This past week’s Wednesday concert series featured a brass quintet, Brass Works, which thoroughly impressed audiences. Henry Walker of Kenosha has attended several of the concert series that are hosted by UW-Parkside’s Music Department, and boasts that, “This is such an excellent idea to contribute to the community, as well as the students that attend…it makes art accessible.” In fact, these noon concerts are completely free and open to the public every week, which brings in a diverse audience. Sitting among young and old alike, students, faculty, and field trip attendees, this week’s Brass Works brought a unique pleasure to campus activities.
Opening with “Awake the Trumpet’s Lofty Sound,” the quintet delved right into its classical sounds that spotlighted their remarkable talent. The performance featured internationally known composers and even paid homage to the Midwest by performing some pieces from Wisconsin composer Daron Hagen. Led by Mark Eichner, a well-established band conductor and associate professor in the University of Wisconsin Parkside’s Music Department, each piece was introduced with the educational intent of understanding its artistry.
They played a beautiful Intermezzo that was based on an Italian opera. After being given a brief history of its Tuscan origins and an overture of its significance in the scene of the opera, the composition incited love, longing, and indecision in its languid melody. Without this foreknowledge, the feeling the audience was meant to have very well could have been lost.
The final pieces, a series of four samplings from Andre Previn, was introduced by Mark Eichner as, “Jazzy and pianistic…hinting at its Hollywood influence.” If you closed your eyes, you could envision the old films of the forties and fifties with their highly theatrical musical compositions. Highly upbeat, the boisterous notes stood out against the soft flow of the previous pieces and each instrument stood out in a very jazz-like rhythm. Different from the Intermezzo, Previn’s pieces seemed less formal and more fun. From listening, you could almost sense the passion of that old era that would have had the audience sitting in red velvet cushions in a gold leaf and chandelier lit music hall.
The only pitfall to this esteemed performance was the presence of so many open seats. As the season continues, hopefully the audience will increase in size. Although some students were present, Ashley Schweinsberg claimed, “I didn’t even know there was these concerts…now that I do I am going to try to go every week.” An excellent break to the hectic schedule of campus life, the noon concert series proves to be something worth experiencing. Next week will feature the performance of pianist Daniel del Pino.