Wind Ensemble’s entire performance to be Maslanka’s Symphony No. 9

Wind Ensemble
Wind Ensemble

The entirety of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music Wind Ensemble’s final concert of the season on Wednesday April 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Kimball Recital Hall will be David Maslanka’s monumental Symphony No. 9.

In four movements, with a duration of about 75 minutes, the symphony opens with a reading of the poem Secrets by W. S. Merwin, which is paralleled in the fourth movement by a reading of the composer’s own Whale Story. Maslanka describes the symphony as “a large collection of instrumental songs which create a continuously moving tapestry of thoughts and images relating to the nature of memory, the life giving creative force of water, and compassion, forgiveness, and rest. The flow of the entire Symphony is toward the Chorale melody O Sacred Head Now Wounded at the end of the fourth movement.”

The performance of this symphony is the culmination of the ensemble’s artistic and personal development which began in late August, 2016.

“The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is one of the members of the consortium that commissioned the work,” said Ron and Carol Cope Professor of Music, Director of Bands and Conductor of the Wind Ensemble Dr. Carolyn Barber. “This will be our state’s premiere of it. Although it was finished in 2011, it is only recently that the circumstances arose to allow us to focus our efforts on this massive piece. The group is essentially a large chamber ensemble. Each player is responsible for his or her own part – there is no doubling, everybody is a soloist. While the technical demands are significant, it is the emotional contribution required of each musician that is daunting. Every person is called upon to explore a range of expression from intense and overt passion to intimate, deeply personal introspection. Another unusual challenge for the ensemble is the amount of silence woven throughout the 75-minute span of the performance. In the composer’s own words, his goal was to "open a place of contemplation in the listener so that when the music arrives at its own silence, that is the deepest point of contemplation.”

The Wind Ensemble is the university’s premiere concert band. Its select mission is to provide instrumentalists of advanced technical proficiency a pre-professional ensemble experience. With an emphasis on 20th century American compositions, the Wind Ensemble’s repertoire reflects the most recent technical and textural innovations, as well as the rich tradition of wind and percussion music extending back to the Renaissance. The objectives of the Wind Ensemble are to rehearse and perform repertoire of the highest caliber, encompassing the broadest possible spectrum of styles; to develop a high degree of refinement and independence in students’ ability to communicate musically in both chamber and larger ensemble settings; and to provide, through the study of the masterworks of the wind band repertoire, an anthology of styles, performance practices and techniques that will serve as the foundation for students’ ability to realize their professional musical aspirations.

“As a conductor, I have only recently reached a stage in my development that I feel I have the patience and emotional facility to guide the ensemble and audience successfully through a work of this scope,” Barber said. “The fourth movement alone is 40 minutes long. The responsibility of sustaining a train of musical thought that long is a wonderful and frightening prospect! I am tremendously proud of the ensemble and we are all excited to share this very special experience with the audience on April 19.”

Tickets are General Admission $5; Students/Seniors $3. The performance will also be live webcast: Visit the night of the performance for the direct link.