The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Hear the world premiere of “Fanfare for an Uncommon Man,” composed by John Stevens to honor music educator Marvin Rabin

May 24, 2011
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By Jacob Stockinger

Sunday night was a night to remember.

At their annual series of spring concerts, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras performed “Fanfare for an Uncommon Man.”

The short brass and percussion piece was composed by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor John Stevens (below top) to honor Marvin Rabin (below bottom), who founded WYSO in 1966, on the occasion of his receiving a Lifetime Achievement award from the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music. which commissioned the work. (I will post more about the various WYSO groups and concerto competition winners in concert, with lots of photos, a bit later.)

I found the Fanfare an appealing work that referenced Aaron Copland‘s famous “Fanfare for the Common Man” without repeating or copying it.

I also found the performance, under Stevens’ baton, dignified, dramatic and accessible in a modern way — and very well played by the students in the advanced-level Youth Orchestra who owe so much to Rabin.

The audience felt the same way, judging by the applause, standing ovation and cheers that the players, Stevens and Rabin — who signaled a thumbs-up approval of the piece — all received. The hall was filled with affection and respect.

It proved a moving and exciting as well as historic occasion.

But don’t take my word for it.

Listen for yourself, and tell me your reactions.

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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