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Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 33rd Season

 

Sunday, February 27th, 1972
Manchester College Auditorium
James Carlson, Conductor

  Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 Johannes Brahms  
 

I. Allegro non troppo
II. Adagio
III. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace

 
  Eric Rosenblith, violin  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Three Pieces for Chamber Orchestra Arnold Schoenberg  
 

I. Rasche, Massige, Rascher, Langsamer
II. Massige
III. Gehende

 
       
  Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
 

I. Allegro molto
II. Andante
III. Menuetto: Allegretto
IV. Allegro assai

 
       
  Colas Breugnon Overture Dmitry Kabalevsky  
       

Program Notes

  Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 Johannes Brahms
(1833-1897)
 
 

These remarks about the violin concerto are by Hubert Foss:

Of all Brahms' major works, the violin concerto is the one which flows in the highest degree of perfection, the reconciling of the two opposite sides of his creative mind -- the lyrical and the constructive: Brahms the song write and Brahms the symphonist. At first soloists fought shy of it, all save Joseph Joachim, of course, who was an inspiring friend and willing technical adviser. The violin part in the 1880's seemed so fraught with outrageous difficulties that it was dubbed a concerto not for the violin but against the violin, a judgement which Huberman corrected to 'a concerto for violin against orchestra -- and the violin wins!'

In the first movement, all the subject matter of the allegro is stated, in ordered succession, by the opening orchestral tutti. The first subject, however, does not appear in its fully developed form; for that it has to wait for the soloist. We hear it first in a rudimentary unison statement in the bass, announced by cellos, violas, bassoons, and (in part) horns. This first thematic idea is followed at once, by way of complement, with a flowing phrase on the oboe, and then by another consisting of a striking series of rising chromatic notes in octaves. Almost before we realize it, the second subject proper grows out of the natural musical flow. This again has two subsidiaries, a kind of cadence-phrase in a five-beat rhythm across the bars, and another with two sextuplets leading upwards to a chromatic passage. Out of all these notions, Brahms builds an entirely new theme -- ostensibly a variant, but in reality the culmination of his first lyrical outpourings. The development moves along broadly. The key of C major (turning to C minor) is touched and the orchestra takes up the soloist's variant of the second subject; new ideas spring out -- a chordal phrase for the violin which is used at first musingly and later in declamation. The first subject in return is stated by flutes, oboes, clarinets, and the first horn, against counterpoint and figuration from the rest of the orchestra. The second phrase is given to the violin above the strings. The discourse continues its development, even here, but there is serenity, the odd words (like the violin's chordal theme) are recalled, and, with a noble and dignified display, the movement ends in an emphatic D major.

Brahms' slow movement has an astonishing quality of beauty. Its worth is impreponderate. it is a delicate and imaginative study in the decoration of  a single melody; that decoration does not alter but musically develops the melody into a glorious pattern.

The gentle dreams of the slow movement are blown away by a single gust of wind as the finale opens. The violin announces a vigorous tune with an arpeggio accompaniment from the orchestra. The tune itself has something of a Hungarian flavor about it and the arpeggio motif is put to good use throughout the movement. This is a rondo full of incidents, easy to follow when considered in relation to this principal binding theme. First comes a development in B minor containing a dropping semitone of which more is heard later. Next the violin solo gives us a series of staccato rising octaves (the arpeggio breaking in). Then we come upon a new episode in G major, gentler and more graceful at first; before long the energetic octaves return, and the falling semitone, leading us back to a full statement of the first theme. After the cadence there is an accompanied cadenza which plays an important part in the development. And then comes the large-scale and developed coda, a march-like theme with suitable military suggestion from the orchestra.


 
       
  Three Pieces for Chamber Orchestra Arnold Schoenberg
(1874-1951)
 
 

Arnold Schoenberg has influenced many twentieth century composers. His twelve-tone system has been employed extensively. At the present time, his methods of composing have had a more significant impact than his compositions. The Three Pieces for Chamber Orchestra were written in 1910. They do not have a tonal center. The movements are concise and economically written as the total playing time is less than two minutes.


 
       
  Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
 

Joseph Machlis provides the following comments about this symphony:

It was the summer of 1788, during the darkest period of his life, that Mozart, in the space of a little over six weeks, composed his last three symphonies: No. 39, 40, and 41.

The G-minor Symphony represents that mingling of classic and romantic elements which marked the final decades of the eighteenth century. The first movement, in sonata-allegro form, plunges immediately into the Allegro molto. The Exposition opens with an intense theme for the violins that establishes the home key of G minor. Pointing to a new expressiveness in music, it flowers out of a three-note germ motive that is genuinely symphonic in its capacity for growth, and contains two other motives that play their part in the development of the material. A vigorous bridge passage that sustains tension through a steady crescendo leads into the contrasting key, the relative major -- B-flat. The second theme, shared by woodwinds and strings, provides an area of comparative relaxation in the restlessness of the first subject. It moves in a flowing rhythm, mostly stepwise and within a narrow range. The development is brief and packed with action. It searches out the possibilities of the opening theme, concentrating on the three-note motive. The music wanders far afield, modulating rapidly from one foreign key to the next. Never slackening its course, the development is crowned by the transition back to the home key, one of those miraculous passages that only Mozart could have written. The Recapitulation follows the course of the first section. The bridge is expanded and circles about the home key. The second theme is given in G minor rather than major, taking on a strangely tender tone. The coda energetically confirms the home key.

The second movement, in E Major, is also in sonata-allegro form. Violas, second violins, then first violins enter in turn with the first theme in the home key. The theme unfolds amid an abundance of ornament.

The third movement, in G minor, recaptures the emotional tension of the first. This Minuet is remarkable for its vigor and onrush. Mozart here reaches out beyond the aristocratic dance that gave the movement its name. In form this section is characteristic of a minuet of a classical symphony: aa baba. The trio is in G major; the change from the minor contributes to its relaxed mood. The subsections of the Trio has this form: cc dcdc, after which the Minuet is heard again, but without repeats. There results a rounded three-part form.

The finale is a compact sonata-allegro form, abrupt and imperious. The first subject, in G minor, is presented by the first violins. Based on an upward-bounding arpeggio, it represents a pattern dear to the classical era and known as a rocket theme. The contrasting theme, in the related key of B-flat major, provides the necessary foil in point of serenity and grace. The Development is highly dramatic. The rocket motive is bandied about by various instruments that crowd upon one another in hurried imitation as they spin out a complex orchestral fabric. Tension is maintained at maximum pitch by the rapid modulations through foreign keys. The Recapitulation presents the material again with certain changes, most important of which is the shifting of the second theme into the home key of G minor. From that moment of enchantment until the final cadence we witness the exciting spectacle of a great artist functioning at the summit of powers.


 
       
  Colas Breugnon Overture Dmitry Kabalevsky
(b. 1904)
 
 

Kabalevsky, a pupil of Miaskovsky, was also influenced by Borodin, Mussorgsky, Scriabin, and Tchaikovsky. This overture to Romain Rolland's novel of the same name is strongly rhythmic and tonal. It also incorporates the use of the long, sustained, lyrical line.


 
       
 

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 +
Becki Wilcox
Ruth McKalips +
Dorothy Rautenkranz
Carol Wood +

Viola
Sherwood Waggy *+
Dave Burkholder +
Mike Petty +

Cello
Gail Allen *+
Vivien Singleton
Robert Allen

Bass
Randy Gratz *+
George Scheerer
Anthony Cipriano

Piccolo
Bev Moore

Flute
Bev Moore *
Muriel Snider +
Sue Burwell +
Oboe
Stephanie Jones *
Eric Burkhardt +

Clarinet
Robert Jones *
Blair Beard +
Anne Stump +

Bassoon
Thomas Owen *
Arlene Crist +
Katherine White

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

Trumpet
Steve DeHoff *+
Wynn Bonner +
Leonard Webb +

Trombone
Larry Dockter *+
Dan Garver +
Mary Yost +

Tuba
Bob Jarboe

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

Timpani
Jan Swartz +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
       
 
Eric RosenblithBorn in Vienna, Eric Rosenblith, made his debut appearance in Paris at the age of fifteen, having studied with Jaques Thibaud and graduated from the Ecole Normale de Musique. He subsequently studied with Carl Flesch in London and Bronislaw Huberman in New York City, making his debut in that city in 1941. Since then, he has been concertizing extensively in the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel and the Far East. He has also been concertmaster of the Indianapolis and San Antonio Symphony Orchestras and has appeared widely as first violinist with his own and the Jordan and Brandon String Quartets. He has been on the faculty of Butler University and Bennington College. In 1965, he joined the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he is presently Chairman of the String and Chamber Music departments.