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Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 33rd Season


Sunday, November 7th, 1971
Manchester College Auditorium
James Carlson, Conductor

  Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 Ludwig van Beethoven  

I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante con moto
III. Rondo: Vivace

  Alberto Reyes, piano  
  Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio, K. 384 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
  The Age of Gold Ballet Suite, Op. 22a Dmitri Shostakovich  

I. Introduction
II. Adagio
III. Polka
IV. Danse

  Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld Jacques Offenbach  

Program Notes

  Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 Ludwig van Beethoven

The following comments about this concerto are by Scott Goddard:

Of all the 'speaking parts' ever given to an instrument of music this is one of the most eloquent; so much so that for an illusory moment one is almost persuaded that music is in fact a language. It is indeed a most speaking likeness; but of what? It is well to note that the first subject is given out by the solo instrument which, most unexpectedly, starts the work, leaving the orchestra to enter with a pianissimo key-change at the sixth measure, and thence to continue as it should on its own. When at length the pianoforte solo reappears is has less need to assert its authority than is the case in concertos of normal style where this would be its first appearance. Having at the outset said the most significant thing in the movement it now contents itself with some gentle, questioning figures turning into passages of trills and rapid scales to which the orchestra has nothing to add beyond some quiet supporting chords. This continues with increasing ornamentation and brilliance in the solo part until the other main theme, what may be called the companion second subject, is heard. In the recapitulation both of these appear, each drawn into the orbit of the first subject in key, but their order reversed; that is, the later companion theme has precedence over the other. But before this happens there has been one of Beethoven's finest, most supple development sections in which variants and derivatives of the main themes appear, and, since manifestly it belongs in the first place to the piano forte, gives the solo music an easy ascendancy. It is indeed this sense of ease that most impresses us in listening to this movement.

The slow movement has a significance altogether out of proportion to its length (it is a mere seventy-two bars of music and looks in the score more like an interlude than a reputable slow movement). The simplicity of its construction, its architecture, would seem to imply, did we not know by experience that things were otherwise, a corresponding simplicity of approach. But the implications are deeper and the music has a powerful poetic content, so powerful indeed as to have caused people to attach tales to it. These we may safely ignore. The movement is a dialogue between solo and orchestra. It is the orchestra that begins; at the molto cantabile the pianoforte gives the first answer. part discussion, part contest, the dialogue continues as it began; the orchestra still uttering its urgent smoother phrases. Its idiom eventually tells over that of the orchestra and the solo part breaks out into resolute but gentle ornamental phrases, then enters a short cadenza which is slightly stormy. But this too calms down and the orchestra, now accepting the situation and playing in the pianoforte's idiom, settles at last on to a grave e minor above which the pianoforte utters its final, most lovely phrase.

It is an astonishing thing about the rondo that after so moving an episode as that just ended it should become so inevitably right. It does this by masterly understatement. It opens, for instance, very softly. The fundamental intention is a return to gaiety and it is that spirit which increasingly holds the attention of both solo and orchestra. It is hard to describe in words the subtleties of this change, which must be heard to be appreciated, let alone understood.

  Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio, K. 384 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The form f this 1782 opera overture is ABA with a coda. The A sections and the coda are very fast and contain what was called Turkish Music. The term Turkish Music referred to the percussion instruments bass drum, cymbals, and triangle. They were used quite frequently in conjunction with the wind instruments of the orchestra. The slower B section foreshadows the aria that Belmonte, the young hero in the opera, sings to the captured heroine he eventually rescues.

  The Age of Gold, Op. 22a Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich
(b. 1906)

Shostakovich provides this terse statement about his composing philosophy:

I consider that every artist who isolates himself from the world is doomed. I find it incredible that an artist should wish to shut himself away from the people, who in the last analysis form his audience. I always try to make myself as widely understood as possible; and if I don't succeed, I consider it my own fault.

The Age of Gold was Shostakovich's first ballet score and won the prize in a 1930 competition for new ballets on a Soviet subject. The story concerns a Soviet soccer team which is sent abroad to an international exhibition. Shostakovich's own suite from the ballet consists of four movements. The Introduction takes us into the ballet's light-hearted and satirical atmosphere by quoting bustling contrapuntal sections mingled with waltz and polka strains from other parts of the score. The lyrical Adagio specifies parts for soprano saxophone and baritone instruments which are infrequently used in the orchestra. The celebrated, discordant, satirical Polka is subtitled Once Upon a Time in Geneva. Its dancers in diplomatic attire satirize the World Disarmament Conference following World War I. The Polka and the final Dance movement have also been arranged for other mediums and are often performed independently.

  Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld Jacques Offenbach

Milton Cross and David Ewen render these comments about this composition:

In 1858 Offenbach's triumphs had pyramided into Orpheus in the Underworld, the greatest of his operettas. Orpheus was not an immediate success -- most of the audience and critics found little amusement in a satire about Olympian gods -- and it might soon have been relegated to Offenbach's less happy ventures. But destiny intervened. Destiny assumed the form of Jules Janin, a powerful critic, who suddenly hurled a Jovian critical thunderbolt at the operetta. He accused Orpheus of blasphemy; it was, as he put it, "a profanation of holy and glorious antiquity." The vehemence of his attack piqued the curiosity of a sensation-loving public. It had to flock to the Bouffes Parisiens to see for itself what had motivated the criticism. Before long the operetta was selling out at each performance. It became the thing to see, to discuss, to quote, and to dance to. In short, it was the vogue. People began boasting of the number of times they had seen it. The Offenbach melodies -- the waltzes, galops, quadrilles -- were heard and played everywhere. And the exciting and naughty cancan was that audacious dance that mocked at the pretentions of an entire era.


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

  Violin I
Vernon Stinebaugh, Concertmaster
Linda Morris +
Mary Berkebile
Ruth Berkebile
Linda Stanley +
Jeff Hendrix

Violin II
Carol Barr *+
Judy Myers +
Carrie Schoomer +
Rachel Kurtz +
Tim Smith +
Janis Eiler +
Becki Wilcox
Ruth McKalips +
Vera Wickline
Dorothy Rautenkranz
Steve Wilson
Fred Smith

Sherwood Waggy *+
Dave Burkholder +
Jane Wagoner +

Lynn Feece *+
Vivien Singleton
Betty Bueker

Randy Gratz *+
George Scheerer
Calvin Bisha

Bev Moore

Bev Moore *
Muriel Snider +

Stephanie Jones *
Eric Burkhardt +

English Horn
Stephanie Jones
Robert Jones *
Anne Stump +
Blair Beard +

Soprano Clarinet
Robert Jones

Bass Clarinet
Blair Beard +

Soprano Saxophone
Mark Fuller +

Thomas Owen *
Arlene Crist +
Katherine White

Thomas Owen

John Gilmore *+
Paul Ray
Lucy Wilson +
Beth Norris +

Steve DeHoff *+
Wynn Bonner +
Leonard Webb +

Larry Dockter *+
Dan Garver +
Mary Yost +

John Whisler +

Bob Jarboe

Dave Priser +
Reed Gratz +
Deb Waas +
Barb Krom +

Jan Swartz +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
Alberto ReyesAlthough still in his early twenties, Uruguayan pianist Alberto Reyes emerges as one of the most gifted and complete artists of his generation. His exceptional musicianship, impeccable technique, rich and varied tone, and compelling expressivity have won him the accolades of audiences and critics everywhere. The auspicious beginning of his career was marked by his prizewinning in the most prestigious international competitions: Leventritt in New York, Tchaikovsky in Moscow, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and City of Montevideo in Uruguay.