Here's a collegiate band disc that's way above the norm in terms of invention, offering a program that looks back at several previous centenary celebrations of the landing of Europeans at what became Jamestown, VA, in 1607. There were no marching bands in 1607 in the West, of course, but a new piece, The Trumpeter of Jamestowne, composed by Randolph W. Cabell for the 2007 celebration, incorporates a tune that would have been known to the original colonists. The center of the program is a set of pieces from the 1807 Jubilee, interspersed with narration (mostly tributes to the founding fathers of the U.S.) actually taken from written proceedings of the event. That's quite a show of scholarly commitment for a college performing organization, and much of the music from the 1807 group is pretty obscure; the booklet makes interesting reading. One tune, To Anacreon in Heaven, is better known as The Star-Spangled Banner; the uncertainty of the booklet's statement that "Francis Scott Key may have had this melody in mind" is hard to understand. The 1907 set, featuring ragtime pieces and another work that looks back to the events of 1607, has no narration but is also entertaining. The young musicians of the Wind Ensemble at Lehigh University are up to even the 1907 selections, which presupposed the capabilities of a top-notch professional band, and despite an indifferent sound environment this is a band disc that actually widens one's appreciation of the genre.
Jamestown Jubilee, 1607-2007 Review
by James Manheim