A part of the Weekend Sound Track
Prev: Temporary Insanity, or The Weekend Is Not Over Yet
Honestly, there could be no better way to end a tremendous weekend than with gigantic, showy music... and brass. Lots of brass. No offense to the woodwinds, but... it's hard to get ear-splitting, badass, tremendous dark intensity out of a clarinet. That's where the brass excels. And so, for your listening pleasure, I have compiled a cataclysmic orgy of skull-smashing symphonic sound for your listening pleasure. I performed many of these pieces (all except the Mahler, Dvorak, and PDQ Bach) as a budding French Horn player in the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra and/or one of various community bands - and they are all fantastic.
1) Aaron Copeland - Fanfare For the Common Man (3:15)
Yes, everyone's heard this before. But it's really just too good not to put in there, and it's an excellent opener to get you ready for what comes next...
2) Antonin Dvorak - Symphony No. 9, "Aus der Neuen Welt." Movement 4, Allegro con fuoco (12:22)
I have heard this performed four times. The last time I heard it performed, by the Berlin Philharmonic, the brass hit so hard and so loud, my teeth literally rattled. The trombones penetrate right into your center... you have no choice but to ROK.
3) Jean Sibelius - Finlandia (7:45)
I had the good fortune to perform this as first horn of my local youth symphony. It opens with a procession of wide-open, all-out brass chords... the moment I saw what I was going to get to play, I was in love. This is a patriotic piece, as you may have guessed from its name. Any nation should be proud to have an anthem of this magnitude. Like the others on the list, this piece is designed to shake the concert hall.
4) Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 1. Movement 4, "Sturmisch bewegt" (20:35)
Sturmisch indeed! I don't think that French horn players are allowed to dislike Mahler 1. First comes the double-forte, then that most-beloved of directions, "Schalltrifter auf." This, of course, means "Bells up" - preferably facing directly at a hard, reflective surface, the better to project the untamed brass to the audience. Mahler wants to make sure you hear the horns. And then, we come to the direction "Stehen auf." Stand up - Mahler wants to make sure you see the horns! Love it. Watch for the trumpet fanfares around the 17-minute mark - the Berlin Philharmonic pulled that off particularly well.
5) John Adams - Short Ride In A Fast Machine (4:24)
This is not nearly as loud or showy as the others, and I thought hard about putting it in. I ended up deciding to put it in because of the maddening rhythms... the conductor has to conduct the piece simultaneously in two different time signatures. Just trying to follow a recording is difficult... playing it is deadly.
6) Jack Stamp - Gavorkna Fanfare (1:35)
Hard. Fast. Loud. Lots of tympani. Need I say more?
7) PDQ Bach - New Horizons in Music Appreciation (8:50)
Beethoven 9, with a play-by-play. It will get you going so hard you will literally vomit up your stomach and shit out your intestines, just as if you had Ebola. Internal organs turn to mish-mash in mere minutes. But don't worry... next, and last, is your shot at reincarnation:
8) Igor Stravinsky - Finale from Firebird (3:24)
Firebird is an incredible ballet about a Phoenix - and the Finale is how every weekend should end: reincarnated and hopeful. Finish up that work you've been putting off, get some rest, and get ready for next weekend.