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Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 30th Season


Sunday, March 9th, 1969
Manchester College Auditorium
David C. McCormick, Conductor

  Overture to Egmont Ludwig van Beethoven  
  Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 26 Max Bruch  

I. Vorspiel
II. Adagio
III. Finale

  Angel Reyes, violin  
  Texture Elliott Schwartz  
  Siegried Idyll Richard Wagner  
  Toccatina Michael M. Horvit  

Program Notes

  Overture to Egmont Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven's significance in the transition from Classicism to Romanticism is apparent in his dramatic music. There he was concerned with extra-musical ideas and with establishing moods in the Romantic vein, but he also cast his expressions in the mold of Classical forms.

In 1810 Beethoven composed an overture, songs and incidental music for a Vienna Court Theatre revival of Goethe's drama Egmont. In the story Count Egmont is a symbol of strength and courage for the citizens of Brussels in their resistance to Spanish tyranny in the sixteenth century. The overture opens with a loud unison tone and a dramatic minor-key series of chords reminiscent of the Spanish dance, sarabande, that foreshadow tragedy. Short melodic motives bring the introductory material into a transition and the main body of the overture, a fast triple meter with two main ideas, is presented in a classic sonata-allegro form. Interest centers upon musical structure rather than melodic appeal. Architectural balance between variety and unity in the overture frequently is interpreted as demonstrating the story of conflict and Count Egmont's steadfast virtue. The coda, a normal appendage to sonata-allegro form, states the "Symphony of Triumph," a joyous march that recurs to close the drama as the hero is lead to his execution and martyrdom that is symbolic of his followers' eventual triumph over the Spaniards.

  Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 26 Max Bruch

The concerto form had its roots in seventeenth-century short sectional pieces utilizing contrasted bodies of sound. By the late eighteenth century, the concerto had evolved and elongated into a full symphonic structure. Solo parts grew to demand extreme virtuoso performance technique, and the structure corresponded essentially to three movements of the Classical symphony with each movement in a traditional form. In the nineteenth century, technical performance demands continued to increase and the form began to lose its sharp definition as composers exploited the concerto as a medium for more personal, intense expression.

Brach's Concerto in G minor is a product of nineteenth-century Romanticism at its zenith. Earliest sketches of the piece date from 1857; it was completed and first performed in 1866; and revised and re-introduced in 1868. The traditional three movements are present but the concerto is a continuous essay with the movements all connected: the first is labeled "Vorspiel" (Prelude) and moves into the second without a break; and the third movement begins in the same key as the second (E-flat major) before arriving in its own key of G major. Thus, Bruch is credited with liberating the violin concerto from its previous formal restrictions.

A soft timpani roll sets the tonal center for the first movement and woodwinds enter with an introductory motive. The soloist interjects a short recitative and again the opening motive alternates with a solo recitative. Eschewing the traditional orchestra exposition, the bold and virile first theme is presented immediately by the soloist. With a change from minor to major tonality a second theme enters, lyrical and sensuously expressive. Each of the two main themes is developed in turn through moving key centers, after which the two are combined for additional development in the tonic key. In place of the traditional recapitulation, only the introductory materials return, and these materials then form a transition to the key of E-flat and a bridge to the second movement.

The adagio movement is Romantic lyricism at its finest. There are three themes, appearing in the order A-B-C-B-A-B-C followed by a coda re-using thematic materials in their original order of appearance. The listener is captivated by sheer melodic beauty and the inertia achieved as the tonal center moves from E-flat to G-flat, D-flat, G and C before returning home to E-flat.

The third movement, with its fast tempo, brings a jubilant mood. Although there is a pause between the second and third movements, the introduction of the latter binds the two together. the preceding E-flat tonality is retained for the introduction while there is exposed the leading motive of the coming theme. When the soloist enters the key changes to G and a jubilant march-like theme is stated. Contrast is introduced as the tonal center moves to D and an impassioned, singing theme is presented by the orchestra and repeated by the soloist. A development based on the first theme is followed by a recapitulation of both main themes in the tonic key of G. The movement progresses toward a closing sequence but is diverted away from closure by a deceptive return to the key of E-flat, a device that creates interest and provides an element of unity. The tonality returns to G and, alluding to the first theme, the movement ends with a flourish.

  Texture Elliott Schwartz
(b. 1936)

The title Texture provides a precise description of the piece. Although the traditional elements of melody, rhythm, harmony and tone color are present, they are utilized in distinctive ways that are quite different from the methods of eighteenth and nineteenth century music. Schwartz has attempted to concentrate the listener's attention upon the texture of sound rather than upon tonal centers, or upon consonant and dissonant harmonies, or upon melodies and their development. Changes in that texture create the aesthetic form. Individual players cooperate with the composer in improvising rhythms and note durations based on tones specified in the score. The vertical structure is not one of traditional harmony, nor of dissonance, nor atonality. Rather, notes are sounded together for purposes of color and texture. The piece begins and ends on the note E, but most of the vertical structure is coincidental, occurring by chance as the players improvise upon the given notes. That is, coincidental except for two chords written to sound like a traditional cadence formula which might be interpreted as a tongue-in-cheek reference to traditional music of the tonal system or as an obvious attempt to signal the final section of the piece.

Elliott Schwartz is a distinguished and respected contemporary composer and scholar. He is the author of a book on the symphonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams and editor of a collection of prose essays by contemporary composers concerning contemporary music. Texture was composed in 1966.

  Siegried Idyll Richard Wagner

If one man could be designated as the ultimate Romanticist it would be Richard Wagner. His music embodies traits characteristic of Romanticism: extension of the tonal system, personal expression, and freedom of form. His major efforts were to unite drama, music, painting and literature into a single art form. He was intrigued by mysticism, mythology, and the concept of heroes and supermen; and he was unconcerned about the mores of mundane, non-artistic people of the world. He lived his life as he wished.

Of all the heroes in Teutonic mythology, Wagner was most inspired by Siegfried. Siegfried knew no fear and was blithely indifferent to danger, was absolutely truthful and hated lies and sham, and he had virtually an endless capacity for passion.

After a childless marriage to Minne had ended, Wagner was ecstatic when Cosima von Bulow, the daughter of Franz Liszt, bore him a son. The boy was named Siegfried and as a token of pride and gratitude, Wagner composed Siegfried Idyll as a gift for Cosima. It was first performed as a birthday surprise for her on Christmas Day, 1870.

Siegfried Idyll is an exquisite work, written for a small orchestra to perform on the stairway leading to Cosima's bedroom in the Wagner home. Its themes are from the music drama Siegfried and a German lullaby "Schlaf', Kindchen, schlaf."

  Toccatina Michael M. Horvit
(b. 1932)

As the name implies, Toccata is a short showpiece for orchestra. An exuberant opening section is followed by a gentle, lyrical melody. The middle of the piece is a development section, after which the lyrical music returns and the piece closes with a re-statement of the opening material.

Dr. Horvit was educated at Boston Latin School, Yale University, and Boston University, studying composition with Walter Piston, Lucas Foss, and Aaron Copland. He currently teaches at the University of Houston, where his opera Tomo was recently premiered.


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

  Violin I
Vernon Stinebaugh, Concertmaster
Ruth Berkebile
Mary Berkebile
Pauline Cork
Loretta Wood +
Lucina Eshelman +
Ernest Zala

Violin II
Linda Baker *
Leslie Bentley
Myrna Grove +
Vera Wickline
Becki Wilcox
Stephen Wilson
Louis Durflinger

Ethel Anderson *
Cora Shultz
Mac Marlow
Gordon Collins

Mack Whitmore *+
Jerry Lessig
Barbara Smith
Raymond Marsh

Herbert Ingraham *
Allen Johnson +
Samuel Flueckiger
Randy Gratz

Patricia Brewer *+
Kathleen Metzger +
Stephanie Jones *
Leta Cook +
Freda Clark +

Robert Jones *
Diana Wine +

Bass Clarinet
Donald Shilts

Deborah Maurer *+
Robert Leininger +

Thomas Listenfelt *+
Jerry Eller +
Jeff Blickenstaff +
Cora Lynn Hunt +

Donald Cook *+
John Holsinger +
Stephen Likens +

George Schneider *
David Voelker
Dan Garver

Janice Long
Edward Davis +
David English +
Stephen Kellam +
Paul Ingraham

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
Angel ReyesAngel Reyes has achieved an international reputation through his extensive tours of this country, Europe, Latin America and Canada. Since his brilliant debut in Carnegie Hall he has established himself in the very front rank of instrumentalists, and has appeared in recital and as soloist with major orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. A Premier Prix graduate of the National Conservatory of Paris, and winner of an Ysaye Prize at the International Violin Competition sponsored by Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, he has recorded for Concert Hall Society. Mr. Reyes is presently Professor of Music at The University of Michigan and Visiting Professor at the Interlochen Arts Academy.