“Bach to Brubeck” hits high note

Palomar The Palomar Symphony Orchestra and Brass Ensemble honored Palomar theater’s namesake with its “Bach to Brubeck” performance on Oct. 25 in the Howard Brubeck Theatre.

The night’s performers played a range of musical compositions from several notable composers such as Johan Sebastian Bach to more contemporary writers such as Madelyn Byrne and Aaron Copeland.

However, it was clear that the show was dedicated to the late composer and former music professor at Palomar, Howard Brubeck.

The show’s feature presentation highlighted Brubeck’s G Flat Theme.

The piece was recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet on the 1963 album, “Brandenburg Gate: Revisited.” The piece was written for and played by the orchestra, but jazz musicians played along with the orchestra to provide the music with a more spontaneous feeling.

Athena Roth, a third-year-Palomar student responded with, “It made me want to get up and dance.”

Student Austin Lynch said, “That was a great part of the show, it was fun to watch.”

Time was also an underlying theme throughout the concert as the routine began with classical pieces, followed by jazz performances made popular in the 1920s and ended with featured works by more modern composers.

The show opened with the Palomar College Brass Ensemble introducing pieces from Alexander Tcherepnin, Johan Bach, and Chris Hazell but it was Bach’s Chorale and Cantata No. 118 that made the brass ensemble performance memorable.

When Professor Ellen Weller was asked why Bach’s pieces were chosen she said, “Bach is the only composer that I can think of where his music can be played well on anything.”

Roth agreed, “I don’t usually hear a brass ensemble play classical music but the piece sounded great coming from them.”

Also featured in the night’s performance was a piece by Madelyn Byrne called “Nocturne.” The piece opened with a long, sustained, melody where the harmony changed only slightly over a long period of time.

It was piece that was originally conceived as a dedication to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescope. That was the reason the opening was made to sound so monotone. It was designed to evoke images of the night sky and ponder the question, “What is life all about?”

The concert ended with musical performances taken from Aaron Copland’s “Four Dance Episodes” from Rodeo featuring Buckaroo Holiday, Corral Nocturne, Saturday Night Waltz, and a famous piece known as the “Hoedown.”

The Rodeo pieces are about a woman in rural America who is trying to “corral” a man. She goes to a dance where she meets a man, the two dance, and eventually the woman finally gets the man that she was looking for.

For information on future performances of the The Palomar Symphony Orchestra and Brass Ensemble, visit www2.palomar.edu/performingarts/.

Author: Ralph Chapoco

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