(That's "tih-KAY-lee" for those of you who don't grok Italian, by the way.)
Frank Ticheli is one of those composers that writes the sort of modern stuff that typically only gets played by academic ensembles. As expected, he gives us lots of atmospherics, mixed measure, drifting tonality, purely rhythmic stuff, etc. The thing is, while his compositions aren't ground-breaking, some of them are quite exceptional and deserve a wider audience than just the few tens of friends and family who can make it to the Krannert Center for a Thursday night Wind Symphony concert.
While Ticheli follows in the footsteps of the great 20th Century composers, William Schuman is one of those composers. His works are very cool, very orchestral (even when written for wind band) and a pain in the ass to read, as they're written without key signatures and with rehearsal numbers ever 5 or 10 measures instead of at natural phrase breaks. Some things I'm glad we've left behind...
This edition of Plugs is a bit of a cop-out since I've recently played two of these pieces, but they're also two of the better wind ensemble compositions from the respective composers.
But Baba Yetu is just the first track on a larger, Grammy-winning album of international orchestral/electronic/choral music titled "Calling All Dawns". Each of the songs on this album is in a different language, and while many are uplifting, all have strongly different themes. Some are religious; "Baba Yetu" is a setting of the Lord's Prayer in Swahili. Some are secular; "Rassemblons-Nous" is a French protest song. All are powerful, rich, and definitely worth listening to.
You can hear the entire thing in sequence here, but you should really go throw some cash at Mr. Tin so he can keep composing. Since it's in a single video, here's the track list:
Baba Yetu - 0:00 - "Our Father" (The Lord's Prayer in Swahili)
Mado Kada Mieru - 3:29 - "Through the Window I See" (Japanese seasonal poem)
Dao Zai Fan Ye - 8:15 - "The Path is Returning" (Daoist meditation)
Se É Pra Vir Que Venha - 11:31 - "Whatever Comes, Let It Come" (Portuguese meditation on death)
Rassemblons-Nous - 15:46 - "Let Us Gather" (French protest song)
Lux Aeterna - 20:13 - "Eternal Light" (Last movement of the Latin Requiem)
I said last time that I'd been planning on plugging Brahms, but I got a little distracted by some other awesome stuff. And yeah, it feels like a bit of a cop-out to plug one of the most famous Romantic composers, but compared to his contemporaries, I think Brahms gets short shrift.
Ludwig van Beethoven started in the Classical period but paved the way for musical Romanticism. Johannes Brahms started in the Romantic period but created works with the epic solidity of his Classical forebearers. Brahms' compositions are deep, patient, and philosophically weighty. He does more storytelling with color and harmony and dynamics (especially in his vocal compositions) than any of his predecessors and the vast majority of his successors.