JAMES BARNES (b.1949): Beautiful Oregon, Appalachian Overture, Escenas de los Aztecas, Yorkshire Ballad, Symphonic Essay, Trail of Tears, Tribute, Music from The Wizard of Oz, Danza Sinfonica.
Catalogue Number: 05O083
Label: Mark Records
Description: Attractive, tonal works that skilfully utilise the rich, full sonorities of the symphonic wind ensemble. Two pieces evoking geographically striking areas of the U.S. open the CD; breezy, energetic travelogues with proud fanfares and evocative scene-setting. The pieces concerned with the Aztecs and the 'Trail of Tears' of the displaced Native Americans in the 19th century share a cinematic vividness of imagery, aided by 'primitive' dancing rhythms and instrumental effects in the one case, and traditional rhythmic and melodic references in the other. The Yorkshire Ballad sounds intentionally like one of Grainger's folk music settings for wind band. The Symphonic Essay is not as serious a work as the title suggests; full of bold, dramatic gestures, it could be a suite extracted from music for film, which is exactly what the Wizard of Oz overture is: lively arrangements of Harold Arlen's familiar themes from the movie, transcribed with humor and obvious affection. Danza Sinfonica is an energetic evocation of Spanish dance in the tradition of Rimsky's Capriccio espagnol or Ravel's Alborada del gracioso, full of color and vitality. UTEP Wind Symphony; Ron Hufstader.