Aurora Awakes recording at John Mackey's Blog

March 10, 2010

Aurora Awakes recording

I just posted the first “officially sanctioned” (whatever the hell that means) recording of “Aurora Awakes,” as performed a few weeks ago by the University of Alabama Wind Ensemble and conducted by Randall Coleman.  As with any performance, there were a few tiny things I wish I could pull from another take, but this is a real, live performance.  I had the privilege of working with Randall, Ken Ozzello (Alabama’s Director of Bands), and the band for several days while they prepared for their CBDNA Southern Division performance, and I sincerely appreciate everybody’s willingness to accommodate all of my little requests.

I also want to give a special thanks to Brittany Hendricks, principal trumpet on this performance. She played the hell out of the part (I mean, just check out the high C in the first movement!), and she worked with me to figure out the best way to revise a few little measures that never quite worked dynamically before. She also was unusually aware of exactly where her bell was pointing throughout the piece, aiming it more at the audience as the dynamic and color demanded. This seems like a sort of obvious thing, or so I would have thought, but in my experience, trumpets often aim towards the bottom of their stand unless you explicitly ask them not to. (Hell, even when I write “bell up,” it often doesn’t happen.) For example, at the first high C in the first movement, she was aimed towards the audience, but off to the side — like “orchestra right.” Then, a few bars later, where I ask for “bell up, very bright in tone,” she did just that, with the bell straight at the audience. It was little details like that that really made the piece sound incredibly bright, and I really appreciated her work.

So the piece premiered nearly a year ago, and I’m only just now posting a recording. I’m sorry for the delay, but I think it’s worth it. This Alabama band is damn underrated.

I’ll also be posting a recording from the TCU Wind Ensemble next week. I meant to get that one up this week, but I have to fly to Philly tomorrow, and things have gotten too busy to get that recording ready. (They were kind enough to provide a few alternate takes, so I can do a little splicing.)

Speaking of Philly — I’m going up there for the world premiere of Harvest: Concerto for Trombone. Joseph Alessi (principal trombone for the New York Philharmonic) will give the premiere with the West Point Band, conducted by Timothy Holtan. That performance is at 7:30 on Friday night at West Chester University. The following night, the West Chester University Wind Ensemble will perform “Asphalt Cocktail.” Should be a fun couple of days!

But for now… Check out the Aurora Awakes recording.

3 Comments

3 Comments to “Aurora Awakes recording”  

    1
  1. At 5:34 pm on March 10, 2010
    jared Says:

    I am in tears. Thank you. Will eagerly await a CD of this. Looking forward to t-bone harvest, too.

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  3. At 4:18 pm on March 24, 2010
    Dylan Says:

    I just got word from my band director today that we will be playing this. I’ve played one other song by you, “Kingfishers Catch Fire”. I am playing first horn on both and am incredibly excited for both. Kingfishers was one of the most incredible songs I’ve ever played, taking slow and dramatic playing, mixing it with playful and then at the middle of the spectrum The heavy middle section blending all the triads and clusters. I just want to say…keep up the good work!

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  5. At 4:06 am on May 3, 2010
    guitar speed exercises Says:

    Oh wow, that is truly excellent. I would love to have a copy to listen to. I understand what you were talking about with the trumpet too. That can have a huge effect.

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