RIC Wind Ensemble to showcase “European Gems” Oct. 8

The RIC Wind Ensemble will showcase “European Gems” of the wind band repertoire in its first concert of the season on Friday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. in the Nazarian Center’s Sapinsley Hall. Local high school students will perform in tandem with the Wind Ensemble for the final pieces of the program.

RIC Wind Ensemble

“America has been, and continues to be, at the center of wind band development over the past century but it by no means is the only place where great music for winds has been written,” said Robert Franzblau, conductor of the Wind Ensemble.

Robert Franzblau
“Most of the composers represented on this concert will be familiar to fans of classical music; they're a cross section of the greats. We're excited to present some of their gems,” said Franzblau.

The concert will begin with "Concert Piece for Four Horns" by Robert Schumann, a German composer from the early Romantic period. Schuman was one of the first composers to embrace the newly developed valve horn. According to Franzblau, it's a real showpiece for the horn section, displaying the emotive range of the instruments.

The program will also include Dmitri Shostakovich's "Festive Overture," Gustav Holst’s "Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo," and Mozart’s first movement of “Serenade in B-flat for Thirteen Winds,” considered by Franzblau to be on par with Mozart's finest instrumental works, including his symphonies.

The final two pieces will be performed by a massed band of over 90, as the Wind Ensemble will be joined by over 40 high school musicians from Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

They will perform the overture to George Frederick Handel's "Music for the Royal Fireworks." The piece, originally composed in 1749 for an even larger ensemble of over a 100 wind and percussion players, was commissioned by King George II to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession.

The concert will conclude with a transcription of music from the 16th century written by renaissance composer William Byrd.

Tickets for European Gems are $10 with discounts for seniors and non-RIC students; free for RIC faculty, alumni, students and staff. For your convenience, tickets can be purchased as follows: in advance via Visa or MasterCard by calling (401) 456-8144 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays; or in the lobby of the appropriate performance venue, which will open for sales two hours prior to performance start time.