated by cheery major-key music, balancing shorter and longer works in an excellent flow. Indeed, the selection and pacing of repertoire is one of the highlights of the disc.

Among the older pieces, the Hanson is the least likely to be familiar to band aficionados, and the band’s performance of this work is possibly the finest on the disc. It’s thoroughly convincing, and rewards repeated listens.

Donald Hunsberger’s arrangement of the Gershwin is excellent, and the piece is a natural for winds. There weren’t many places where I really missed the strings, though the arrangement does highlight some aspects of the score which tend to get buried in other recordings, lending the performance a unique sound. Overall, the interpretation is slower and more leisurely than other performances I’m familiar with. In the light of so many other excellent available recordings, I can’t see myself returning to this performance too often – it’s more of a curiosity than anything else, though not without merit.

Steven Bryant’s “Radiant Joy” struck me as the most successful of the newer repertoire; an accessible piece in the post-John Adams mold which somehow manages to feature the hi-hat cymbals without sounding inane. The appeal of the piece is primarily rhythmic, as it owes a clear debt to the complex syncopations of funk or jazz fusion. Catchy melodic ideas and extensive use of some less-common colors (piano, vibraphone, and soprano and baritone saxophones) add to the interest as well.

There are points where I wish the recorded sound was just a bit closer. Some of the vigor of the playing sometimes gets lost, as if the band is coming from a bit too far of a distance, especially on the Bennett. However it’s a subtle complaint, and the overall balance is excellent, including on the Gershwin.

The occasional discrepancies in intonation or ensemble are so minimal that only the most critical ear would know from the aural evidence that this is an all-volunteer ensemble. Their accomplishment is completely stunning when you keep that in mind. I look forward to hearing more from this group, which had only been together for a year when this recording was made.

Benn Martin, MusicWeb International


Product Description:


  • Release Date: April 29, 2008


  • UPC: 747313096879


  • Catalog Number: 8570968


  • Label: Naxos


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Composer: Christopher Tucker, George Gershwin, Howard Hanson, John Philip Sousa, John Stafford Smith, Joseph Wilcox Jenkins, Robert Russell Bennett, Steven Bryant


  • Conductor: Eugene Migliaro Corporon


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Lone Star Wind Orchestra


  • Performer: Richard Shuster



Works:


  1. American Overture

    Composer: Joseph Wilcox Jenkins

    Ensemble: Lone Star Wind Orchestra

    Conductor: Eugene Migliaro Corporon


  2. Merry Mount, Op. 31: Suite

    Composer: Howard Hanson

    Ensemble: Lone Star Wind Orchestra

    Conductor: Eugene Migliaro Corporon


  3. Rhapsody in Blue

    Composer: George Gershwin

    Ensemble: Lone Star Wind Orchestra

    Performer: Richard Shuster (Piano)

    Conductor: Eugene Migliaro Corporon


  4. Ceremonial Fanfare

    Composer: Christopher Tucker

    Ensemble: Lone Star Wind Orchestra

    Conductor: Eugene Migliaro Corporon


  5. Radiant Joy

    Composer: Steven Bryant

    Ensemble: Lone Star Wind Orchestra

    Conductor: Eugene Migliaro Corporon


  6. Suite of old American Dances

    Composer: Robert Russell Bennett

    Ensemble: Lone Star Wind Orchestra

    Conductor: Eugene Migliaro Corporon


  7. Washington Post

    Composer: John Philip Sousa

    Ensemble: Lone Star Wind Orchestra

    Conductor: Eugene Migliaro Corporon


  8. The Star-spangled Banner

    Composer: John Stafford Smith

    Ensemble: Lone Star Wind Orchestra

    Conductor: Eugene Migliaro Corporon