Music for Winds and Brass
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Major works for wind ensemble and brass quintet by a "characteristically" American composer whose music is beginning to receive the recognition it deserves.

Alec Wilder was a man of many parts, in every way unique and unforgettable. Always in coat and tie, possessing an almost Edwardian sense of courtesy, he lived a nomadic existence, traveling with most of what he owned in two suitcases. Enigmatically sophisticated to a degree impossible to describe, he could sit and talk to young children with a kind of innocent gravity, leaving them wide-eyed and attentive, then later he might blow bubbles down a staircase at a formal dinner party. Unspeakably well read, he would breeze through the London Times crossword puzzle (in ink), yet he never held himself above anyone, a genuinely humble man - albeit with no tolerance for pretension in anyone. As a musician, his discerning ears reacted immediately to a performer's style: a moment of his approval would remain a treasured memory for life. After all, he was revered by the likes of Eileen Farrell, Charles Mingus, and Frank Sinatra, and he really did know what was "right" and what was not. A composer of hundreds of songs and huge catalog of chamber music, Wilder created an oeuvre that is unusually diverse yet characteristically American. Categorizing his work has not been an easy task for musicians and critics, as it does not clearly "fit" into any one slot. That, along with his frequent use of popular and jazz elements and a penchant for writing lighthearted divertimento-like movements or entertainments, has often led to his being dismissed as not being a "serious" composer, while his craftsmanship and lyrical sentiment went largely ignored. In a society quick to put labels on things, he has been an enigma. While his music was championed by many of this country's leading performers during his lifetime, Wilder did little to further his own cause and shunned every opportunity to gain further recognition. Most of his chamber music was unpublished until the last years of his life. Now, nearly 25 years since his death, it is heartening to see new recordings by a whole younger generation discovering his music for the first time. This new Albany disc is just such an example.
Alec Wilder, composer
Children's Plea for Peace
Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, Gunther Schuller, conductor, Studs Terkel, narrator, The Appleton Boychoir

Alec Wilder, composer
Entertainment No. 1
Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, Robert Levy, conductor

Alec Wilder, composer
Three Octets
Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, Robert Levy, conductor

Alec Wilder, composer
Fantasy for Piano and Wind Ensemble
Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, Robert Levy, conductor, John Harmon, piano

Alec Wilder, composer
Jazz Suite for Brass Quintet
Chris Gekker, Robert Levy, trumpets, David Jolley, horn, David Taylor, trombone, Sam Pilafian, tuba

"Alec Wilder was one of the great 'originals.'" (Turok's Choice)

"The all star group...makes this music sound terrific..." (American Record Guide)
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