Band aid

Published: May 2007

Pop music” composers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries wrote tunes for piano, or for piano and voice, and circulated them through the medium of sheet music. Last summer, while conducting research in Europe for the McMullen Museum’s exhibit of modern Belgian art (which opened in February), Professor Jeffery Howe came upon a trove of sheet music by Belgian composers, all illustrated by René Magritte, whose paintings are included in the McMullen exhibit. Howe brought copies of the music home and presented them to Sebastian Bonaiuto, the University’s director of bands.

“Music was an important part of the surrealist movement in Belgium,” according to Howe, who asked Bonaiuto to arrange the tunes for a small instrumental ensemble to perform at the McMullen exhibit’s opening. Bonaiuto says he was excited by the project because the music—created by a group of composers he calls “the Barry Manilows of the 1920s”—lent itself well to transcriptions for brass instruments, particularly the “round and gentle sound” of the saxophone. (And the saxophone, he notes, was invented by a Belgian, Adolphe Sax.)

@BC presents four of Bonaiuto’s transcriptions, performed by students and recorded live on May 6 at a gathering of the Belgian American Society held on campus at the exhibit hall.

This feature was posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 and is filed under Audio.
Writer: Dan Soyer