On Wednesday, Sept. 26, The Music Conservatory of CCPA hosted Tower Brass of Chicago who took to the Ganz Hall stage that evening. There, Tower Brass performed a special concert free for the Roosevelt and downtown Chicago community. The company included eight members, all playing a variety of brass instruments including trumpets, cornets, french horns, trombones and tubas.
The octet included the founder, Matthew Comford, on the trumpet, along with David Inmon and Matthew Lee. Gregory Flint and Neil Kimmel performed on the horn. Among the other horns included the ensemble’s newest member, Ignacio del Ray Tomas Biosca who was on the trombone. Also taking the stage that night as regular members of the band were two CCPA music conservatory professors: Reed Capshaw on the trombone and Charles Schuchat on the tuba.
The group’s setlist consisted of a wide range of music by famous composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Medelssohn. It included tangos, marches and overtures, such as the lethargic, “Andante from Symphony No. 5” and spirited, “March from The Love of Three Oranges.” One specific piece entitled “Urban Litany,” was an eleven minute long movement and delivered a scene that could mirror the sounds of a typical, boisterous city, hence the title “Urban Litany.” The piece was created in three rhythmic movements. The first movement was a consistent build-up from a serene tone. While climbing into the second and third movement, each instrument anxiously grew to the intense climax that was the urban city the piece was attempting to achieve.
Each musician also had the opportunity to speak before each song, giving the audience some background and inspiration behind the composer’s thinking and why they, specifically, chose that piece. For instance, “The Love of the Three Oranges,” was actually premiered in an opera on the stage of our Auditorium Building. Hence why it was the grand opening number after intermission. The premiere took place in the 1920s and was commissioned as an official piece by the Chicago Opera Association that very premiere.
“Bilbao” was a piece that delivered some cultural flair. Composed by an astronomer in Spain, the song is entitled “Bilbao” which is a small city north the Spanish country. It was originally composed for the brass section of an orchestra with a specific part designated for each specific musician. Thus, each instrument and each musician was featured in the emphatic and lively song.
The performance was over two hours long and composed of 11 different songs all ranging in duration, personality and tone. Each piece was distinct from the next as each brass instrument was able to showcase their own melody. A few of the pieces, however, were played either as a duo, trio or quintet, combining different brass members for those separate pieces.
The overall performance was enjoyable and relaxing. Although the audience was lacking in numbers, the simple octet still played with an insane amount of strength and passion. Their strength and passion filled the atmosphere of Ganz Hall, giving the audience an entertaining concert to quench their classical music palate, while educating them on the musical pieces performed. Overall, attending a music conservatory recital is a different, yet quality way to wind down for some individuals after a long day, even if you are a CCPA student or not, events like this are also free!