This Season

arrowPast Seasonsarrow

Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 34th Season

 

Sunday, February 25th, 1973
Manchester College Auditorium
James Carlson, Conductor

  Marche Slave, Op. 31 Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky  
       
  Concerto Grosso No. 1 for String Orchestra with Piano Obbligato Ernest Bloch  
 

I. Prelude
II. Dirge
III. Pastorale and Rustic Dances
IV. Fugue

 
       
  "Il mio tesoro" from Don Giovanni Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
  "Che faro senza Euridice" from Orpheus and Euridice Christoph Willibald Gluck  
  "La donna e mobile" from Rigoletto Giuseppe Verdi  
  Ricardo Visus, tenor  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Symphonies of Wind Instruments Igor Stravinsky  
       
  El Molondron Fernando Obradors  
  El Vito Fernando Obradors  
  El trust de los tenorios José Serrano  
  Ricardo Visus, tenor  
       
  Sabre Dance Aram Khachaturian  
       

Program Notes by John H. Planer
Spanish Translations by Ovidio Fernandez-Duervo

  Marche Slave, Op. 31 Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
(1840-1893)
 
 

Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) composed Marche Slave in September, 1876, for a benefit concert to raise money for the soldiers fighting in the Turko-Servian war. The march quotes folk melodies from Serbia and southern Russia. The primary theme is the Serbian folksong "Come, my dearest, why are you sad the morning?" The middle section presents a former national hymn of Russia, "God save the Czar," played by the tuba and strings and later restated by the trombones, bassoons, and lower strings.

In the popular biography of Tchaikovsky Beloved Friend, the authors Catherine Drinker Brown and Barbara van Meck wrote, "Early in 1876, Tchaikowsky wrote the now almost notorious Marche Slav for orchestra, letting himself go in his most purple manner and earning for himself those Tchaikovskian adjectives that will forever cling to his name." The description of Marche Slave is only slightly unfair, for although the composition is popular and readily appealing, it is not among Tchaikovsky's most inspired works. The orchestration is indeed colorful, and Tchaikovsky does use the orchestra effectively -- especially the lower brass -- to create patriotic and emotional appeal. Marche Slave is martial, but it lacks the subtleties of orchestration, harmony, and thematic development found in some of his other works, such as the ballet The Nutcracker or the violin concerto. Yet marches are seldom sensitive, subtle, or cerebral. They seek to arouse patriotic fervor through a steady pulse, easily-remembered melodies, loud dynamics, and prominent brass and percussion. This objective Marche Slave easily attains. Tchaikovsky also effectively generates tension by prolonging certain notes and chords, such as the dominant, while adding instruments and ascending to higher register.

The composition is built of three sections, the first of which is labelled "Moderately in the manner of a funeral march" and which is in B-flat minor, the same key as Chopin's famous funeral march in his piano sonata, opus 35. The middle section, primarily in D-flat major, introduces the Russian national anthem. The final section combines the preceding material with yet another theme, introduced by the clarinets. Predictably the march concludes in the relative key of B-flat major. Although the music may not be profound, the sheer sound of the orchestra and the easily-remembered melodies help make Marche Slave a favorite.


 
       
  Concerto Grosso No. 1, for String Orchestra with Piano Obbligato Ernest Bloch
(1880-1959)
 
 

Ernest Bloch was born in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1880. He studied music in Geneva, Brussels, and Germany. After his first symphony, composed in 1902, was rejected in Paris, Bloch returned to Switzerland. His opera Macbeth, however, was successfully produced by the Opera Comique in Paris in 1910. In 1916 Bloch toured the United States as the conductor of a dance company; when the group disbanded, Bloch was invited to conduct his Trois Poems juifs (Three Jewish Poems) with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Bloch then settled in New York and taught at the Mannes School of Music. In 1920 he was appointed director of the Cleveland institute of Music; from 1925 to 1930 he directed the San Francisco Conservatory. In 1930 a wealthy patron in San Francisco gave Bloch a ten-year grant which permitted him to devote full time to composition. For several years he lived in Switzerland, later travelling to Italy for a successful revival of Macbeth. Yet in 1938 Mussolini's anti-semitic policies forced Bloch to return to the United States; he died at Agate Beach, Oregon, in 1959.

Bloch's music fuses neo-classical and Jewish elements. His use of traditional forms and media such as the concerto grosso, string quartet, piano quintet, violin sonata, and symphony reflect his debt to older traditions. Although Bloch worked little with serial techniques of composition, he did explore polytonality. Much of his music is predominantly contrapuntal -- that is, superimposes different melodies of equal importance -- and often the melodies are in different modes or tonal areas. Bloch also experimented with additive meters -- that is, meters which continually change.

Bloch was also sensitive to Hebraic music. Many of his most popular compositions, such as the Avodath Hakodesh (Sacred Service), Schelomo, the "Israel" symphony, Baal Schem for violin and piano, and the Trois Poems juifs reflect his Jewish heritage. Yet the Jewish influence is more pervasive than mere settings of Jewish liturgical texts, references to Jewish folklore, or the occasional quotation of a Hebraic melody; Bloch's music often reflects the structure of European cantorial music. Long sustained notes often underlie many of Bloch's melodies, and tension is generated as non-harmonic tones clash against the sustained pedals. Bloch frequently uses parallel fifths and parallel thirds, characteristics of Jewish liturgical singing in the Northern European tradition. Both Jewish and neo-classical influences are readily apparent in Bloch's first concerto grosso.

A concerto grosso is a medium and a form which developed and flourished primarily in Italy during the late baroque period. A baroque concerto grosso was a special type of concerto which contrasted a small group of soloists, called the concertino or principale, with a larger ensemble, called the tutti or ripieno. In addition to the contrast between the two groups, much baroque music was in concerted style (concertare -- Latin -- to dispute or debate). The figured base, played by a low stringed instrument and a harpsichord, contrasted with the winds and high strings; the texture was primarily contrapuntal, and different melodies of equal importance vied for the listener's attention; short, separable motives of primary importance played by the entire ensemble contrasted with longer episodes or digressions played by the soloists.

Concerto Grosso No. 1, composed during 1925 and 1926, is scored for string orchestra with piano obbligato and has four movements: Prelude, Dirge, Pastorale and Rustic Dances, and Fugue. The contrasting timbres of the strings and the piano suggest the baroque figured bass; the texture is generally contrapuntal and often actually polytonal; the melodic material is often short and motivic, as in the Prelude, capable of easy separation and development by the baroque techniques of transposition, inversion, augmentation, and stretto. In Concerto Grosso No. 1 Bloch avoids the sonata principle of contrasting and reconciled themes; rather he suggests ternary organization or uses "open" forms capable of continuous development such as the fugue or the ritornello principle, in which short, familiar motives recur periodically. The last movement not only is in a baroque form -- the fugue -- but also contrasts solo strings against the full ensemble, reminiscent of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

Yet some aspects of Bloch's style are hardly baroque. The rhythm is more closely akin to music of the romantic period than the baroque. The polytonal clashes and polymetric shifts are techniques of the twentieth century. The prevalence of sustained pedals in the first three movements, parallel thirds and fifths, and florid passages embellishing a single note in the third movement all suggest Hebraic influences. Finally the quotation of modern composers such as Bartok, Vaughan Williams, Copland, and Ives.

Despite these diverse influences, Bloch's Concerto Grosso No. 1 is unified and beautiful. Although performed infrequently, the work is enjoyable and interesting.


 
       
  "Il mio tesoro" from Don Giovanni Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
Il mio tesoro intanto,
andate a consolar,
e del bel cigio il pianto
cercate diasciugar.
Ditele chei suoi torti
a vendicar io vado,
che sol di stragie morti
nunzio voglio tornar.
Speak for me to my lady,
and tell her all we know,
take her a tender greeting
console her in her woe.
Tell her that love and duty
call me to stern adventure,
to wreak a righteous vengeance
I cannot choose but go.
 
 
       
  "Che faro senza Euridice" from Orpheus and Euridice Christoph Willibald Gluck
(1714-1787)
 
Che faro senza Euridice?
Dove andro senza il mio ben?
Oh Dio, Risponde.
Io son pureil tuo fedele
Ah non mavanza piu soccorso --
piu speranza ne dal mondo ne dal ciel.
What shall I do without my dear Euridice?
Can I live without my dear love?
Oh God, respond.
I am still thy true lover
No help is forthcoming to me --
no hope neither from earth or from heaven.
 
 
       
  "La donna e mobile" from Rigoletto Giuseppe Verdi
(1813-1901)
 
La donna e mobile
Qual piuma al vento,
Muta d'accento
E di pensiero,
Sempre un amabile
Leggiadro viso,
In pianto o in riso.
E menzognero.
E sempre misero
Chi a lei s'affida,
Chi le confida,
Mal cauto il core!
Pur mai non sentesi
Felice appieno
Chi sul quel seno,
Non liba amore!
Woman is wayward
As a feather in the breeze.
Capricious in word
And in thought.
Always a lovable
Pretty face,
But deceitful
Whether weeping or smiling.
He who trusts her
Or confides in her
Is always wretched,
His heart broken!
but he can never be
Completely happy
Who does not sip love
On that breast!
 
 
       
  Symphonies of Wind Instruments Igor Stravinsky
(1882-1971)
 
 

Igor Stravinsky is probably the most outstanding composer of the twentieth century. From his ballet The Firebird of 1910 to the Requiem Canticles of 1966, he has produced a large corpus of high-quality compositions which reflect his interests in art, literature, and music of all periods. His early ballets, such as The Firebird, Petrouchka, and Rite of Spring reveal the influence of his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov both in the colorful effects of the large orchestra as well as in the use of Russian folklore. During World War I and thereafter, Stravinsky entered a neo-classical period and produced L'Histoire du soldat (1918), Symphonies of Wind Instruments (1921), Concerto for String Quartet (1920), Octet for Winds (1923), Suites No. 1 and 2 for small orchestra (1917-25), Concerto for Piano and Wind Orchestra (1924), and the opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex (1926-27), among others. He also developed an interest in jazz, revealed in Ragtime for Eleven Instruments (1918), Piano-Rag Music (1919), and later the Ebony Concerto (1945).

Like Picasso, Stravinsky remained receptive to a wide variety of musical, artistic, and literary stimuli: a series of engravings by Hogarth suggested the plot of his opera The Rake's Progress; the libretto of the opera was written by W. H. Auden; the music of The Rake's Progress was modeled after operas of the eighteenth century; the double canon for string quartet is subtitled "Raoul Dufy in Memoriam"; Jean Cocteau wrote the libretto of Oedipus Rex; the one-act ballet Pulcinella quotes themes of the baroque composer Pergolesi; and Monumentum pro Gesualdo di Venosa presents melodies of the sixteenth-century madrigalist Gesualdo. In 1954, when Stravinsky was over seventy, he began using serial techniques of composition!

Stravinsky was born in 1882 in Oranienbaum, Russia, near St. Petersburg. His father was a bass soloist at the Imperial Opera. At the urging of his parents Stravinsky studied law at St. Petersburg and began a legal career. When he was twenty he began studying music with Rimsky-Korsakov. Serge Diaghilev, the impresario of the Ballet Russe, commissioned Stravinsky to write The Firebird, which was produced in Paris in 1910. Petrouchka and The Rite of Spring followed. World War II, however, forced Stravinsky to flee from Paris to Switzerland, where he remained for six years. Because he could not obtain large ensembles to perform his music, Stravinsky began composing for smaller groups. In 1920 he returned to France, remaining there until 1939 when he was invited to deliver a series of guest lectures at Harvard University. When the war broke out, Stravinsky decided to remain in the United States. He settled hear Los Angeles, became an American citizen in 1945, and died in 1971.

Stravinsky composed Symphonies for Wind Instruments in 1921 and revised the work in 1947. The work is scored for three flutes, two oboes, English horn, three clarinets, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four French horns, three trumpets, three trombones, and tuba. In 1920 Stravinsky composed a short chorale for piano, dedicated to the memory of Claude Debussy, who had died two years before. This chorale was then reworked to form the basis of Symphonies of Wind Instruments. Although the composition has only one movement, the whole is composed of many short sections. Ritornelli -- short motives which return -- provide formal unity as in a baroque concerto grosso. The distinctive opening motive, for example, features the woodwinds, is primarily melodic, and recurs frequently in the first half of the composition; the second motive is heard in the second half of the movement, features the brass, and is primarily harmonic. As in the baroque model, various combinations of two, three, or four woodwinds are frequently juxtaposed against the brass instruments or a larger ensemble.

Stravinsky's rhythm is distinctive and exciting. Within each section the pulse is usually constant although the meter changes continuously, frustrating expectations of metric regularity; accents on weak beats provide additional excitement. Between sections, however, the tempo, as well as the texture, orchestration, and melodic material change abruptly.

The melodic lines generally move by step or small skip. Each melody is built of short rhythmic and melodic units which are freely varied and developed, carefully avoiding symmetry and sequence, however, to refute expectations. When different melodic lines are superimposed, the resultant counterpoint is often harsh and dissonant, but the small, recognizable motives, both rhythmic and melodic, help the listen organize the music aurally.

Symphonies of Wind Instruments is neo-classical in that it requires a relative small ensemble, uses a baroque principle of formal organization and is absolute music independent of any program. William W. Austin, in his book Music in the Twentieth Century, describes the work as "... one of Stravinsky's most poignantly beautiful masterpieces..." and his evaluation is apt.


 
       
  El Molondron Fernando Obradors
(1897-1945)
 
Desde que vino la moda
que si, que no, que ay!
de los panuelitos blancos
parecen los mocitos
palomitas en el campo.
Molinero, molinero
a la hora de maquilar
ten cuidado con la rueda
no se te vaya a escapar
y te vaya a ti a cojer
molinero, molinero al moler
Molndron, molondron, molondrero
molo, molondron, molondron, molondrero
Fui a pedir las marzas
en casa del molinero
y perdi las sayas
y perdi el panuelo
y perdi otra cosa
que ahora no recuerdo
Since the fashion arrived
oh yes, oh no, oh wow!
of the white little hankies
the young men look like
little doves on the field.
Miller, miller
at the time of milling the grain
be careful of the wheel
don't let it run off
and may hurt you
miller, miller when you mill
poltroon, poltroon, poltroonish
polt, poltroon, poltroon, poltroonish
I went to ask for a gift
In the miller's house
and I lost my skirt
and I lost my hanky
and I lost something else
that now I can't remember.
 
 
       
  El Vito Fernando Obradors  
Una vieja vale un real
yuna muchacha dos cuartos.
pero com soy tan pobre
me voy a lo mas varato
Con el Vito, Vito, Vito
con el Vito, Vito va
No me haga "uste" cosquillas
que me pong "colora"
An old lady is worth a dime
and a young girl only half
but because I am so poor
I choose the cheaper one
With the Vito, Vito, Vito
with the Vito, Vito goes.
Don't tickle me
because I will blush
 
 
       
  El trust de los tenorios José Serrano
(1873-1941)
 
Te quiero, Morena
como se quiere la gloria
como se quiere al dinaro
como se quiere a una madre
te quiero.
Me muero, baturra
por tu boquita de rosa
por tu reir zalamero
por lss ojos de tu cara
Es la jota que siempre cante
la sal de mi tierra
ole ole
I love you, Morena
how glory is loved
how money is loved
how a mother is love
I love you.
I am dying, Baturra
for your rosy lips
for your flattering smile
for your pretty eyes
It is the jota that I always sang
the charm of my land
ole ole
 
 
       
  Sabre Dance Aram Khachaturian
(b. 1903)
 
 

Aram Khachaturian was born in the Soviet Republic of Georgia in 1903. Among his most popular works are his piano concerto (1936), violin concerto (1940), and folk ballet Gayne (Happiness -- 1942) from which the Sabre Dance is excerpted. Gayne is about life on a collective farm in Armenia and has strong elements of Armenian and Russian folklore. The plot centers around Gayne, a loyal Armenian worker. Her tyrannical husband Giko betrays the Soviet government, turns arsonist and smuggler, and is finally captured by the heroic commander of the local militia. The Sabre Dance itself is based upon a Kurdish folk dance.

Much of Khachaturian's music reflects his Armenian ancestry. The traditions of romantic Russian music, and the Soviet concerns that music appeals to large, diverse groups of people and feature folk styles. The influence of Rimsky-Korsakov is evident from the large orchestra required for the Sabre Dance and the colorful orchestration featuring the winds and percussion. The steady pulse and the melodies which move chromatically around a repeated note suggests the influence of Armenian folk music. The form of the Sabre Dance is ABA. The steady pulse, the excitement of displaced accents, the colorful effects of the orchestration, and the incessant repetition of short melodic motives and simple progressions make the music interesting and enjoyable.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin I
Vernon Stinebaugh, Concertmaster
Gail Allen +
Linda Stanley +
Tim Smith +
Jeff Hendrix

Violin II
Judy Myers *+
Carrie Schoomer +
Wendy Myers +
Phil Burkholder +
Vera Wickline
Diane Ramsbey +

Viola
Jane Wagoner *+
Naida Walker

Cello
Susan Favorite *+
Norman Waggy +
Vivien Singleton

Bass
Mark Tomlonson *+
JoElyn McGowan
Anita Crill +
George Scheerer

Piccolo
Paula Coutz +
Sue Burwell +

Flute
Bev Moore *
Muriel Snider +
Paula Coutz +

Oboe
Stephanie Jones *
Eric Burkhardt +

English Horn
Stephanie Bunish +

Clarinet
Robert Jones *
Mark Huntington +
Jamie Van Buskirk +
Bass Clarinet
Jamie Van Buskirk +

Alto Saxophone
Mark Fuller +

Bassoon
Thomas Owen *
Arlene Crist +
John Sinz

Contrabassoon
John Sinz

Horn
Karen Shank *+
Mark Bechtel +
Lucy Wilson +
Beth Norris +

Trumpet
Wynn Bonner *+
Leonard Webb +
Bill Cook +
Jeff Farrell +

Trombone
Brad Biggs *
Brad Bohrer +
Mark Lightner +

Bass Trombone
Dan Garver +

Tuba
Art Conner

Percussion
Terry Swick +
Wanda Kline +
Stan Short

Timpani
Jan Swartz +

Celesta
Wanda Kline +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
       
 
Ricardo VisusRicardo Visus was born in Navarra, Spain. In 1960 he went to Milan on a Juan March Foundation Scholarship and was able to pursue his studies in Italy for three more years on a special scholarship awarded him by the Province of Navarra.

He was awarded the Gold Medal at the G. B. Viotti International Awards in Vercelli, Italy, in 1962, competing against more than one hundred performers from twenty-two countries.

Mr. Visus has sung the principal operas of the Italian and Spanish repertory in the principal cities of Italy, Spain, and Argentina. As a member of Maestro Mendoza Lasalle's Lyric Company and later with the Teatro de la Zarzuela of Madrid, he performed as first tenor with notable success with artists such as Nirna Lacambra, T. Paniagua, Monserrat Caballe, Angeles Chamorro, and Corrinne Petit, under conductors such as Odon Alonso, Igor Martkevitch, Ros Marba, and Carlos Chavez

Ricardo Visus came to the United States in September, 1967, and is presently on the music faculty of Moorhead State college, Moorhead, Minnesota, where he teaches voice, directs opera workshop and performs at College recitals and in operas.

During 1970 and 1971, he performed with the National Orchestra and TVE Orchestra in Spain, singing the Ninth Symphony by Beethoven, Mass in C and Mass in D by the same composer, Mass in C by Mozart, Elijah by Mendelssohn, and Vespers of teh Virgin by Monteverdi and many recitals with piano and guitar.