Ten years ago, Glassmen celebrated its 40th anniversary in grand style, placing 5th at the DCI World Championships for the third time in four years, (including 1998 and 1999). At the 2001 Finals, the corps scored just 3.05 points under first place with a 94.30, the corps' highest Finals score ever. "IMAGO" took us south of the border, and south of that border, all the way to Brazil and Argentina, with a return stopover in Cuba. The music represented novel sounds that were still novel and unexpected in mid-Century North America. Delightful in its quirky South American melodies and bombastic in its passionate, hammering Latin rhythms, the show commenced with an extended primal drum solo leading into violent brass attacks that shook one's composure, culminating in a glorious standstill hit.
The first couple selections were by Argentine composer Alberto Ginestera, whose creative output essentially spanned the mid 20th Century. His "Invocation to the Powerful Spirits" from "Panambi" and "Impetuosamente" from "Pameana No. 3" highlighted the composer's enchantment with unpredictable outbursts of rhythm and melody. The heart and soul of the show was without a doubt the first movement, "Meditation," from Brenno Blauth's "Concertino for Oboe and Strings." Blauth, a Brazilian composer who lived into the 1990s, arguably created the most memorable melody to hit the drum corps field in 2001. (It is the excerpt in the accompanying video clip.) Transferred from oboe to a flugel solo, the corps' rendition was possibly the bravest commitment any DCI corps has ever made to depending on a single soloist. (The solo itself goes well beyond the 70 seconds excerpted here.) It offered a pleasurable respite from the intensity that bookened each side of it in the show.
Many have wondered about the source of this piece. A few years after the Glassmen performed it, a video showed up on YouTube from the XX International Chamber Music Festival in Belem, Brazil. I think you'll enjoy listening to Mois?©s Pena performing the piece in this video: Suddenly, Ginastera's "Panambi" came back with the "Dance of the Warriors," shocking the audience out of the complacency of the lovely "Meditation" and leading the way to Juli?ˇn Orbón's "Pavana" from "Tres Versiones Sinfonica," ("Three Symphonic Versions"). Orbón, born in Spain, wrote the work while in Cuba before leaving during the Cuban Revolution to come to teach in the United States. "Pavana" was based on medieval chants, but its joyous demeanor was opposite in character to what one might expect of such music. A drill form close to the end of the show was based on the corps' inverted triangle logo, a motif the corps has continued to employ ever since. This week only, you can save on 2001 World Championship Audio and Video Performance Downloads on the DCI Fan Network. Buy the 2001 Glassmen Video Performance Download. (Available this week only for $3.99. Regular price: $4.99.) Buy the Audio Performance Download bundle of all 12 Finalists from 2001. (Available this week only for $15.99. Regular price: $19.99.) Offer ends Monday, Oct. 3 at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Performance excerpt of the 2011 Glassmen.
Michael Boo was a member of the Cavaliers from 1975-1977. He has written about the drum corps activity for more than a quarter century and serves as a staff writer for various Drum Corps International projects. Boo has written for numerous other publications and has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. As an accomplished composer, Boo holds a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition. He resides in Chesterton, Ind.