Saturday, 14 May 2011

St Clements Wind Ensemble in Edinburgh

The programme for St. Clements Wind Ensemble in Edinburgh this August has now been worked out. And it is a very ambitious set of works!

Friedrich Gulda: Concerto for Violoncello and wind band. Soloist: Johannes Oesterlee

Mahler arr. Schoenberg/Rainer Riehn: Das Lied von der Erde (chamber version)

Liszt arr. West: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

I've just been having a listen to a recording of the Gulda. It is weird, but sounds great fun! Part chamber work, part jazz, part town band, part cello concerto. The instrumentation is flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, bassoon, 2 trumpets, 2 horns, trombone, tuba, guitar, double bass, percussion, solo cello.

The Mahler is more familiar. I've not played Das Lied von der Erde before, but I have played various of the symphonies and other song cycles. Schoenberg started working on a chamber arrangement of the first movement, but never competed it, and the conductor Rainer Riehn finished it and the other movements in 1980. I remember hearing it at a late night concert in the Usher Hall in the Edinburgh Festival about 10 years ago. The instrumentation is 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, flute/piccolo, oboe/cor anglais, clarinet/Eb clarinet/bass clarinet, bassoon, horn, piano, harmonium/celesta, percussion, solo mezzo soprano & tenor.

Mahler normally goes in for pretty huge orchestras, he commonly asks for 6 or more horns in his symphonies and lots of woodwind. So one would expect a chamber version of one of his great works to lose so much that it is unrecognisable. But strangely, it does seem to make sense in this smaller arrangement. But having had a listen to a recording of it, I can tell that I will have a lot of work to do, and will need to be in tiptop condition to make it through. Mahler is hard work when you are merely one horn in 4, 6 or 8, it is going to be much harder when I'm the only horn!

The Liszt is a bit of a romp. It is my own arrangement for double wind quintet of the 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody, with the 2nd flute playing piccolo throughout. Ever since the music was used for a Stella Artois beer advert featuring ice-skating priests, I've been meaning to make a wind arrangement of the piece, and I was prompted to get on with it by Maren Heidemann (who runs SCWE), since this year is the 200th anniversery of Liszt's birth. This will be the arrangement's first performance.

The concerts will be on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th August 2011, at 5pm
Tickets £10, (concessions.£7) at the Fringe Box Office
and on the door at Canongate Kirk, 153 Canongate, (Royal Mile) Edinburgh EH8 8BN (Venue 60)

If you are in Edinburgh for the festival, do please come and see us!

1 comment:

  1. What a great program. That Gulda sounds really, really interesting. Hope you can make mp3's available like you did for Sea Breeze. Would love to hear how you arranged the Liszt and what horn sound you use for the Mahler as well. Wishing you and SCWE all success!