Chicago Scenes for Brass Quintet
$20.00 @ J.W. Pepper

Chicago Scenes for Brass Quintet (completed 2005)

1. Sheridan Beach (1985)
2. Haymarket Square (1886)
3. East Lake Terrace (1985)
4. Grant Park (1968)
5. Midway Plaisance (1893 World's Fair)

Chicago Scenes for Brass Quintet is a suite of five views of the “City of the Big Shoulders” from both its history and the personal experiences of the composer. Mark Jacobs lived in the Chicago area (actually in suburban Evanston) from 1982 to 1986 while he attended the Graduate School of Music at Northwestern University. The first and third movements, Sheridan Beach and East Lake Terrace, were originally composed in 1988 as part of a low brass trio. They were put into the form of a brass quintet in 2005. Some “windows” remain in the present quintet version where the original trio can be heard, most notably at the beginning of East Lake Terrace. The remaining three movements where written directly for brass quintet in 2005 and 2006.

The opening movement, Sheridan Beach, was the finale of the original trio. It is named for a popular local breakfast spot that closed its doors just in time for the composer to never eat there. Sheridan Beach is also the name of a lakeside community near Chicago in Northern Indiana that saw a height in popularity in the 1950's as a recreational escape for citizens of the growing metropolis.

Haymarket Square is a semi-programmatic treatment of the events surrounding the famous labor riot that took place there in 1886. Beginning in May 1886, Chicago workers marched and demonstrated for an eight hour work day. At one of the demonstrations, police fired on the crowd, killing two. A labor meeting was held on May 4, 1886 to protest the killings at Haymarket Square. The police, acting on their own, attacked the crowd in a military formation. In the mayhem, someone unknown threw a dynamite bomb into the police. Many people were wounded or killed by the explosion and the ensuing gun fire. Many police were killed by the fire of their own comrades. Seven men, all labor leaders, some would say anarchists, were sentenced to hang for the killings. The trial was notorious for its injustice. One of the men was later given life in prison, and another died before the execution. August Spies, Adolph Fischer, Albert Parsons, and George Engel were hanged on November 11th, 1887, a date that came to be known as "Black Friday." The traditional Scottish song “Annie Laurie”, which is prominent in the movement, was sung by one of the men on the morning of his hanging.

East Lake Terrace is a small neighborhood on the far north side of Chicago with its own beach on Lake Michigan where some friends once lived. The nostalgic flugelhorn is featured.

Grant Park began as a treatment of the riot that took place there during the 1968 Democratic National convention in 1968, but the muse selected a sunny afternoon in the weeks before the convention for the setting. You can hear a new treatment of the Haymarket bomb explosion in the movement.

The Midway Plaisance depicts a day and evening at the 1893 Columbian Exposition (Chicago World's Fair). The day starts with a ruffle of the city's famous winds followed by a stroll down the fair's midway where wonders both awesome and strange await, including a brief reference to the anarchist speeches depicted in the Haymarket movement. The festivities conclude in the evening with an electric lighting ceremony, powered by Nikolas Tesla's latest invention, alternating current. Throw in some fireworks and you have a full day at the fair in something under two minutes and forty-five seconds!

pdfSee Sample PDF of Score