The Isle of Man Wind Orchestra is to give the European première of Midwinter, a new work by Clare Shore, at its summer concert on July 10th.
Florida-based Ms Shore, only the second woman to earn the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the world-famous Juilliard School, is travelling to the Island to attend the performance in Peel Cathedral and also the Tynwald Day ceremony on July 7th.
The orchestra’s chairman Michael Morrison said the decision to work with Ms Shore was to discover more about the American tradition of wind orchestra music, noted for its vibrancy.
Ahead of her visit Ms Shore said: ‘It has been a delight working from a distance with the Isle of Man Wind Orchestra’s musical director Paul Dunderdale and chairman Michael Morrison over the past several months. I am looking forward to “crossing the pond” shortly, meeting them and the players face to face and making music with them.
‘I am excited also about having a week to absorb the Manx culture and to learn as much as I can about the unique history of the Island and its people. Experiencing portions of the streamed Tynwald Day celebrations last July really piqued my interest; and what a year to visit the Isle of Man this is – the Island of Culture 2014 events are capturing the interest of folks all over the globe. Attending the Tynwald garden party and the Tynwald Day celebrations are going to be experiences that I’m sure I’ll never forget.
‘Although the performance of my Midwinter is being billed as a European première, it is actually the world première of the version for winds and I’m very anxious to hear the Isle of Man Wind Orchestra play it as the original version of the piece was for full orchestra.
‘In many ways it was challenging to arrange this piece for winds; there were some “special effects” written expressly for the stringed instruments that were a bit tricky to duplicate using only winds. Also, at some points, the violins in the original version play in a very high register which is very difficult to play by most wind instruments. I understand that the acoustics in Peel Cathedral are marvellous and I’m sure the group will sound magnificent playing the concert there.’
Mr Morrison said: ‘The concert should provide something of interest for everyone. The programme offers an eclectic mix of music and features a number of pieces composed and arranged by Paul Dunderdale, including, on the lighter side, his concert march Snaefell Wheel and arrangements of The Laxey Wheel and the well-known Manx-based music hall songs Flanagan and Kelly from The isle of Man.’
The programme also includes Finnegan’s Wake by Archibald Potter and Blue Moon by Warren Barker.
Adding to the mix is Mannin Veen, a rarely performed piece by Haydn Wood, originally written for concert or wind orchestra. The composer’s programme notes describe it as weaving together a number of Manx traditional folk themes including The Good Old Way, The Manx Fiddler, Sweet Water in the Common and The Harvest of the Sea, better known as the Manx Fisherman’s Evening Hymn.
Mr Dunderdale said: ‘It’s been an ambition of the orchestra to perform this large-scale work for a number of years. It’s quite complex and requires great reserves of energy and concentration, so has taken a great deal of effort by all the orchestra members to ensure we do justice to this spectacular piece.’
Mr Dunderdale said that the work was so rarely performed it had required a worldwide search to find a conductor’s score. Searches in the UK including at the Royal School of Military Music proved fruitless; instrumental parts were available but not a score. A search on the internet finally led to one being tracked down to a musical director and composer based in Florida, Joe Kreines, who had written his own version of the score based on the original music.
Throughout 2014 the orchestra is being supported by Sure Isle of Man and the Isle of Man Arts Council.
Mr Morrison said: ‘The Isle of Man Wind Orchestra is an ardent supporter of Island of Culture. It provides opportunities for us to increase our collaboration with other cultural organisations in the Island and reach a wider audience. In this we are grateful for Sure’s sponsorship, which means young people can take part in our events and be admitted to our performances free of charge.’
At the request of the President of Tynwald, Clare Christian, the orchestra will be performing at the Tynwald garden party on Sunday July 6th and at St John’s on Tynwald Day.
The orchestra continues its contributions to Island of Culture with a concert of Celtic music on Friday October 18th with Caarjyn Cooidjagh which will début a new composition for choir and wind orchestra by Annie Kissack arranged by Paul Dunderdale.
For Isle of Man Wind Orchestra’s July 10th concert an admission charge of £5 for adults is payable on the door. (Children free).
For more information contact Michael Morrison, email@example.com, 437751.