Composer Donald Grantham breaks down his work J’ai été au bal recorded by Jerry Junkin and the University of Texas Wind Ensemble’s upcoming release Wine Dark Sea:
J’ai été au bal is a celebration of some of the popular/folk music styles of Louisiana— in particular Cajun music and the brass band tradition of New Orleans. The dance flavor of much of the music is suggested by the title (“I went to the dance”), and two traditional Cajun dance tunes are employed. The first appears near the beginning and later at the end. “Allons danser, Colinda” (“Let’s go dancing, Colinda”) is a boy’s attempt to coax Colinda to go dancing, and part of his argument is “it’s not everyone who knows how to dance the two-beat waltzes.” This touching little tune does work better in a syncopated two, but is usually represented in notation as 3+3+2. The second Cajun song is “Les flammes d’enfer” (“The flames of hell”), most often performed as a heavily- accented two-step. My version is much faster and lighter, and is introduced by a country-fiddle style tune. The brass band section begins with solo tuba, followed by a duet with the euphonium, and culminates in a full brass presentation.
Wine Dark Sea
The University of Texas Wind Ensemble
The University of Texas Wind Ensemble has firmly established itself as one of America’s elite wind bands
Active in the area of commissioning new music since 1988, the group has offered world premiere performances of works by many composers including John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Donald Grantham, David Maslanka, and Dan Welcher. One of the guiding principles of the ensemble is contact with the leading musical minds of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.