Nine New Works for Winds & Percussion
Los Angeles Studio Wind Ensemble
Mark Wolfram

60 minutes of rich instrumental
textures with a broad range of
compositional styles! This new concert band studio recording
features many of Los Angeles'
finest performers.

Price: $14.99

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Audio CD #: WRCD-2255


Selections on INVICTUS include:
  1) The Swashbuckler (A Concert March) for Band  MP3
  2) Invictus (for Concert Band)  MP3
  3) With Malice Toward None (A Hymn for Band)  MP3
  4) The Tucson March (for Concert Band)  MP3
  5) Monkey Mind (for Concert Band)  MP3
  6) Four Fripperies for Band - Mvt. 1 "Afternoon Jaunt"  MP3
  7) Four Fripperies for Band - Mvt. 2 "Ripples on a Shimmering Pond"  MP3
  8) Four Fripperies for Band - Mvt. 3 "Comings & Goings"  MP3
  9) Four Fripperies for Band - Mvt. 4 "March Azure"  MP3
10) Paean (for Concert Band)  MP3
11) Homily (for Concert Band)  MP3
12) Labyrinth (for Concert Band) - Mvt. 1 "The Journey Begins"  MP3
13) Labyrinth (for Concert Band) - Mvt. 2 "Meandering Paths"  MP3
14) Labyrinth (for Concert Band) - Mvt. 3 "Ritual Dance"  MP3

Sheet Music for ALL music on this CD is available from:


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INVICTUS - Nine New Works for Winds & Percussion - LINER NOTES:

In my opinion, there's nobody else writing for wind band like composer Mark Wolfram. Stymied by pandemic cancellations of his premieres over the past couple years, Mark took matters into his own hands to assemble the brilliant musicians of the Los Angeles Studio Wind Ensemble to bring these pieces to life.

     THE SWASHBUCKLER opens this disc with plenty of swagger. Because it's a concert march, it goes places that a traditional march wouldn't, with exciting character, interesting harmonic changes and unorthodox meter usage. In a nutshell, it's one helluva march!

     INVICTUS is a rhapsodic tone poem inspired by William Henley's 1875 opus. The music follows the emotional arc of the original poem - initially dark and brooding - and ultimately moving to a place of confidence and triumph.

     Mark's reverence for Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address provided the framework and inspiration for WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE, a hymn for band that mirrors the 16th president's ennobling sentiments and brings many satisfying departures from the musically expected. My group (the Boise State University Symphonic Winds) had the honor and privilege to premiere this work.

     Mark makes friends with band people everywhere, and after he gifted the director of the Arizona Symphonic Winds with an original piece, Maestro László Veres requested THE TUCSON MARCH in honor of the city they both love! It's fun, good energy stuff!

     I'm looking forward to premiering MONKEY MIND next month in Boise. It's unsettled, agitated, exciting - and a little dangerous, like reading a Stephen King short story before bed.

     I love the tongue-in-cheek blending of traditional and comedic musical elements in FOUR FRIPPERIES. Each movement evokes more than its title would imply, and they each take the listener on an emotional journey. The last movement, MARCH AZURE is a trifle "twisted" ala Monty Python. Big fun!

     Like me, Mark is immeasurably grateful for how the band world has shaped his life, and his PAEAN reflects that appreciation. Richly sonorous, with its chorales of brass vs. woodwinds, and multiple step-out solos, PAEAN optimistically acknowledges the blessings of a lifetime involvement with band.

     Mark's dad was a Lutheran minister before becoming a teacher, and his ethics and faith provided the foundation of Mark's credo; "taking the time to do the job right." HOMILY mirrors those lessons in the form of a musical sermon, weaving a tapestry of values and ideals. It isn't always an easy road, but in the end, it's wisest to adhere to one's core beliefs.

     LABYRINTH is a puzzle inside a puzzle; with no easy answers, alternately crisp and inquisitive, calm and tumultuous, the work runs the gamut of angular melodies, colorful sonorities and combines several compositional styles. The final movement closes the disc with a wild send-off!

     I can't wait for my colleagues to dig into these new works, and to get to know composer Mark Wolfram. The "gatekeepers" in the band world need to stop and listen; Mark's is a unique, passionate, sophisticated and honest voice that needs to be heard, and these new wind band pieces need to be performed!

     Marcellus B. Brown - October 2022

Marcellus Brown is the Director of Bands at Boise State University and conducts the University Symphonic Winds and the Treasure Valley Concert Band. Professor Brown commissioned Mark Wolfram's "SPECTRAL SHIFTS for Clarinet Trio and Band" which he and the University Symphonic Winds premiered at the 81st Annual American Bandmasters Association Convention in March 2015.

What people are saying about INVICTUS:

"This is bracing, invigorating music from the pen of a composer of clearly great skill. Although composer Mark E. Wolfram is best known for music for film, television, radio and advertising, this disc brings him back to where he started in his teens: music for winds.

We start our adventure with The Swashbuckler, a "Concert March" for band, a demonstration not only of Wolfram's orchestrational skills but also of the on-point ensemble of the Los Angeles Studio Wind Ensemble. This is clearly a wind band as opposed to chamber ensemble, one capable not only of honoring the brightness of The Swashbuckler, but also the dark shades of Invictus, a piece inspired by William Henley's 1875 poem. Wolfram's music is clearly gestural (unsurprising given his work in film), but it is not garishly so, and Invictus is a prime example of this.

The rather gentler With Malice Toward None (a "hymn for band") provides soft contrast, meditative and rather lovely. It is a rhapsody that pays homage to Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. The phrasing of the LA ensemble is gloriously natural (although I suspect the result of careful rehearsal given its cleanliness); bear in mind this "hymn" is rather more emotionally wide-ranging than most, and all the better for it. In high contrast comes The Tucson March, a carefree piece that sounds for all the world like Charles Ives would have loved to pit it against another march, just a tritone away...Worth noting there is considerable technical expertise here from the Los Angeles Winds, particularly the lower brass.

Foregrounded percussion joins the winds for Monkey Mind, a tremendous romp full of wit and sparkle; and how the winds here really do twinkle away. This is utter joy, from every perspective; and I love booklet annotator Marcellus B. Brown's likening of this piece to "reading a Stephen King short story before bed". The sense of humor continues in the Four Fripperies. The outdoorsy feel to the first, "Afternoon Jaunt" could be prescribed as an antidote to depression, and it certainly sounds like the players here could ratchet the USA up the World Happiness Index. Wolfram's writing in the second movement certainly reflects the title ("Ripples on a Shimmering Pond"), while "Comings & Goings" is positively madcap. Every second of its one minute 29 seconds is cherishable, and while I can imagine just a touch more zest to the odd gesture in live (preferably outdoors) performance, this is still guaranteed to raise a smile. The final dismissive "wave" of the third movement is brilliant, as is the fizzing (think trills) finale, "March Azure".

The piece Paean is remarkable though: a slice of peace, with beautifully balanced chorales from the LA ensemble and a host of step-out solos, each as well taken as the next. If ever there was an American equivalent to the Elgarian direction "nobilmente," it can be found here. The piece Homly is an homage to the composer's Lutheran background and is in effect a sermon in music, albeit a gentle one. Indeed, solo instruments appear to "speak" candidly.

The final piece, Labyrinth, is cast in three movements, beginning with a fascinating "The Journey Begins," another piece with a light touch in its acciaccatura-like gestures (their angularity did have me wondering if this was a musical depiction of frogs a-leaping). Never (and I say this as a positive) has a movement been more accurately titled than "Meandering Paths," the work's central panel. Meander they sure do, and the effect is one of weightless discombobulation. The final "Ritual Dance" is a long way from de Falla, but it certainly has a lot of fire to it. The tricksy trumpet quasi-fanfares are beautifully executed here, while the whole ensemble's rhythm is incredibly tight throughout.

The recording is very good. That this disc is extant at all is, apparently, the result of a spate of cancellations due to the pandemic; Wolfram decided to take matters into his own hands and create this disc, working through imposed protocols and technical challenges. In this way the disc itself is a triumph of the human spirit, something that shines through every measure of the music.

It looks like Wolfram's previous release, Piercing the Celluloid Void, was not reviewed in Fanfare; good then that this one has made it in. Recommended."
                                       - Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine

"I keep commissioning Mark and he always delivers! It helps that he's a master of orchestration, weaving colors and textures, melodies and propulsive rhythm into vibrant new works. Every musician gets rewarded with interesting lines to play; it's a win-win for everyone in the band and in the audience!"
                                        - László Veres, Arizona Symphonic Winds of Tucson

"Mark's stylistic breadth is always wonderful, from 'The Swashbuckler' to a completely contrasting work like 'Paean', Mark's pieces are really engaging and enjoyable - so well crafted."
                                        - Lt. Col. Bryan Miller, Conductor, Air National Guard Band of the Midwest

"(I) enjoyed all the tunes, but 'The Swashbuckler' and 'Monkey Mind' were my favorites!"
                                        - Dr. Earl C. Benson, Retired Band Director and Mark's Longtime Mentor

"Mark Wolfram is the Poet Laureate of Band Composers. INVICTUS is his new musical triumph. His magical blend of concert band and orchestral idioms celebrate Eastern and Western influences. Performers and audiences love Wolfram's exotic mixing and pairing of vibrant colors in 9 masterworks for winds and percussion. He reminds us that subtle messaging transcends fire and brimstone. What a love affair Wolfram has with band music!"
                                        - Regina Harris Baiocchi, Composer & Poet

"I've just finished listening to Mark Wolfram's concert band music, recently recorded in L.A. by a group of top musicians. Beautifully written, his music is interesting, colorful, and optimistic. By "optimistic" I mean that his pieces either start optimistically or, if begun on a somber or disquieting way, tend to move in an optimistic direction, leaving the listener feeling good, even exalted! By "interesting", I mean Wolfram's choices of instrumental colors are excellent and never stay long in a territory that might bore listeners. This is achieved through his exceptional sense of form and his ability to change textures or to create welcome harmonic or melodic surprises.

The range of music that he has created varies from a sprightly march ("The Tucson March") to more challenging forays into the human psyche and emotions ("Monkey Mind", "The Swashbuckler"). Many pieces are witty, rhythmically energized, and delightful ("Four Fripperies for Band"). All the pieces are masterfully orchestrated, influenced by greats such as Sousa, Gil Evans, and John Williams. All are orchestrated so well that I didn't miss the strings. Bravo, Mark Wolfram!"
                                        - Jack Perricone, Chair Emeritus, Songwriting - Berklee College of Music

"I am, and have been, listening to 'Invictus' and it is....not great........, it's SPECTACULAR!!! I'm trying to imagine how much hard work went into this from the initial conception to the production and everything in between...I just hear great music and a lot of good playing. The end result came out spectacular. Kudos to you."
                                   - Wayne Richards, Professional Musician - Saxophone Instructor & Clinician

"Mark Wolfram's recording 'Invictus' is a full bodied modern classical creation. Flowing from one rich refrain to another you will find the music pulling on your emotions begging you to dance, march, pause and reflect...'Invictus' is 100% Wolfram."
                                        - Bruce Greenbaugh, Music Critic

"Mark Wolfram is an elegant composer, often that comes with complexity. I am making my way through the nine works and I am impressed and moved, as I usually am by his efforts. The first four cuts are really terrific! I can certainly hear the work involved in this project. I really like it. And it sounds fantastic to these doll maker's ears. I shall listen to all of INVICTUS over and over again, of course. Bravo!! Such wonderful (and obviously) hard work!! Dang!"
                                      - Ellen Harris, Doll Maker - Manahawken, New Jersey

"I'm absolutely amazed at what Mark has all sounds terrific! Mark has such incredible drive and energy!! I have truly enjoyed listening to his exciting new works. WOW & BRAVO, MAESTRO!!"
                                       - Lawrence Levack, Musician & Skier - Wallingford, Connecticut

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