Dana Wilson – “I Remember…”

 

Title

I Remember… (1998)

Dana Wilson

Biographical Info

The works of Dana Wilson have been commissioned and performed by such diverse ensembles as the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Formosa String Quartet, Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Buffalo Philharmonic, Xaimen Symphony, Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Syracuse Symphony, and Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. Solo works have been written for such renowned artists as hornists Gail Williams and Adam Unsworth, clarinetist Larry Combs, trumpeters James Thompson and Rex Richardson, and oboist David Weiss.

He has received grants from, among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, Arts Midwest, and Meet the Composer. His compositions have been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and East Asia. They have received several prizes, including the Sudler International Composition Prize and the Ostwald Composition Prize, as well as awards from the International Trumpet Guild and the International Horn Society; are published by Boosey and Hawkes, Alfred Music Publishers, the American Composers Forum, and Ludwig Music Publishers; and can be heard on Klavier, Albany, Summit, Centaur, Innova, Meister Music, Elf, Open Loop, Mark, Redwood, Musical Heritage Society, and Kosei Recordings.

Dana Wilson holds a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music, and is currently Charles A. Dana Professor of Music in the School of Music at Ithaca College. He is co-author of Contemporary Choral Arranging, published by Prentice Hall/Simon and Schuster, and has written articles on diverse musical subjects. He has been a Yaddo Fellow (at Yaddo, the artists’ retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York), a Wye Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a Charles A. Dana Fellow, and a Fellow at the Society for Humanities, Cornell University.

“I remember…” is a reflection on the music of four great jazz trumpeters, interweaving brief materials from actual recorded solos. The work was awarded first prize in the International Trumpet Guild Composition Competition, and given its first performance by Frank Campos in Evansville, Indiana, May, 1998, at an ITG convention. The solos, in order that they are quoted in the piece, are from the following live recordings: a. Louis Armstrong: opening cadenza to West End Blues (Smithsonian RD033-1) b. Clifford Brown: solo on All the Things you are (Clifford in Paris PR 24020) c. Louis Armstrong: first chorus of Butter and Egg Man (Smithsonian RD033-1) d. Miles Davis: Stella by Starlight (My Funny Valentine Columbia SOPL-160) e. Miles Davis: My Funny Valentine (My Funny Valentine Columbia SOPL-160) f. Dizzy Gillespie: Groovin’ High (1946, but album unknown) -Dana Wilson

Suggested Equipment

I suggest Bb trumpet. That was the instrument for which this was written and that was the instrument the jazz masters referenced were playing. There are no mutes needed.

Practice/Performance Tips

I highly suggest finding the recordings mentioned above by Dana, to do some research in to the meat of this work. The four jazz masters have very different sounds and approaches to swing, so this is a great opportunity to focus on those subtleties. In my interpretation of the work, there is a fifth character in this programmatic piece; that of a contemporary, “classical” player (you) that is perhaps fond of, or represents, contemporary unaccompanied trumpet music. This character knows the classic unaccompanied masterworks like the Whittenberg, Henderson* and Ketting*, but is also influenced, or admires these four jazz masters. To pull this piece off, we must approach it rather schizophrenically. We begin as our classical hero, then we are ‘interrupted’ by Louis, then back to our hero whose material seems to be a little affected by Louis’ interjection. The piece continues with these interruptions/interjections and by the end, our hero’s material seems to blend traits from all four as he (you) have the last say.

*There is a repertoire review of this work on this site.

(The recording below is mine, not Rex’s.)

 

Suggested Recordings

Rex Richardson, “Masks”, Summit Records

 

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