Score and parts by Bertold Hummel
Article by Max McKee
In 1989, German composer, Bertold Hummel, was returning to the U.S. to appear as a guest conductor/composer at Western International Band Clinic. (His Oregon Sinfonie had been premiered by Southern Oregon State College in 1978 at a CBDNA convention in Monmouth, Oregon.)
As a gift to the WIBC Honor Band, he wrote a chorale the day of a phone call that fall and faxed the score. He planned to premiere it with the honor band during the convention that November. He named it “Phönix” because he liked the Phoenix logo which is such a prominent part of WIBC.
Less than a hour later, he called me back to say how embarrassed he was that he had not sent his greetings to my wife, Nell, during our phone conversation. This was so important to him that moments later another fax arrived with the score to yet another chorale dedicated to Nell Spicer McKee, the one presented in this issue of Bandworld Magazine. As you’ll hear, it is truly “beautiful,” hence our naming of this chorale: “Schöne.”
At WIBC that November, he played the “Phönix” chorale and an earlier one he had composed for the Southern Oregon State College Band Alumni (known as SOSCWATCH) called “Tier” (Animal, in recognition of our mascot). Later on that same program, we surprised Bertold with the premiere performance of “Schöne” by the WIBC Directors’ Band.
This is a performance-quality chorale, beautifully set by a great friend, who at the time was the President of Hochschüle für Musik in Würzburg, Germany. In the late 90’s we combined the 3 chorales and named the set “Three Hummel Figurines.” They are part of our Warmups That Work book containing dozens of chorales created especially for us by leading composers around the world.