I attended The Works of Thomas Root on Tuesday, March 24th. It featured the Weber State University wind ensemble and symphonic band as well as the WSU Band Alumni. There were many pieces conducted and created by Thomas Root. Most pieces were still unpublished but they were wonderful nonetheless. He also had pieces that were dedicated to people that he had come to meet throughout his life, and a piece was dedicated to his own mother.
The first piece that was performed was Lasst uns Erfreuen, which translates to "Let us please you". It originally is a sacred hymn that was published in 1906. In the program, it states that the piece that Thomas Root played was the Festive Variation of the song. It was written as a commission by Elko, Nevada High School. Out of all of Root's works, this one is the most frequently performed. As it starts, the tempo is allegro, then quickly slowed down to andante. The tempo changed quite a lot throughout the piece. The genre would probably be modern, but it also sounds classical. Modern Classical, perhaps. I enjoyed this piece, it was very energetic. I believe this was in common time, as for what the meter was. The harmony was homophonic and in ABA form.
Butterfly Dances was probably my favorite from that entire night. It is a set of variations from traditional Chinese folk songs which Root had expanded into viable melodies. It sounded to be in ABA form, but also seemed to be in symphonic form. It was very beautiful. You could hear the fluttering of butterfly wings from the wind section of the band. The last movement was more dark than the rest. It had a forte and mezzo forte dynamic, as well as there was some ritardando and crescendo in the piece. The tempo changed between vivace, allegro and andante. I really enjoyed it. Thomas Root really got way into conducting. He was jumping and flailing his arms all over, which was rather entertaining.
He had an Operetta aria, Glitter and Be Gay, which featured his daughter as the soprano soloist. It is originally from Leonard Bernstein's operetta Candide. I am completely unsure what the piece was actually about but that didn't stop me from enjoying the performance. My sister, on the other hand, didn't enjoy it as much. It was in ABA form, as were most of his pieces, and the harmony was homophonic. As his daughter would sing, the music would decrescendo and when she stopped it, it would be crescendo again. The tempo was allegro, and in common time for the meter.
The whole performance only lasted an hour and a half but in that time, I experienced a whole new world of wonder. I applaud Thomas Root and the bands that joined him that night. They did wonderfully and I must say that I would definitely go attend another performance by him.