Listening Journal #3

I actually started listening to new music for the coming fall before school was out for the summer. It started when I found a great set of albums on the Naxos Music Library--Distinguished Music for the Developing Band. Each album has a selection of music for beginning, middle, and high school band, and the works included are superb. In this post (and at least one more later), I'll share some of my favorite listening so far and what I am looking forward to programming next year.

Courtly Airs and Dances - Ron Nelson

I can't believe I didn't remember this piece until this summer. I'm sure I must have played it at some point during high school. The combination of old Renaissance dances and modern harmonies is fun to play and a pleasure to hear. How could anyone dislike the Saltarello?

Suite from Bohemia - Vaclav Nelhybel

Great melodies in some modal tonalities, plus this is a pretty substantial work (8-9 minutes) at a lower difficulty level. I think the second movement is my favorite.

Salvation is Created - Bruce Houseknecht

There are quite a few arrangements of Tschesnokoff's beautiful hymn. This is the one I am planning on getting and playing this year.

Afterburn - Randall Standridge

The pacing on this piece is great, and it has a catchy hook. Perhaps I'll get sick of it by performance time, but after listening through several times this summer I do still enjoy it.

Old Churches - Michael Colgrass

While I think it will be challenging to sell some students on Old Churches, it will be worth it. I'm considering teaching some about Gregorian Chant this year (more on that later if it happens), and the graphic notation used in this piece is also a great teaching opportunity.

Please, share your favorite pieces! I'm always on the lookout for great music.