CMI here we come!

Posted by Martin Cordner on Monday, June 18, 2018 Under: events & engagements


Leanne and I are pleased to be taking part at the USA's Central Music Institute this August. Part of my responsibilities at Wonderland Camp will be to lead the Faculty Band (with Territorial Music Secretary Dr Harold Burgmayer), and the Wonderland Band (the top student band) with Peggy Thomas. I thought you might be interested to know the music I will be bringing with me.

WONDERLAND BAND
A Special Moment (Steven Ponsford)
Just published in the latest General Series journal, this setting of John Larsson's chorus is a real gem. It will be a lesson in lyrical and colourful playing.

Celebration (Leslie Condon)
I feel it is important to introduce Army 'classics' to the present generation, so this fine Festival March is one of a half-dozen pieces from the archives. Aside from the technical demands on players, the principal challenge is bringing out the detail. 

Corpus Christi (Robert Redhead)
Alongside 'Was Lebet', this is a work that I hope will stretch the band. It's pure class from Redhead and there are lots of memorable moments, not least that emotive final presentation of 'Give thanks'. It is truly one of the Army's greatest works for brass. 

Jurassic Park (Williams arr. Catherall)
25 years ago I took myself to the cinema to see this movie. I remember being moved to tears by the combination of the ground-breaking special effects and John Williams' evocative score. This arrangement, which I heard performed by Cory Band recently, captures the memorable themes.

Just as I am (Wilfred Heaton)
This Army 'classic' is an illusion: simple on paper but fiendishly difficult to perform. It is one of two Heaton works we will look at during the week.

Mighty to Save (George Marshall)
Stephen Cobb resurrected this march during my short time as a member of the ISB. It has remained in my mind as a fine example of Army marches. We'll take it at pace.

O Magnum Mysterium (Lauridsen arr. Littlemore)
This is one of the finer examples of modern, ethereal choral works commonplace today. Incredibly atmospheric, its long lines demand of brass players a high degree of sensitivity and control. 

On Active Service (Ray Steadman-Allen)
This work is a tribute to George Marshall, who the composer held in high regard. For me it is a combination of a traditional selection with more moderistic themes and motifs. It will be good to explore this well-crafted music with the band. 

Pulse (Martin Cordner)
Written for the UK Territorial Youth Band, this three-movement work challenges the listener to lead a life in tune with God; to the pulse of His heart. It has been featured by the ISB and is included on their latest repertoire CD, due for release late 2018.

St Denio (James Cheyne)
This classy and vibrant number sets the majestic Welsh tune in a number of moods. I know it from a 1990's recording by Black Dyke.

Variations on Was Lebet (Andrew Wainwright)
In 2012 I listed Andrew as one of Ten Emerging Composers to keep an eye out for, and I feel that now, in this work, we are beginning to fully see his potential. The work was featured by the ISB during their 2017/18 season and is scheduled for publication by SP&S in 2019.

FACULTY BAND
A Gaelic Blessing (Rutter arr. Steadman-Allen)
There's something magical about the harmonies in this short benediction, but there's enough in it to test a band's substance of sound. 

Aftershock (Martin Cordner)
Written for the University of Salford Brass Band, this work is a challenge to the Church to continue to be the Body of Christ in the world today. It will afford the 'oldies' in the Faculty Band to dip into contemporary church songs. 

Heavenward (William Gordon)
This is a pocket-rocket, Broadway-style march by one of the most exciting Army composers of the past 30 years. For the band it'll need to be style over substance.

Lord of all Hopefulness (Trad. arr. Downie)
I once heard former-ISB Flugel player Robert Foster refer to this arrangement as 'perfect', and I tend to agree. It is simple in structure, but full of colour and luscious harmonies. 

My Treasure (Wilfred Heaton)
It will be good to read this classic Heaton number with the Faculty Band. From a composition standpoint it is a lesson in simplicity and economy, from a player's point of view a test of control and intensity. Most importantly though, at its heart is the simple testimony that friendship with Jesus is the most precious treasure of all.

Rolling Along (William Himes)
I wanted to pay my own tribute to Mr Himes, who until recently was the man behind CMI for more than 30 years. This is a belter of a march (that he no doubt wrote in fifteen minutes, but I'm not bitter about that!) and will require style and swagger in equal measures.

Share your Faith (Norman Bearcroft)
This is a fine march, and in my humble opinion, one of the composer's best. I know it from the ISB's City Tempo (1977) album. I think the key signatures and high registers mean it is out of reach for a lot of bands, but I'm hoping the experience of the Faculty players will mean these are non-issues. 

The Shepherd's Song (Trad. arr. Richards)
This little gem by Goff Richards has been incredibly popular around the Brass Band world. It's not a sacred work, but I think it can work well as a devotional prelude to worship, or as music for the public at a concert or in the open-air. Its soothing melody needs careful treatment.

Do you share my thoughts on these pieces? Let me know in the comments below.

In the meantime I will be praying for a fantastic ten days of music, ministry and mission. Here's to a great CMI 2018!



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