EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


May 22, 2014

Wind power

Renaissance-inspired works will be performed by Salem Winds

People enjoy loud music.

“Human beings want the experience of being able to go and be overwhelmed by the sound of powerful music,” said Mark Aldrich, a retired professor of music at Salem State. “Before amplified music, to get that experience, you needed to have 35 or more players sitting together on stage to generate that kind of power.”

Wind bands got maximum volume by leaving their violins, cellos and other stringed instruments at home and playing only wind instruments and percussion.

“The wind band evolved — you can trace it to medieval times, when wind instruments were used outside because they were louder,” Aldrich said. “String players would play inside, in court.

“The wind band began to serve a function — they were used for parades, ceremonies and outdoor activities.”

Salem Winds, a wind band that Aldrich founded 12 years ago, will play on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall at Salem State University.

The concert, “Modern Wind Band Words Inspired by the Renaissance, Part 2,” continues a program that began with a performance last December.

The ensemble features about 40 professional musicians and devoted amateurs from around the North Shore, playing flutes, oboes and bassoons, trumpets, horns, a trombone, a euphonium — a small tuba — and tuba, and all sorts of percussion instruments.

“We have learned over the last 10 years how to resonate the hall to its maximum efficiency,” Aldrich said.

But as the function of wind bands has changed, so has their repertoire, and Salem Winds will feature works that explore the rich history of wind band music.

The concert will open with “Courtly Airs and Dances,” written by American composer Ron Nelson in 1995, a piece in six sections that Salem Winds also played last December.

“These are six short movements based on five popular Renaissance dances, each characterizing a different European country during the 16th century,” Aldrich said.

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