Instrumental groups collaborate for enthralling performances

The Geneseo Wind Ensemble, Clarinet Choir and Saxophone Quartet—conducted and directed by adjunct faculty in music Ernest Lascell—collaborated for an enjoyable concert on Friday Oct. 30 in Wadsworth Auditorium. Wind Ensemble began the show with Gordon Jacob’s “William Byrd Suite,” which consisted of four movements entitled “The Earle of Oxford’s Marche,” “John Come Kiss Me now,” “The Mayden’s Song” and “The Bells.” William Byrd was known for both his sacred and secular choral music and was one of the founders of the English Madrigal School.

Following “William Byrd Suite,” Wind Ensemble performed Frank Ticheli’s inspiring “Shenandoah.” This piece is based on an American folk song of the same name. Ticheli was inspired by the freedom and beauty of the folk melody, as well as the natural images evoked by the words.

Wind Ensemble then performed Vincent Persichetti’s “Pageant.” This song opened with a slow, relaxed tempo that was followed by a lively parade section introduced by the snare drum and ended with the two principal subjects developing into a lively finale.

Following Wind Ensemble, the Saxophone Quartet performed two memorable pieces: Caryl Florio’s “Florio Quartette (Allegro de Concert)” and Gregory Yasinitsky’s “Bop Talk.” “Caryl Florio” was a pen name for William James Robjohn. He was successful as an actor, critic, player and accompanist—despite being almost wholly self-taught.

Yasinitsky is a professor of music and coordinator of jazz studies at Washington State University where he teaches composition, saxophone and wind synthesis. Interestingly, Yasinitsky earned degrees in composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and San Francisco State University.

The Clarinet Choir came next with an exciting performance of John Cacavas’ “Two Miniatures.” Cacavas was an American composer and conductor best known for his television scores, most notably for the television show “Kojak.”

The choir also performed Edvard Grieg’s “Holberg Suite,” arranged by Russell Denwood. This song was composed in 1884 to celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of the Danish-Norwegian humanist playwright Ludwig Holberg. It exemplifies 19th century music, which makes use of musical styles and forms from the preceding century.

Wind Ensemble returned to the stage to finish the concert with two songs: David Holsinger’s “Nilesdance” and Eric Osterling’s “The Nutmeggers.” “Nilesdance” is built on variations on a dance song and a rhythmic ostinato, which is a motif that consistently repeats throughout the piece, usually in the same pitch.

“The Nutmeggers” is the first of several popular marches by Osterling that are very lively and cheerful. Osterling began his music career as a professional pianist at 14 years old and graduated from Ithaca College before continuing his music studies at the University of Connecticut and The Hartt School of Music. During his life, he gained an international reputation as a composer and arranger.

Wind Ensemble, Clarinet Choir and Saxophone Quartet did a terrific job of demonstrating how hard they have worked through their precise presentations of these arrangements.