North Texas University Wind Ensemble
Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor
Klavier / January 2000
REVIEW FROM CLASSICS TODAY
A new recording in the Klavier Wind Project series is cause for rejoicing around here, and this release is no exception. Unlike other band series recordings that present works popular at band clinics but that are easily eclipsed the next year by the new clinician’s favorites, the Klavier discs conducted by Eugene Migliaro Corporon present solid compositions that are real discoveries. This is music that you want to hear often. I was particularly taken with Tempered Steel, a bustling toccata to the human spirit that showcases bells, chimes, xylophone, and lots of other jingly, jangly metallic sounds to create a shimmering soundscape. Then there’s The Concertino for Four Percussion, which features more tuneful instruments than you might think possible, including vibraphone, xylophone, piano, and celesta, as well as a great variety of drums. Once the demonic fast section of this one-movement piece begins, there is no let-up until a final duel between two sets of bass drums sweeps the piece to a tumultuous conclusion.
I also enjoyed Niagra Falls, which adds triangle, bells, several other struck instruments, and rippling harp glissandos to Herrmannesque wind harmonies to create a swirling musical water journey. These pieces, and all of the others, are performed with absolute conviction, technical accuracy, and imagination. Corporon is no mere bandmaster, but a maestro of great depth and innate musicality.
The recorded sound is not quite up to Klavier’s usual standard. Everything is crisp and clear but certain instruments seem to have more presence than others, and the welcome depth found in other Klavier band recordings is simply too deep this time, sometimes leaving the brasses sounding out in left field. Sonic flaws aside, the disc is still a standout for its seven crackerjack compositions, and for the first rate performances.