Dump the string section of an orchestra and what is left? A symphonic wind ensemble. All of the power but none of the scraping. And when it is a finely tuned engine, that sucker can roar.
No wonder then that the University of St. Thomas (UST) symphonic wind ensemble based in St. Paul, Minnesota, named their CD "Road to the Stars" after Yuri Gagarin’s first manned orbit. He "heard an ever-growing din and felt the rocket tremble all over before it slowly lifted off."
The University of St. Thomas has commissioned new works for band since 1985 and this collection is the first to document some of them. The composers range from Guy Woolfenden of the Royal Shakespeare Company to film composer Nigel Clarke ("The Little Vampire"). Subjects range from Shakespeare to Soyuz, dancing bugs to Bohemians. Matthew George is in charge of this mission, and it is flawless. It may be a long road to those stars but the music skips right along.