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BCM... Saves the World

"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 Stide 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, MECKENHEIM, 25. Jan. 2006

"BCM International is the symphonic winds’ answer to Marvel Comics Fantastic Four!  In all seriousness this recording featuresfresh 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, Mar. 2003

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