Thursday, August 7, 2008

2nd Suite in F for Military Band

Holst is best know for The Planets, but I knew him first through his 1st and 2nd Suites for Military Band. These are basic parts of the band repertoire, are easy enough for a good high school band to pull off. And they have baritone horn solos! Every baritone player loves Holst. I can still play large parts of these solos by memory almost thirty years later. This is the 2nd Suite. The baritone solos are in the 1st and 4th movement.

This Frederick Fennell recording is the definitive recording.

Movement 1:March:
Movement 2:Song Without Words

Movement 3: Song of the Blacksmith
Movement 4: Fantasia on the Dargason

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

In the Mood

Another of the charts from my Jazz Band days. This always terrified me. The beginning was manageable, but the end when everything gets softer an softer drove me nuts. I played bass trombone, and to be honest, I wasn't that good. The bass trombone part in that section is at the very bottom of the horn's register. Playing that soft and that low stretched by abilities. So of course we played it at the State competitions. We got a I, but didn't place in the top three. We were the only band to get a I other than the top three, so I guess that means we came in 4th. That's a lot better than the football team did.

Here is the master, himself.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Those Were the Days

Some songs are nostalgic. This song is nostalgia itself. I was first attracted to this song when I was in my early twenties, which just show how early one can become nostalgic. I suppose that everyone has a tavern that comes to mind when they hear this song. I have three. First is Papa Rollo's in Waco. Coming in a distant second is Eskimo Joe's in Stillwater, from before the time that they became a restaurant. Finally there is St. Michael's Alley in Tulsa, which wasn't really a tavern, more of a coffee house. St. Michael's Alley is gone, Eskimo Joe's has become civilized. Perhaps Papa Rollo's still continues.

This song has an interesting history. Gene Raskin took the melody of a Russian Gypsy folk song, Dorogoi Dlinnoyu (The Long Road), and wrote or translated English lyrics. (Not knowing Russian, it is hard for me to tell if it is a translation or not). It was recorded by several people in the late sixties. The definitive version is by Mary Hopkins, although it was recorded at the about the same time by Britain's Sandie Shaw. Later cover version were done by host of people, including Bonnie Tyler, Dolly Parton and Liam Clancy.

The song was also a hit in French as Le temps des Fleurs (The Time of the Flowers) for Dalida. I like this version very much as well.

And, since we are being international, here is the Russian version, sung by
Nikolay Baskov: