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Bob Spradling sent me a great recording, his last with the Western Michigan Symphonic Band, before retiring to the golf course.

Klavier KCD-11197

In February 2014, Naxos released on the Klavier label the CD “Shadowcatcher,” featuring the Western Michigan University Symphonic Band, Western Winds, and Western Brass Quintet conducted by WASBE member Robert Spradling. Included on the CD are Richard Danielpour’s “Icarus” for large brass ensemble, percussion and two grand pianos, Eric Ewazen’s “Shadowcatcher” for brass quintet and symphonic band, Kathryn Salfelder’s “Stylus Phantasticus” for wind ensemble and antiphonal brass, and Anthony Plog’s “Concerto 2010″ for brass quintet and wind ensemble. The CD was produced by Jack Stamp and recorded and mastered by Bruce Leek.

Program Notes


Richard Danielpour (b. 1956) studied at the New England Conservatory and at The Julliard School. His teachers include Vincent Persichetti, Peter Mennin, and John Heiss (composition); Benjamin Zander (conducting); and Lorin Hollander, Veronica Jochum, and Gabriel Chodos (piano). He has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The San Francisco Symphony, and the Pittsburgh Symphony among others and serves on the faculties of both the Curtis Institute of Music and the Manhattan School of Music.

Icarus for Brass Ensemble, Percussion, and 2 Pianos was commissioned by a consortium of colleges and universities, including Western Michigan University, headed by Jack Stamp at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The composition was premiered by the Keystone Wind Ensemble, Jack Stamp, Conductor, at The World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles International Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 9, 2009.

The Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus provide the background for this exciting work although the music does not reflect a story line. Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned in the Labyrinth on the Island of Crete by King Minos but escaped by the use of wings fashioned out of feathers and wax. Prior to their escape, Daedalus warned his son that he should not fly too low or the sea would ruin the feathers nor too high or the sun would melt the wax that held them together. In his exhilaration, young Icarus ignored his father’s warnings and flew too close to the sun thus melting his wings and plunged into the sea.


Eric Ewazen (b. 1954) studied at the Eastman School of Music and The Julliard School where his composition teachers included Milton Babbitt, Samuel Adler, Warren Benson, Joseph Schwantner, and Gunther Schuller. His music for wind band, orchestra, and chamber ensembles is well known internationally and can be heard on a variety of CD labels. Dr. Ewazen, the recipient of numerous commissions and awards, is in demand as a clinician at music festivals and universities, and teaches at The Julliard School.

Shadowcatcher was commissioned by the Butler University Wind Ensemble, Robert Grechesky, Conductor, and premiered with the American Brass Quintet in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 25, 1996.

Edward Curtis, the great American photographer, traveled throughout the American West during the early decades of the 20th century taking literally tens of thousands of photographs of Native Americans. He chronicled their ancient lifestyle capturing a time and place destined to disappear in the face of the modern age. His mysterious, beautiful, and powerful photographs had a distinctive play of light and dark, and the Native Americans dubbed him the “Shadowcatcher.”

Four of his photographs are the inspiration for this concerto for brass quintet and wind band.

“Offering to the Sun (Tewa, 1925)” – between the rock cliffs at San Idelfonso, a Tewa Indian, clutching feathers, raises his arms in supplication to the brilliant sunrise. The opening brass quintet music, with free rhythms and ornamentation, is influenced by traditional Indian flute music – complex and invitational. A quiet, prayerful chorale leads to music portraying the beauty and excitement of a new day.

“Among the Aspens (Chippewa, 1926)” – portrait of a teepee in the midst of a thick grove of Aspen trees bordering a stream. An introduction consisting of traditional Indian drumbeats and pentatonic melodies leads to a scherzo portraying the rushing waters of the innumerable streams and rivers of the Chippewa nation.

“The Vanishing Race (Navaho, 1904)” – on horseback, a group of Indians in silhouette slowly ride into an uncertain darkness – and uncertain future. Using motives and rhythms of Indian memorial songs commemorating the dead, the music is alternately noble, sad, tragic, angry, and accepting.

“Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon (Kwakiutl, 1928)” – dancers surrounding a smoking fire. The ancient Kwakiutl of the Pacific Northwest Coast had a belief that the eclipsed moon was being swallowed by a creature of the night sky. By lighting a bonfire of old clothes and hair, they believed the stench would make the monster sneeze, thus disgorging the moon. The music is a programmatic portrayal of this legend. A dark, cold night with clouds rolling in front of the moon leads to the gradual lunar eclipse. Using heavy Indian drumbeats, the fire is lit and the frenetic dance begun. The dance culminates in a brass quintet cadenza – a sneeze – and the quiet return of the moon as feelings of joy and peace bring the work to a close.


Kathryn Salfelder (b. 1987) was a doctoral student at the New England Conservatory and holds the Master of Music in composition from Yale University and the Bachelor of Music in composition with Academic Honors from the New England Conservatory. Her primary teachers have been Michael Gandolfi, Aaron Jay Kernis, and David Lang. She has numerous published compositions including Cathedrals and Crossing Parallels for wind ensemble and is the recipient of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize, and the U.S. Air Force Arnald D. Gabriel Award.

Stylus Phantasticus was commissioned by the Western Michigan University Symphonic Band, Robert Spradling, Conductor, in celebration of the School of Music Centennial and was premiered in Miller Auditorium, Kalamazoo, Michigan, on February 17, 2013. The stylus phantasticus (or fantasticus) was a style of music that developed early in the Baroque period and was found primarily in organ literature. It is organized in a free form much as the fantasia and characterized by the use of short, contrasting musical episodes and early fugal elements. Kathryn Salfelder has taken one of the proponents of this style, Dieterich Buxtehude, as a model and fashioned a new work with elements of his Toccata in D Minor, BusWV155, incorporated into her composition. The listener will experience all of the freedom of the style in Stylus Phantasticus as antiphonal musicians echo elements of Buxtehude’s toccata seemingly, at times, in conflict with the music coming from the stage. In other sections, the satellite musicians seem to complement the ones on stage as they work toward a sense of agreement at the end.


Anthony Plog (b. 1947) began his illustrious music career performing as a soloist and sectional trumpet player in such orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, Utah Symphony, and Malmo Symphony (Sweden) and occasionally as a film studio musician. He has also been active as a chamber player and was a founding member of both the Fine Arts Brass Quintet and the Summit Brass. His compositional career began with works for brass but expanded into many different mediums including works for opera, orchestra and wind band. Mr. Plog retired from the concert stage in 2001 but has continued as a clinician and, since 1993, has served as Professor at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik in Freiburg, Germany.

Concerto 2010 was commissioned by a consortium of college and university ensembles, including the WMU Western Brass Quintet, and was premiered by the American Brass Quintet and the Virginia Wind Symphony, Dennis Zeisler, Conductor, on November 14, 2010 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Concerto 2010 is a four-movement work presented in two large parts by the use of an “attacca” that connects the first two movements and the last two movements. In describing the concerto, the composer says the work was written “…for the combination of brass quintet and wind ensemble, and in certain passages the relationship between the two groups is the traditional one of soloist and accompaniment. But quite frequently this relationship becomes instead a partnership, with different voices of the brass quintet mixed with single voices of the wind ensemble, and the interplay of these two ideas provides much of the material for this work.”

“The first movement begins with the wind ensemble playing a theme that is calm and reflective, and this opening theme provides much of the melodic and harmonic basis for all that follows. After this short introduction, an energetic allegro introduces the brass quintet and in the middle of this allegro section, a jazz element is introduced which is based on the opening intervals of the work. A return to this opening slow theme brings the movement to a close and a short transition leads to the second movement which features the two trumpets of the brass quintet in many double tonguing passages. The use of mutes provides extra color possibilities.”

“Part two of the Concerto 2010 begins with a somber fugue in the clarinets and a secondary theme then becomes the main theme for the last movement, which again is lively and energetic. After a cadenza featuring the brass quintet, Concerto 2010 is concluded with a final reference to the opening theme.”

CD Track List:


Western Michigan University Symphonic Band

Western Winds

Western Brass Quintet

Robert Spradling, Conductor

Icarus (2009)………………………………………………………Richard Danielpour


Western Winds

Shadowcatcher (1996)…………………………………………Eric Ewazen


Offering to the Sun (Tewa, 1925)


Among the Aspens (Chippewa, 1926)


The Vanishing Race (Navaho, 1904)


Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon (Kwakiutl, 1928)


University Symphonic Band and Western Brass Quintet

Stylus Phantasticus (2012)…………………………….….Kathryn Salfelder


University Symphonic Band

7. Concerto 2010 (2010)…………………………………….…Anthony Plog


Moderato – Allergo energico


Allegro vivace






University Symphonic Band and Western Brass Quintet

Total Playing Time: 69:08