Fairfax Winds | 05/16/08
Last night I ventured out to McLean to see Kathy play with the Fairfax Winds. Although I had good directions from Google, I misunderstood the winding area around the Chain Bridge and ultimately took it the wrong way into Virginia where an accident had brought traffic to one lane in the opposite direction I needed to go. By the time it got all straightened out I was able to arrive at 7:28 for the 7:30 concert and grabbed a seat next to Chris. I guess that's why you leave so early for things. The concert was by far the best band concert I'd been to in at least four years. They played a couple of pieces by David Maslanka, who just happened to be sitting in the row ahead of us. As the pre-eminent band composer of our generation he didn't really look like how I expected him to--I expected him to have bigger, rounder hair but he obviously did not. I don't particularly care for his music (and I think can safely say that as the pre-eminent steel band composer of our generation) but I think he writes well, if that makes sense--I think he has great craft in his orchestration...bandation; especially voicing the brass parts.
I think the main reason I don't care for band music is that all the high parts have to be played in the woodwinds and, with the exception of the flute, all sound awful up high. There's nothing like screeching clarinet/oboe/saxophone (gag) (Sorry Chris) in their upper registers while playing what should be a pleasant melody to make your stomach turn. I also still don't understand what a double bass is supposed to do in a band--isn't that what tubas are for? The double bass is of course preferable to the tuba 100% of the time but isn't the point of a band to give all of the most repugnant instruments (euphonium) a chance to play?