This Season

arrowPast Seasonsarrow

Concert Program Cover

Third Concert of the 23rd Season

 

Monday, May 14th, 1962
Manchester High School
Vernon H. Stinebaugh, Conductor

  Overture to Samson George Fredric Handel
(arr. J.F. Muller)
 
       
  Symphonie Miniature No. 3, Op. 14 Harold M. Johnson  
 

I.
II. Spiritual
III. Escapade

 
       
  Intermission  
       
  Bright Phoebus James Hook  
  Serenade John Alden Carpenter  
  Nancy Royer, mezzo-soprano
Vance Yoder, piano
 
  Habanera from Carmen Georges Bizet  
  Nancy Royer, soloist, accompanied by the orchestra  
  Konzertstück in F minor, Op. 79 Carl Maria von Weber  
 

I. Larghetto affettuoso, Allegro passionato

 
       
  Intermission  
       
  Short Overture to an Unwritten Opera Don Gillis  
       
  Exodus, An Orchestra Tone-Picture with Piano Solo Ernest Gold
(arr. Robert Russell Bennett)
 
  Kent Hennon, piano  
       

Program Notes by Paul Halladay

  Overture to Samson George F. Handel
(1685-1759)
 
 

A giant among composers was Georg Frederic Handel (1685-1759). Were it from no more than sheer quantity, his works would be impressive; however his compositions remain much admired for their excellence. His works and those of Bach (both were born in the same year) dominated the musical scene of their day. While today Bach is revered more even than Handel, at that time Handel was the more popular of the two. He composed in all the accepted forms and media of his day, although he is best remembered by his vocal works, particularly oratorio and arias from operas. While this overture fits perfectly in standard orchestral concert repertoire, we remember it to be the overture to the oratorio which dealt with the Biblical character, Samson.

To the great benefit of orchestras today, there has been much development in instruments and instrumentation, even the addition of newly invented instruments, since the time of Handel and Bach. When works of these men are played today as originally scored it is for historic and analytical reasons. This overture has been re-scored, and to its great advantage, by J. Frederick Muller. Some may remember Mr. Muller as having been guest conductor for the Manchester String Festival in the spring of 1955.

The overture is in two parts. The first carries the interpreting directive of "Pomposo" and is played at from 76-80 beats per minute. There are two noticeable rhythm patterns in the first part; they are easily followed, the first being almost like a dotted eighth and sixteenth note pattern and executed in a broad, majestic manner. To "get the feel of the idea" say to yourself, in the orchestra's first few measures, Hark ------, I hear the sound ------. After twelve measures a triple note pattern suddenly appears and then these interplay, joyfully for the remainder of the first section. The melodic lines and harmony are orthodox.

Suddenly the tempo moves up to approximately 100 beats to the minute, "Allegro". We find ourselves involved in a fugue. The fugue design, developed to perfection in the time of Bach and Handel, remains a highly respected form although rather complicated to grasp. The important thing here for the listener is to get a good hold on the very first little subject given out. The first violins state it and it is very short. Immediately an answer is given, this answer being really the subject stated on a lower pitch level; it is given by the second violins and violas. While they are answering, the first violins continue speaking, and this melody we call the counter-subject. The woodwinds join at this moment. Ere long other instruments enter and we hear these subjects and answers chasing each other around throughout the entire orchestral fabric. Inasmuch as the melodies seem to be fleeing from each other the term "fugue" is used; this comes from the Latin word "fuga" which means fleeing or flight.

All chases must end and this one culminates with firm and loud chords in the final three measures. A fugue demands good head-work from the listener and it demands both good head-work and fleet foot-work of the performer.


 
       
  Symphonie Miniature No. 3, Op. 14 Harold M. Johnson
(1910-?)
 
 

This is the third of a trilogy of symphonies in miniature. Mr. Johnson has chosen to re-live history in the set. The first was composed "After the Manner of the Early 18th Century", the second "After the Manner of the Early 19th Century" and this one "After the Milder Manner of the Early 20th Century."

To some listeners the term 20th Century music begets a fear of oppressive dissonance, undecipherable harmony and lack of melody. There is no occasion here for any such anxiety; Composer Johnson, himself said of the work, "Throughout, an emphasis has been placed on melodic content and orchestral color, less on the newer harmonic devices and little on modern rhythm."

The work is warmly impressionistic with its unprepared and unresolved chords, unusual melodic turns and unexpected modulations. The listener can easily think himself to be in France at the turn of the century rather than Evanston, Illinois, in the nineteen-thirties. Mr. Johnson received two degrees in music from Northwestern University (Graduate Alma Mater of Conductor Stinebaugh) in 1932 and 1941. This symphony was published in 1937.

Though brief, this work can be called a symphony. After a four-measure introduction, this in the first movement, two themes are stated consecutively; they are developed and then re-stated. This comprises the sonata form, which makes the work eligible to be called a symphony. The second movement carries the descriptive title "Spiritual", while the third and final movement is labeled "Escapade". One is impressed with the interpreting signatures found in the score; in the third movement they are, in order -- Mischievously -- Skittish -- Agitated -- Furiously -- Languidly -- Listlessly -- Furiously. Also, be alert to that final chord in the composition which is to be "seen but not heard". Shades of April Fool's Day!

The composer stimulated our imaginations by taking swatches of poetry from three prominent authors, as headings for each of the three movements.

Movement I: "O Life! how pleasant is thy morning -- Young Fancy's rays the hills adorning!" -- Burns

Movement II: "Each cloud-capped mountain is a holy altar; An organ breathes in every grove." -- Hood

Movement III: "Yet half a beast is the great god Pan, To laugh as he sits by the river." -- E. Browning


 
       
  Short Overture to an Unwritten Opera Don Gillis
(1912-1978)
 
 

A dash of humor -- right in the title and, incidentally throughout the composition! As previously stated, in today's notes, an overture may be a prelude to an opera or, as developed later, even a separate, self-contained concert piece, a concert overture. This, according to its title, appears to be a humorous hybrid.

To name another jocose adventure, Mr. Gillis named one of his compositions Symphony 5½, for said he "I just did this one for fun in between my Fifth and Sixth Symphonies." Witness another example; one of his orchestral works he named Scherzo-frenia. Seems there are no dull moments in Mr. Gillis' imagination. He is American to the core; he was born in Missouri and has been, for many years, a radio production director for NBC, and vice-president of Interlochen Music Camp.

Had there been an opera following this overture, it would have had to be a sparkler, capricious and not too profound. The interpretation signature, at the beginning, is "In a Gay Manner". The orchestra seems to be 'stuck' in one chord for some time right at the outset; but the rhythms are so interesting and infectious that we sense it to be a rather pleasant predicament.

After twenty-six measures, melodies emerge, innocuous and charming, announced first in woodwinds, aided and abetted by violins and harp (piano). From this point on the several little melodic passages are tossed about into all sections of the orchestra. Despite this and the tugging of conflicting rhythms, they survive and really thrive. About midway through the overture, Composer Gillis employs a device so dear to the hearts of Impressionists, that of moving all voices up or down together; Parallel Motion, we call it. When tastefully done this is thrilling and it begets strange chord combinations. At this point we move from loud to soft to loud again. This composition is truly in the Gillis tradition, that of America in a jovial mood.


 
       
  Exodus -- An Orchestral Tone-Picture Ernest Gold
(1921-1999)
 
 

To those of this audience who have seen the cinema Exodus, this number will have added significance. Otto Preminger, when preparing to produce this picture chose Ernest Gold, Austro-American composer (he came to the U.S. in 1938) to create the musical score. First off, he took Gold right to the locations of the filming; then with quite extensive research on Arab and Israeli music plus his ability to absorb local flavor and color, Gold came up with authentic and gripping music.

The total score is quite extensive and illustrates many of the scenes and actions in the history of Exodus. The drama deals with the terrific struggle of a people to leave the island of Cyprus to gain freedom by a return to Palestine. The orchestral Tone Picture heard today is considerably abbreviated and arranged by Bennett.

The mood of the work is tense and anxiety-laden. True to oriental tradition it sounds minor much of the time. For a moment of technical observation, it employs both the normal and harmonic forms of the minor, the former to give the lowered seventh of the scale and the latter the augmented second interval (a step and a half); the alternating, combined use of these gives to both musician and layman alike, a sense of considerable solemnity.

The themes, distinctly gleaned from the original are four in number, preluded by a "Solemn March" of twenty-one measures. Following the march, the principal theme of the entire original score, and of this one, title the "Theme of Exodus" appears continuing for some thirty-two measures. Then a new theme appears, "Summer in Cyprus". Following a brief interluding passage, we encounter the portion named "Escape". It portrays a high degree of excitement and fury, with brasses carrying a loud and broad melody, while strings and woodwinds dart about with short chromatic passages. This, having spent itself, a quiet theme appears in a muted trumpet solo with a shimmering accompaniment of strings. This portrays "Jerusalem".

The tone picture concludes with a broadening and cumulative treatment of the returning main theme, the "Theme of Exodus".


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin I
Madonna Persons, Concertmistress +
Shirley Kehr +
Susan Weaver +
Donna Stewart
Rosemary Manifold
Dan Harris
Judy Billiter

Violin II
Stephen Engle *
Lowell Horne
Dorothy Rautenkranz
Dianne McKinney +
Sandra Sayers +
Uldis Stulpins
Lynn Coble
Karen King +
Christy Miller +
Dorothy Baer
Rosemary Bolinger
Geraldine Antrim

Viola
Beverly Shull *+
Frances Early +
R. Gerald Sweet
Elaine Shilts
Cora Shultz

Cello
Vivien Singleton *
Janet Vardaman
Jeanne McKinney
Mack Whitmore +
Priscilla Lyman
J. Robert Allen

Bass
Samuel Flueckiger *
Corlyle Drake
William Hawthorne
Joy Lybrook +

Piccolo
Donna Scott +

Flute
Nancy Royer *+
Donna Scott +
Lou Ann Talcott +
Louis Gump +
Oboe
Susan Yeatter *+
Aletha Rautenkranz

Clarinet
Alan Long *+
Nancy Studebaker +

Bass Clarinet
Mary Tolle +

Bassoon
Philip Compton *+
Peter Strodel

Horn
Thomas Mow *
Ray Welch
Robert Zimmer

Trumpet
David DeLauter *+
Rex Hornish +
Allen Metzler +

Trombone
Gordon Tolle *+
George Schneider +
Tom Gustin (Bass) +

Tuba
Richard Tully +

Timpani
George Merkle, Jr. +

Percussion
Kent Hennon +
Donna Garver +
James Stump +

Marimba
Janet Baker +

Piano (Harp)
Joyce Burkett +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
       
 
Miss Nancy Royer, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Byron Royer of Chicago, Illinois, is a senior music major at Manchester College. A graduate of York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, she was honored as the recipient of the Arion Award in music. Here at Manchester she has studied voice under Dr. Clyde Holsinger, has been a member of the A Cappella Choir three years and first flutist in the Civic Symphony all four years. For two years she served as assistant in the music theory courses taught by Professor Stinebaugh. Beyond the areas of music, Nancy has been active in the Manchester Christian Association, the Community Council, and was elected to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

This summer she will be married to Alan Kieffaber of Tallmadge, Ohio, who is studying for the ministry. She plans to teach junior high music in the Chicago area next fall. We are happy to present her as one of the winners of the solo auditions conducted by the music department and to appear on this final Symphony concert of the season.
 
 
Mr. Kent Hennon, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Stanley Hennon af Argos, Indiana, is a junior music education major at Manchester College, with a major in piano. During his study in piano at the college, Kent has been a student of Miss Martina DeJong. He has been active during his college experiences in the Symphonic Band, of which he is president this year, the A Cappella Choir, and the Civic Symphony orhcestra. In the latter organization, he has played tympani for several seasons.

Mr. Hennon has served as organist at the Methodist church in Bourbon and during the summer he is organist at the Enchanted Hills Playhouse near Syracuse, Indiana. He, as well as Miss Royer, earned a solo spot on our program tonight as a result of the auditions conducted by the college music staff earlier in the year.