Hodgson Wind Ensemble opens School of Music season evoking fire, ice, climate change

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The Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s first major concert of the 2017-2018 season evokes fire and ice in a Hodgson Wind Ensemble performance in Hodgson Concert Hall on Friday, Sept. 1, at 8 p.m.

The Hodgson School’s premier wind ensemble—led by Cynthia Johnston Turner, director of bands—is no stranger to adventurous, evocative works, but this concert’s program is particularly ambitious.

“The concert is a narrative from heat to ice,” said Johnston Turner. “And more subtly, it is a commentary on climate change.”

To pursue this concept, the concert opens with “Figures Sonores” by Dutch composer Henk Badings. Johnston Turner says this “sets up the ‘everyman/woman’” and establishes the main character of the concert.

Dai Fujikura’s “Frozen Heat” follows. Fujikura’s output includes an array of works, from a full-length opera to jazz-inspired chamber and solo works.

“’Frozen Heat’ is based on the articulation of the accented note,” said Johnston Turner. “It's angular with an infectious groove, but there is an underlying element of 'unrest' to the piece.”

“Poeme du Feu,” by French composer Ida Gotkovsky, portrays the danger in humanity’s reckless pursuit of industrialization and growth with a “sonorous depiction of the beauty and danger of fire,” according to Johnston Turner.

“This is an extremely powerful work by a composer who is underrepresented in the concert world and shouldn't be,” said Johnston Turner.

The ensemble returns to the standard wind band repertoire with Anthony Iannaconne’s “After a Gentle Rain.” This is perhaps the eye of the storm, the pleasure the main character enjoys despite the state of the world around them. Johnston Turner says the piece “explores the more transparent and ‘Romantic’ colors and textures of the wind band.”

The concert concludes with John Mackey’s “Frozen Cathedral,” described by Johnston Turner as “immense… a piece that needs to be experienced to be believed.” Expressing the all-encompassing nature of the calamity that awaits the concert’s protagonist, the piece places musicians on all sides of the audience.

Johnston Turner also hopes that the wide-ranging nationalities of the composers further underscores the universality of this issue.

“It is no accident that the program features music 'globally' by composers from Japan, Europe, and the USA: a fact that I hope will emphasize that we only have one home and it's in trouble,” said Johnston Turner.

The concert also continues the Hodgson Wind Ensemble’s trend of mid-concert social media engagement. Concert attendees in designated balcony “Tweet Seats” and online viewers—the concert will be streamed live at music.uga.edu/streaming—are encouraged to join an online discussion of the concert curated by Conducting area graduate teaching assistants by using the #HWELive hashtag on Twitter.

Admission to the concert is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the UGA Student Food Pantry. Information on the pantry’s mission and specific items it needs can be found at ugapantry.weebly.com.

The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music sponsors more than 350 performances each year. To view the performance calendar, subscribe to the weekly email concert listing, and learn more about the School of Music, go to music.uga.edu.