Colors ( november 19th, 2011. Project orchestra of Kreismusikschule and Kreismusikverband Rhein-Pfalz-Kreis. Director: Alan Valotta)

– Die Rhein-Pfalz (Ludwigshafen,Germany) – november 21, 2011

…with ‘Colors’, Edward Ferdinand has written a piece about the search for adventure, a suite in six movements for concert band and two quintets of soloists (woodwind and brass) about the hero John Carter. Most variedly, vividly and in a colourful musical manner the piece depicts Carters journey to Mars, where he falls in love with a princess.

The first movement begins with a march-like theme. The low brass begins, the flutes pick up the theme and add lightness to the march, until dark tones and fast rhythms herald some of the dramatic journey that is about to unfold. In the second movement the hero is lured further with low tones. A dance-like, fairy tale dialogue of woodwind and brass ends up in a swirl our hero cannot escape from.

The third movement depicts, as Sabine Pfeifer explained, “the marvelous experience of entering a new, unknown world”. Glockenspiel, solo flute and solo bassoon create a particular athmosphere, and express unfamiliarity, awe and uncertainty of the hero. Before their inner eye the audience can almost see him walking step by step, or peeking round the corner.

Plaintive music of the oboe and bassoon dominate the fourth movement. Ferdinand paints Carters longing for the princess – and shows in a miraculous way, that in outer space the hero develops the same romantic feelings as the prince from a 1001 arabian nights. The fifth movement puts this contemplative mood to an end with a menacing battle in 6/4 time. The hero fights against alien enemies and is captured. Can he break free again? A dark drum roll makes us fear for the worst.

But then the march from the first movement returns, and closes the circle. The hero triumphs in a brilliant finale, reminiscent of closing music of old ’20th Century Fox’ movies. The young musicians play in a relaxed way, after the excellent performance they’ve just given. The audience’s lust for the adventure of contemporary music is not yet satisfied. There is so much applause, that director Alan Valotta has to repeat the first and the last movement.

“I didn’t know what was coming up on me”, a female visitor of the concert said afterwards, “but it was super. A beautiful experience.” And the composer? ” I am very pleased. I thought the balance in the orchestra was good, and the young people have done a great job. I am very happy.”…

– Kreis-Kurier (Ludwigshafen, Germany) – november 26, 2011

… The composition’s level of difficulty is very conveniently tailored for students, and at the same time the piece meets a high musical standard.”, the director of the music school, Christoph Utz, points out. The orchestration is skillfully created, the orchestra sound is interesting, and the musical tasks are divided in a balanced way between solo and orchestra parts. “At the same time”, Utz adds, “the musical language is chosen in such a way, that youthful listeners can identify with the work.”…