FANTASTICA – The world of extensive possibilities

The world of the extensive possibilities of the richness of sound of a wind orchestra is presented by the Luftwaffenmusikkorps Münster under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Christian Weiper on their CD FANTASTICA. In one hour, five minutes and 44 seconds, the orchestra presents traditional brass music, contemporary original music and arrangements of popular titles in a varied sequence.

Starting with the Festival March op. 452 by Johann Strauss Sohn in the arrangement by Stefan Schwalgin, one gets into a festive mood. Stefan Schwalgin has contributed other arrangements, namely track no.5, Persian March by the same composer, track no.8, the well-known track “The Dessauer“, then slides into popular brass music with the track Elvis – The King and the well-known song from the musical The Pajama Gang Hernando’s Hideaway. This song is about a dark, somewhat disreputable place called “Hernando’s Hideaway”, where all those who shun the light of day find discreet shelter: con men, petty criminals and clandestine lovers. According to the text, all you see there are dark silhouettes and hear nothing but clattering castanets. Stefan Schwalgin has taken the title literally in a way, for he has “hidden” the melody of another, very well-known tango song in the orchestra at two points. Who will find it?

With The Sound of Crime (Music for a Thriller), Stefan Schwalgin gives the listener a goosebump feeling. With this original composition, he presents very typical scenes of a classic thriller plot in a highlight-like, musically haunting and dramaturgically coherent way, without wanting to tell a complete film plot in detail: After a gripping title music, a short transition leads into a gloomy atmosphere in which the (not further defined) “crime” occurs that motivates the plot. An atmospheric contrast is provided by the innocent, cheerful waltz that follows with the title theme, during which the “hero” of our imaginary film – perhaps a commissioner, perhaps an agent? – goes for a walk with his girlfriend. The two then end up in bed – not entirely unusual for the genre – accompanied by music also typical of the genre with erotically lascivious melodic sighs. Things then get dramatic: after a thrilling chase, our nameless hero finally puts the likewise nameless “bad guy” out of action with three pistol shots.

The Austrian Martin Schamagl contributes two works to the CD. His original composition Fantastica, which also gave the CD its name, is a varied fantasy for wind orchestra. The second track is an arrangement of the well-known hymn Von guten Mächten treu und still umgeben, which is a first in the history of the popular WOODSTOCK outdoor festival of wind music. It was performed on 30 June 2019 in Ort im Innkreis, Upper Austria, during a joint service on the festival grounds. Both visitors and active musicians were deeply touched and it represented the climax of a special peaceful large-scale music event.

There are also two titles by Thiemo Kraas. The first is a potpourri entitled 80s KULT(tour) #2, a continuation of the first issue, so to speak. Included are: Dein ist mein ganzes Herz (Heinz Rudolf Kunze), Wunder gescheh’n (Nena), Verdamp lang her (BAP) and Major Tom (Peter Schilling). The composition World in Color, which was written in December 2019, is interesting. It is written in the style of a singer-songwriter ballad and offers particularly many possibilities: For example, the piece can be played as a pure wind band version, but can also be interpreted with additional solo vocals, choir or even an instrumental soloist. With a low level of technical difficulty, this little pop ballad is accessible to many orchestras and can also be performed on a wide variety of occasions due to its flexible layout. Therefore, the title is included on the CD in two different versions, one with vocals and one instrumental.

The musical offering is rounded off with a composition by Otakar Pihrt entitled “At the Crossroad“. There is also the Fucik composition Husarenvedette as well as a beguine by Peter Schad Auf Wolke sieben (On Cloud Nine), as well as the concert polka Sternengucker.

The CD Fantastica is published by Rundel and costs about € 15,-.

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