The Fairmont State University Collegiate Singers and Wind Ensemble presented a concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in Wallman Hall Auditorium. The Ensembles performed “Sounds and Sweet Airs,” a concert of music inspired the writings of William Shakespeare. The Collegiate Singers sang settings of Shakespeare texts by Emma Lou Diemer, one of the grandes dames of 20th-century American composition, as well as John Rutter and Benjamin Cooke. They performed a medley of songs from “West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein, a modern retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story set in 1950s New York City.
The FSU Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Valarie Huffman, presented two selections for the concert. “Sketches on a Tudor Psalm,” composed in 1971, by Fisher Tull, is based on a 16th-century setting of the Second Psalm by Thomas Tallis. The composer was motivated to try a second band work in theme-and-variation form. He considered using a number of tunes found in the Episcopal Hymnal, but gravitated toward Thomas Tallis’ setting of the second psalm. His reluctance to finalize this choice was caused by the awareness that Ralph Vaughan Williams had used the same material for his Fantasia for Double String Orchestra (1910), a work with which Tull was quite familiar. Nonetheless, against the advice of some of his colleagues, he decided to take the plunge.
The second selection performed by the ensemble was a transcription of British composer William Walton’s film score of music from William Shakespeare’s “Richard III.“ A Shakespearian Scenario as the arranger, Christopher Palmer, calls it; the piece is colorful and very detailed. The music for “Richard III“ was Walton’s last major film score. Walton remembered his score of “Richard III“ as “the fruit of mutual confidence and esteem” perhaps forgetting that Sir Laurence Olivier who directed and produced the film, had actually locked him away in order to force him to complete the music on time.
For more information about events of the School of Fine Arts at Fairmont State University, call (304) 367-4219.