It’s been busy around here, recently, with a lot of weekend activity, so I haven’t been able to rip very much vinyl lately, nor blog about it, either.
The most recent album I ripped was actually a three record set. I’m not quite sure why I have this, but I think I have a good idea. Let it be said that I think it belonged to someone else I once knew, and somehow it accidentally wound up in my collection. It is 1975 Texas All State Grand Concert (Silver Crest Records TEGC75).
The fact that I went ahead and ripped this demonstrates my insane commitment to ripping every single vinyl record that I own. There is no other reason than, “Because it was there.”
The first record is the “Masterwork Performance,” which feathers the All-State Choir performing with the Texas Tech University Symphony Orchestra. They performed Anton Bruckner’s “Mass No. 3 in F Minor.” I had never heard this piece before, so I really have no frame of reference, but to my ears, it was an exceptional performance. The funny thing is that I didn’t catch that the orchestra was from Texas Tech, at first, so when I heard some of the other instrumental pieces, I wondered why they weren’t quite up to the same standard. After I noticed that it was a university orchestra, it made more sense.
The second record begins with the All-State Symphonic Band performing “Festive Overture,” by Shostakovich, followed by “Theme and Variation,” by Schoenberg. Both of these pieces brought back some fond memories of my high school and college band days. These two were followed by several vocal pieces by the All-State Choir: “Lift Boy,” by Benjamin Britten, and “I Know Where I’m Goin’,” and “Leaves of Grass,” by William Hall. The vocal pieces were continued on side four with “Dominic Has A Doll,” by Peter Schickele. That one made me very happy. For those of you who are not familiar with Schickele, he is the one responsible for the hilarity that is PDQ Bach. Next on side four were two selections by the All-State Symphony Orchestra: “Orpheus In the Underworld Overture,” by Offenbach, and “The Polka and Fugue from Schwanda,” by Weinberger. Side four closes with “Elegy and Fanfare,” by Nixon, performed by the band. More good memories.
Record three, side five, begins with “Praise To the Lord,” by Nelhybel, also performed by the band. This is followed by the choir performing “Ne Irascaris,” by Byrd, “Die Rose Stand Im Tau,” by Schumann, and “Wechsellied Zum Tanz,” by Brahms. Side six, the final side begins with the choir attempting to perform “Cantata 50,” by JS Bach. This is, by far, the worst piece on the record set. It is, as they say, a “hot mess.” But the orchestra rebounds with a rousing performance of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” Finally, at the end of side six, all three ensembles combine for patriotic piece called “From Sea To Shining Sea,” arranged by Whitney.
Overall, this is a satisfying performance. Especially when you stop to realize that, except for the Texas Tech Orchestra on the first piece, these are high school students. The choir was by far the most impressive. It is hard to believe that the voices I was hearing were coming from kids ranging from 13-18!
One interesting note . . . the first chair trombone player in the band was Lynn Childers. He and I both went to East Texas State University and studied under Dr. Neill Humfeld. He was much better than I was.
There are no You Tubes available of this concert (at least I couldn’t find any). But here are a few examples of pieces that were performed.
The Shostakovich “Festive Overture”
Here is the 2010 Texas All State Choir performing “Lift Boy,” by Britten
And here is the New York Philharmonic performing “Orpheus In the Underworld.”