Brandeis Wind Ensemble mightily delivers Dvořák classic

April 8, 2016

The Brandeis Wind Ensemble put on their spring semester show this past Sunday, April 3 at the Slosberg Recital Hall, as always, under the direction of the admirable Tom Souza.

The first piece of the night, Antonín Dvořák’s “Serenade for Wind Instruments,” brought to audiences the typical soft, blithe melodies typical of chamber music, as well as a strength from the larger than normal integration of brass instruments that was unexpected, but by no means unwanted. Originally composed for bassoon, clarinet, oboe, French horn, cello and double bass, the piece seamlessly integrated parts for flute, alto saxophone, euphonium, trumpet, tuba and piano to reflect the unique instrumentation of the band. Though a considerable amount of talent was demonstrated from each performer, as is a must in such smaller ensembles, it was clear that Zain Walker ’18 on the tuba played perhaps the most crucial role in the piece in regards to giving body to the music and strengthening the bassline in a manner not achievable through the use of an upright bass alone. Though often overlooked and underappreciated in its role within an ensemble, low brass has its merits in the realm of melody itself, as Walker so expertly displayed during this performance with his staccato countermelodies and vibrato-rounded long tones alike.

The second piece of the performance was “Serenade in B-flat major, K.361/370a,” by none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Though with just as much emphasis on bass in this piece, it seemed as though it allowed the treble of the woodwinds to shine more clearly. Among these performers were Jaina Chu ’18 and Nathan Schneider ’18, whose harmonies as duet clarinetists provided a considerable amount of the driving movement of the piece. It was this balance, coupled with the much more lively music of Mozart, that truly brought life to the ensemble’s second and last performance of the concert, which so adequately were able to span such a diverse range of dynamics in six movements.

It remains important to remember that these types of events are not produced simply to provide an hour of enjoyment for family and friends of the performers, but rather to foster an environment wherein students are able to freely and openly express themselves through a medium they may not have access to elsewhere. Similarly, it provides an outlet that, in turn, leads to the creation of what is perhaps the purest form of communicable human emotion.

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