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The Red Sled
Sandpaper Ballet
2019 Leroy Anderson Day
Leroy Anderson: An American Treasure, Unjustly Neglected





The Red Sled by Salvio Fossa

"The Red Sled"

Salvio Fossa's composition "The Red Sled" came to the attention of the Leroy Anderson Foundation and impressed us as an excellent work for beginning band.  We are pleased to bring this work and its composer to your attention.

About Salvio Fossa

The Red Sled by Salvio Fossa
Salvio Fossa

Salvio Fossa received the Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.  A band director and trumpeter, he has conducted both the North Jersey Region I Intermediate Concert Band and the Central Jersey Region II Intermediate Concert Band.  Over the years, he has composed and arranged music for various organizations including Grace Bible Church in Allenwood, NJ, Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Edison, NJ and Ambassador Christian Academy in Toms River, NJ.

Along with his brother Sergio, Salvio instituted a 4th-8th grade band program at Ambassador Christian Academy.  He resides in Toms River, NJ with his wife and three children.

About The Piece

Your band is invited to experience the wistful wonder of a snow day sleigh ride.

"The Red Sled" recounts the exhilaration of every child's first ride down a snowy hill, from the plodding climb up to the dashing and dangerous descent.  Simple grace notes for the flutes, percussion features, and trombone glisses are just some of the unique features of this very accessible work that will assuredly be a winter favorite.

Growing up in Edison, NJ, during the winter months, my brother and I would anxiously wait to get "the call" at the first sign of snow.  We knew that if school closed on account of dangerous roads, half the town would still find a way to Bishop Ahr HS for the best sledding in the area.

"The Red Sled" is a nostalgic depiction of such a day.  As the piece opens, we wake to find snow on the ground and by measure 9, are walking in the crisp, cold air.  We then drive to the high school (m26), climb the hill (m50, m60), and clumsily fall down the slope (m54, m64).  I truly hope your ensemble enjoys "The Red Sled".

- Salvio Fossa

Link to: Barnhouse page for this composition




Sandpaper Ballet

The San Francisco Ballet performed "Sandpaper Ballet" with choreography by Mark Morris at the 3,000-seat War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, February 11-22, 2020 for 7 performances.  Written for 25 dancers, the ballet is set to Leroy Anderson’s music.  The ballet received its premiere with the San Francisco Ballet company on April 27, 1999.  The enduring work has been praised for its wit, humor, and dazzlingly inventive movement.

The 25-minute ballet features 11 compositions by Leroy Anderson: "Sleigh Ride (Overture)," "The Typewriter," "Trumpeter’s Lullaby," "Sarabande," "Balladette," "Jazz Pizzicato," "Jazz Legato," “Fiddle Faddle," "The Girl in Satin," "Song of the Bells," "The Syncopated Clock".

One of the few remaining ballet companies employing a large, full-time orchestra, the San Francisco Ballet also performed "Sandpaper Ballet" in 2001 in Barcelona, Spain and in 2010 at Tivoli Koncertsal in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"I'm very happy that we'll be playing Leroy's wonderful music again.  It's a lighthearted ballet that always lifts my spirits." [Matthew Naughtin, San Francisco Ballet Librarian]

"It is a big, celebratory work that humorously plays with rhythm."[- Tina Fehlandt, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater]

"The fact that Mark Morris, a musical choreographer with a keen ear, chose to choreograph to Anderson's music is indicative of the composer's talents, charm, and broad appeal.  Here we are many decades later and his music is still widely loved, regardless of context." [Kate McKinney, San Francisco Ballet]

"With well-known music by Leroy Anderson, the ballet world's master of step language - Mark Morris - plays musically and humorously with his "Sandpaper Ballet", spiced with a beautiful, jazzy and nonchalant quality of movement.  [Vibeke Wern, Berlingske Media A/S, København, Danmark]

"The highlight is the revival of Mark Morris' brilliant "Sandpaper Ballet.  Though it's "just" a casual divertissement, it's one of the greatest ballets in their repertoire."  [Paul Parish, San Francisco arts critic]


Note: "Sandpaper Ballet" has also been performed by the Houston Ballet (2005, 2015), the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater (2015) in Chicago and the Atlanta Ballet (2019),




Leroy Anderson Day 2019

The 111th anniversary of Leroy Anderson's birth was celebrated at the Leroy Anderson House in Woodbury, Connecticut on the weekend of Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30, 2019.  Visitors to the composer's home on Saturday enjoyed tours of the house, listening to recordings of his music and sharing thoughts about playing and hearing his music.

On Sunday, June 30, 2019 many people enjoyed a wonderful performance of light concert music - "Divertimenti" - at the Leroy Anderson House.  Rebecca Nesmith, soprano, Jennifer Anthony-Bogue, flute, Susan Anthony-Klein, piano and Joseph Darcourt, cello delighted the audience with music by Mozart, Fauré, Rachmaninoff, J.S. Bach, Massenet, Franck, Gershwin, Bolling, and four pieces by Leroy Anderson - Arietta, Forgotten Dreams, The Typewriter, and The Penny Whistle Song.  Many thanks to the musicians and the volunteer members of the Friends of the Leroy Anderson Foundation for making this weekend and, in particular, Sunday's concert a great success.

The Leroy Anderson Foundation
Woodbury, Connecticut
June 30, 2019

 



Leroy Anderson: An American Treasure, Unjustly Neglected
Henry Fogel

I rarely use this space to review or report on recordings, but I recently came across one that struck me as important and noteworthy in many ways. It is Naxos's Volume One of the orchestral music of Leroy Anderson. Leonard Slatkin leads energetic, committed performances of a wide range of Anderson works, and Slatkin and pianist Jeffrey Biegel team up to show us that Anderson was capable of writing a fine Piano Concerto, one that deserves to be more widely known than it currently is.

But what makes this disc stand out for me is that it points out how little attention the American musical community has given to one of its own giants, just because his music fell into that uncomfortable area between "popular" and "classical." (God, how I hate those terms.) Leroy Anderson was a genius, as this disc amply demonstrates. He worked on a remarkable level of melodic inspiration, tunes pouring out of him like water out of a fountain. He wrote what we today call "pops" repertoire - much of it for Arthur Fiedler and his Boston Pops.

Other countries treat their composers of lighter music with much greater respect--whether it is Johann Strauss Jr. in Austria or Hans Christian Lumbye in Denmark, to give just two examples. There is a place in the repertoire for music of a lighter nature. But we're so damned serious in our concert life, so vested in making every concert an "artistic experience at the highest level," that we've neglected one of America's true originals.

Fortunately, 2008 is Anderson's centennial year, so his music is likely to get some attention. He wrote only one extended-length work, and that is the Piano Concerto heard on this disc (Naxos 8.559313, for those of you who still collect recordings, as I do). The work was premiered by the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago, under Anderson's baton with Eugene List as soloist, in 1953. It got mixed reviews both there and in a subsequent performance in Cleveland, and Anderson withdrew it. He intended to revise it, but never did, though toward the end of his life he is reported to have found himself coming around to the piece again. After his death, his widow Eleanor Anderson decided to release it in its original form, and Jeffrey Biegel is one of its main proponents now. One wishes that the critics had been more open to this tuneful, colorful piece--perhaps Anderson would have been encouraged to write more music in larger forms.

But no matter. We shouldn't fall into the trap of diminishing the importance of Anderson just because most of his pieces are three or four minutes long, tuneful, and toe-tappingly rhythmic. The one American composer in this vein whom we seem to have treated well is John Philip Sousa. Perhaps Anderson's time is finally coming. This disc shows that he is a true American treasure, and great fun to listen to.

Henry Fogel
"on the record"
Arts Journal
June 11, 2008

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