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BCM... Saves the World

"BCM International is the symphonic winds’ answer to Marvel Comics Fantastic Four!  In all seriousness this recording features fresh new sounds for wind band you should definitely pay attention to…and you get the added pleasure of the Marvelous UNLV Wind Orchestra. Superb artwork and detailed program notes add the crowning touches to this  delightful disc.  Our world is saved!  - Bandworld Magazine,                   March 2003

"BCM International is (dare I say it?) the symphonic winds’ answer to Marvel comics’ Fantastic Four! Our heroes; Eric Whitacre, Steven Bryant, Jonathan Newman and James Bonney are dedicated  in their fight against wimpy band works! In all seriousness, this recording features fresh new sounds   for band you definitely should pay attention to . . . and you get the added pleasure of the marvellous    UNLV Wind Orchestra. Superb artwork and detailed program notes ad the crowning touches to this     delightful disc. Our world is saved!"  - Bandworld Magazine, Dec, 2002

"The title of the CD communicates a superhuman claim. If one focuses on the realm of symphonic      wind music, each of the compositions presented here boasts a great deal of “salvation potential”.       Eric … who form the pool of composers here presented a “Best of...” collection of their                    compositions which are aptly suited to find a way out of the blind alley between music for films        that has been watered down ever so often and modernistic tendencies. All self-addressed                   demands of the composers are fulfilled: works for wind band are all off the beaten track of                traditional ideas and they also lack stereotype tonal language.

           A rather unconventional overture makes the beginning. Whitacre’s Noisy Wheels of                          Joy parodies the clichés at home in classic overtures of romantic operas. Incredibly                             virtuoso clarinet runs are its climax. Bonney’s Reflections in a Tidal Pool constitutes a                      ruminant contrast to the beginning. It was conceived during some mornings of leisure on                   the beach of a Mexican island.

                Bryant’s Interruption Overture for youth band (originally Ouverturus interruptus) is                          regarded as his “greatest challenge as a composer” that far and was solved ingeniously. A                   pleasing theme is constantly interrupted unexpectedly by rude dissonances and aleatoric                    entries. It is written in such a way that even younger ensembles could probably make                         friends with more modern performance techniques. As a contrast to this, Newman’s                            OK Feel Good sounds very forward pushing and comes from his inclination to music                          of game shows. Without Bernstein’s West Side Story, however, this piece would                                 definitely sound quite differently. In Uncle Sid – Fantasy on a Folk tune Newman                              well and truly roughs up the Israeli 'Hava Nagilah', and he warns us: 'The piece                                   sounds funny, but wait until you really come to learn it.'

                            The best-known work of the 'remaining program' of this CD, and there is no doubt                               about it, is Whitacre’s absurd and pseudo-bombastic Godzilla Eats Las Vegas                                     which has already entered the repertory of some fine wind bands. Finally                                             Bonney’s guitar concerto Chaos Theory rewards to be mentioned. In it the                                          composer couples in a felicitous way influences of hard rock with classical                                         elements. The motley gallery of musicians who influenced him had to lead                                           inevitably to such a piece spanning all styles: Beethoven, Metallica, Johann                                         Sebastian Bach, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden Dmitri Shostakovich, Igor                                                Stravinsky, Frank Zappa, Anton Webern…

                                       Die university band from Las Vegas which already featured several works                                           by Whitacre and Bryant on its five CDs released previously, performs in                                              optimal shape and proves with emphasis that it ranges among the best                                                  ensembles of its kind in the United States.

                                            Finally there is the question regarding the meaning of the abbreviation                                                 BCM. According to Mark Morette, director of Mark Recordings, only                                                  the four composers themselves plus one other person do know its                                                         meaning. Said it, wished happy guesses (and walked away). On their                                                  homepage …. the four composers do not offer any further help. On it                                                   there are links to online contacts of the four, but you will only learn                                                     which one of the many BCM abbreviations distributed on a                                                                  worldwide basis is not the right one"  - Werner Probst Rotdornstr.                                                         6 D-53340 MECKENHEIM, 25. Jan. 2006 Übersetzung

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