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United States Music

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« Reply #165 on: September 30, 2014, 11:31:48 am »

Music of James Barnes- Part 3

Fifth Symphony

Fifth Symphony was commissioned in 2000 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Central Band. It was premiered in May 2001 at Tokyo Metropolitan Hall with Col. Toyokazu Nonaka conducting. The Central Band, the premier army band in Japan, was formed when Japan instigated its Self - Defense Forces in 1951 at the conclusion of the Allied occupation. This 43 - minute work, scored for very large band including six antiphonal trumpets, is in four movements:
  • I.Eulogy,
  • II. Scherzo,
  • III. Reverie, and
  • IV. Jubilation.
The symphony carries the subtitle "Phoenix" to portray in spirit the resurgence of Japan since World War II. The composer writes:

Like the legendary Phoenix bird, which self-immolates, then arises from its own ashes more resplendent than ever, Japan has recovered from the massive devastation of World War II to become a greater and more respected nation than ever before.

Pagan Dances
The Pagan Dances completes the cycle of four ďprimitiveĒ works for symphonic band I began with Visions Macabre in 1978, followed by Invocation and Toccata in 1980, and Torch Dance in 1984.  All of these works employ highly dissonant harmonic combinations, repetitive melodic material, and driving rhythm to showcase the symphonic bandís immense power and dramatic color combinations.  This suite is intended to portray an imaginary scene from prehistoric times as if it were a scene from a ballet.  It begins with the entrance of the worshipers performing a Ritual dance before their idol god.  Mystics, or high priests, appear, evoking incantations and performing feats of sorcery before the worshipers.  Suddenly, The Master of the Sword enters, performing a savage dance that culminates with his execution of a sacrifice on the high altar with his broadsword.

Danza Sinfonica
Music in the Spanish style composed by non-Spaniards is certainly nothing new. One need only consider orchestral works such as Emmanuel Chabrierís Espana Rhapsody,Giuseppe Verdiís Il Trovatore, Rimsky-KorsakovísCapriccio Espagnole, and many others that have made music with a Spanish color a significant part of the rapidly expanding repertory of the wind band. James Barnesí Danza Sinfonica continues this tradition. The first 50 measures encapsulate the thematic material employed. After opening with solo marimba and bassoon, brief flurries introduce the principal motive of the piece, before the timpani fades into silence. An abrupt fanfare by the full band introduces the other principal theme of the work. The remainder of the piece is cast in a broad three-part format. Danza Sinfonica is permeated with colorful soloistic passages, brilliant outburst by the full band, surprise modulations and splashes of pure instrumental color, as the music transports the listener on a brief journey to the Iberian peninsula for a taste of classic Spanish flamenco.

Lonely Beach
To me, the most tragic vision of D-Day is the film footage of American troops disembarking from a landing craft onto the intense machine gun fire of Omaha Beach. One soldier runs out and makes it up the beach to the wall. Then two more. The fourth soldier gets perhaps 15 yards from the landing craft beforehe is hitand
falls. He doesn't move- he was probably dead when he hit the ground. It is an unforgettable and excruciatingly painful moment.

Seeing this newsreel always makes me think these same things: Who was that soldier, and where was he from? How old was he? Who were his parents? Was he married; did he have children? He lies on that beach with thousands of men around him, but he dies alone. On battlefields, all men die alone. The first half of this tone poem attempts to depict what that soldier might have seen on that cold, misty morning. It begins with the wind and the sound of the waves, then gradually builds as the assault begins. Off-stage trumpets and off-stage percussion are employed  in this work to help portray the incredible panic and total chaos of the situation. The music builds into a frenzy and becomes more complex and confusing until, ultimately, the soldier runs up the beach and is struck by the bullet which kills him. The second half of this work is a eulogy for all the soldiers, Allied and German alike, who died on this insignificant length of sand and
rocks. The shouting and gunfire are now but echoes in our imagination. Little remains  on these beaches to show that anything so significant as the Allied invasion of Northern Europe ever occurred along these shores, but, like Waterloo, Gettysburg, Verdun and Pearl Harbor, this will always remainn hallowed ground. Today,almost 60  years later, the ageless constancy of the wind and the waves reminds us of man's comparative insignificance in relation to the world around him, and it reinforces our realization of the waste, the horror and the tragedy of war.

About James Barnes:

Info from University of Kansas Web Page

James Barnes
Professor of Music Theory & Music Composition
Murphy Hall, room 222

Professor James Barnes teaches music composition, orchestration, arranging and wind band history/repertoire courses at The University of Kansas. At KU, he served as Staff Arranger, Assistant, and later, Associate Director of Bands for twenty-seven years. Barnes served as Division Director for Music Theory and Composition for ten years. This spring, he will complete his fortieth year of teaching at KU.

His numerous publications for concert band and orchestra are extensively performed around the world. His works (including seven symphonies and three concertos) have been performed at such venues as Tanglewood, Boston Symphony Hall, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and Tokyo Metropolitan Concert Hall.

Barnes twice received the coveted American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award for outstanding contemporary wind band music. He has been the recipient of numerous ASCAP Awards for composers of serious music, the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Medal and the Bohumil Makovsky Award for Outstanding College Band Conductors. In 2009, Barnes was awarded the first annual

BMI Award for Excellence in Teaching Creativity from the Music Educators National Conference. The world-famous Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra has recorded three compact discs of his music. Over the years, Mr. Barnes has been commissioned to compose works for all five of the major American military bands in Washington, DC. A recent CD release by the United States Air Force Band features two different works by James Barnes: Dreamers, written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of powered flight by the Wright brothers and Wild Blue Yonder, commissioned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the United States Air Force. The U. S. Army band recently released a new recording of his Symphonic Requiem (Seventh Symphony), commissioned to commemor-ate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. One of his recent works, Escenas de los Aztecas, was the required work at the World Band Competition in Kerkerade, Netherlands during July 2013.

Mr. Barnes has traveled extensively as a guest composer, conductor and lecturer throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. He has guest conducted in Japan over 35 times. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the American Bandmasters Association and numerous other professional organizations and societies.

There is a good article about him here:
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All download links I have posted are for works, that, to  my knowledge, have never been commercially released in digital form.  Should you find I've been in error, please notify myself or an Administrator.  Please IM me if I've made any errors that require attention, as I may not read replies.

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