The Wind Music of Donald Erb
University Circle Wind Ensemble, Gary Ciepluch; Stuart Dempster, trombone; Ross Powell, clarinet; Jan Gippo, piccolo; Kirk Brundage, percussion
Donald Erb’s mature style—encompassing elements of jazz, electronic music and serialism within traditional forms—is captured on this recording of five wind ensemble and chamber works dating from 1971 to 1991. When asked what he tries to achieve through his music, Erb responds, “the clarity of classical music, the passion of romanticism, and the freedom of jazz.” That succinct response pretty much captures the essence of these angular pieces, scored for winds, brass and percussion, unmollified by strings. Improvisation, or at least its quality of spontaneity and unlimited choice, is incorporated. The ensemble pieces develop massive walls of sonority and crushing climaxes while solo passages push instrumental boundaries and the limits of the players’ capabilities in terms of range and technique.