STEVEN BRYANT: In this Broad Earth – Music for Wind Band; In this Broad Earth; Concerto for Alto Saxophone; Concerto for Wind Ensemble – Michigan State University Wind Symphony cond. by Kevin Sedatole/ Joseph Lulloff Alto Saxophone – Blue Griffin (Distr. by Albany) ****:
Contemporary music for wind band that is musically interesting and a welcome addition to the repertoire.
In this Broad Earth is an interesting and dynamic CD that showcases the music of composer/conductor Steven Bryant, who has several well-known works for winds.
First off is the title work In this broad Earth, a short fanfare Bryant wrote on a trip to Austria, where he says he was “inspired by the beauty I witnessed when hiking in the Austrian Alps with my wife, Verena – the music celebrates the earth, our only home.”
Next is Bryant’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone. Written in 2014, it features the alto saxophone because it was Bryant’s chosen instrument to play during his youth. It is anchored in the jazz idiom, and the soloist does plenty of improvisation. It’s a very listenable piece, with a wide dynamic range and interesting interplay between the sax and the ensemble.
Finally we hear the Concerto for Wind Ensemble, written 2007-2010. Commissioned for the USAF Band of Mid-America, it’s a solid work that tests the skills of the instrumentalists. The composer pays his respects to composer John Corigliano, and adds a good many of his own ideas.
From a sound perspective, this is a pretty good recording, done at Cobb Great Hall on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing. The bass doesn’t reach down as low as I might like, but the image of the band is a solid one and the dynamic range is good.
Having grown up musically playing in a concert band, I’m always happy to audition some new works, and Bryant is a skilled composer. If you follow this kind of music, In this Broad Earth is a worthwhile purchase.