Sunday, April 20, 2014

Summon the Heroes! - Air Force Band performing "Summon the Heroes" by John Williams - OK State performing "Durrenhorn Passage" by John McKee at ITG 2012

There's recordings of "Summon the Heroes" by trumpet ensembles, but I noticed an interesting commonality between John Williams' piece and Durrenhorn. It's hard to describe specifically, but I've noticed that a lot of exciting trumpet overtures follow a similar form: rhythmic fanfare - beautiful solo - rhythmic fanfare. In addition, there's a lot of harmonic overlaps between the two pieces. And that's fine and makes total sense given that they were written and performed near each other.

However, the trumpet ensemble just can't quite carry that form as well. A brass ensemble has the advantage of low brass which is nice, but the John Williams also has percussion which is a desperately needed color that the Durrenhorn trumpet ensemble lacks. As a result the rhythmic energy gets lost in the texture and the solo, rather than being a massive shift in feel and timbre, just sounds like a slightly quieter fanfare section. I know it's hard to bring a full set of Timpani to ITG, but I'd love to hear more ensemble music get away from the purist homogenous form and grab a snare drum, set of chimes, or timp for color.

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