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Taking stock in the Week of Winds that was CBDNA National in A-squared. Of course, the reason I was there was last Saturday night’s triumphant closing concert of Maestro Clary‘s Florida State University Wind Orchestra performing the most intelligent and gorgeous rendering of As the scent of spring rain… a composer could possibly ever want to hear. And the whole program was superb, including the Grantham Court Music, Kurt Weill’s youthful Konzert Fur Violine (the first movement is a little hairy, but make it through and you are rewarded with some fantastic stuff), the most spectacular (and I mean, spectacular) Turbine I or you or John Mackey will ever hear, and Dan Welcher’s 4th Symphony, complete with a spiky first movement (I dug it) and percssionists banging ceramic mugs. Hitting things is fun.

The week was good … hanging with Robert Ambrose to go over the Concertino and make a whole mess of red marks on the draft score … discussing our upcoming project (More soon. Big news.) with Texas A&M Commerce’s Man in Havanna, Jeff Gershman, and otherwise going to concerts and talking shop about every gritty detail with Bryant, Mackey, and my Michigan Boys: David T. Little, Carter Pann, Joel Puckett, and D.J. Sparr … composers who all excelled in the very program for which I didn’t even make the first round and get an interview. Yeah that’s right. That chip is still there.

If I was there to soak in the beauty of Prof. Clary’s spring rain…, everyone else was there to hear the music, and I got in plenty of that myself. With the exception of a jaunt to Ann Arbor’s infamous Fleetwood Diner for the spectacularly yummy Hippie Hash, it was concerts concerts and concerts. You can see for yourself who played what, but since I’m in a list-making mood, here are my highlights:

–Puckett Blink. Joel might be one of those dudes who is incapable of writing bad stuff. I think he might be on a mission to make the rest of us look like hacks.

–P.Q. Phan Race Of Gods. A new one for me — really dug it.

–Nelson Rocky Point Holiday. I ask you, what else puts a smile on your face like that tune does?

–Bryant Stampede. I’m biased for my Brother, but that’s a terrific piece.

–Varese Octandre. Always a fun time. And fond memories of struggling to conduct it in college.

–Golijov Last Round, Levante, and Lullaby and Doina. This all-Golijov chamber music concert the composition dept. put together was a lovely break from all the wind ensembles. And everything about Osvaldo Golijov is pretty fantastic.

–Mackey Turning. This is not a pipe, nor a clarinet, nor a “band piece”. And it’s too good.

–Francaix Hommage A L’ami Papageno. The kind of genius I tried to soak in for the Concertino.

–Schoenberg Chamber Symphony No. 1. Hadn’t heard it live since grad school. No one does better bass voice-leading, before or since. Marvelous.

The entire University of Michigan program, Michael Haithcock, conductor.

–Bassett Lullaby For Kirsten. Well-known work, never heard it before. Beautiful piece.

For the necessary 1000 words, see the great pics at Chez Mackey. I dig the FSU post-concert conductor/composer shot (with permission from JM, that one will make my website gallery). I also think I have an excellent eye for photographing an annoyed Ticheli…

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