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Concert Program Cover

Third Concert of the 34th Season

Student Soloist Concert

Sunday, May 6th, 1973
Manchester College Auditorium
James Carlson, Conductor

  Concerto Grosso in D Minor, Op. 3, No. 11 Antonio Vivaldi  
  Jeff Hendrix, Gail Steward, violin
Susan Favorite, cello
 
       
  Suite Modale for Flute and String Orchestra Ernest Bloch  
 

I. Moderato
II. L'istesso tempo
III. Allegro giocoso
IV. Adagio-Allegro

 
  Bev Moore, flute  
       
  Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, K. 417 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
  Karen Shank, horn  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Saxophone Concerto in E-flat, Op. 109 Alexander Glazunov  
  Mark Fuller, alto saxophone  
       
       
  Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 Ludwing van Beethoven  
 

II. Andante con moto
III. Rondo

 
  Gail Steward, piano
John Whisler, conductor
 
       

Program Notes by John H. Planer

  Concerto Grosso in D Minor, Op. 3, No. 11 Antonio Vivaldi
(1678-1741)
 
 

A concerto grosso is a multi-movemented composition in which a small group of soloists is concerted or contrasted against a larger ensemble; the form originally developed during the late baroque in Italy. In Vivaldi's concerto grosso opus 3, number 11 in D minor -- Pincherle index 250 -- the solo or concertino group consists of two violins and a cello while the tutti or ripieno ensemble consists of violins, violas, cellos, and a harpsichord. The concerto grosso is one of a group of twelve published as Vivaldi's opus three and entitled L'Estro armonico or "Harmonic Invention"; the collection, published in 1712, was dedicated to Ferdinand III. The music quickly became well-known throughout Europe and helped establish Vivaldi's reputation.

The D minor concerto grosso consists of three movements, fast-slow-fast, like the concerto de camera or chamber concerto rather than the four movements of the church concerto or concerto da chiesa, slow-fast-slow-fast. The opening allegro movement contains long passages of strict imitation followed by a brief, punctuating adagio, followed by an extensive fugue in concerted style with the soloists contrasted against the full ensemble. The solo cello is given melodic material just as important as the violins. Although the three-movement form suggests a secular concerto da camera, the fugal treatment of the first movement would be more appropriate in a church concerto.

The second movement is homophonic -- that is, the parts move in basically the same rhythm, thereby creating a chordal texture. The solo cello and solo second violin double their respective parts in the tutti, while the first solo violin plays an independent part noteworthy for its unexpected chromatic shifts and Siciliano rhythms. The Siciliano was a moderately slow baroque dance which originated in Sicily and which is in a compound meter with dotted rhythms.

The third movement, like the two preceding ones, is in D minor. The texture is again contrapuntal, but first solo violin is more prominent. The other two soloists play sustained or repeated notes while the first violinist plays virtuosic passages. In both the first and the last movements chains of suspensions are common, and the harmonies shift rapidly around the circle of fifths. Perhaps these factors help explain why Vivaldi did not set the slow movement in a contrasting key. Within each of the three movements sufficient tonal variety existed to provide harmonic interest. The common key, therefore, probably helped unify the three movements.

The instrumentation of the concerto grosso and the sequential passages probably reflect the influence of Corelli, though to a lesser extent than the sonatas of Vivaldi's opera one and two. As the music of Corelli influenced Vivaldi's minor concerto grosso, so too Vivaldi's composition influenced Johan Sebastian Bach, who arranged it for organ. The history of Bach's transciption is especially fascinating. Bach's son Wilhelm Friedemann apparently inherited the manuscript of the transcription upon the death of his father. Wilhelm Friedemann's addition to the title, "di W. F. Bach ... manumei Patris descriptum" -- "of W. F. Bach ... written by the hand of my father," was originally interpreted to mean that Wilhelm himself made the transcription, which his father then copied. Probably Wilhelm intended that he only owned the work and that his father composed it. Only in 1911 was the transcription correctly credited to Johann Sebastian Bach.

Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice on March 4, 1678. His father, a violinist at St. Marks Cathedral, taught him to play the violin; the chapel master at St. Marks, the composer Legrenzi, taught him music theory. Vivaldi took Holy Orders in the Church and was ordained in March, 1703. One year later he was excused from celebrating Mass because of his asthma and was assigned to the Osperdale della Pieta, an asylum in Venice for orphaned and abandoned girls. He served there as teacher, composer, violinist, director of the orchestra; he also played in local theaters and civic concerts. His red hair earned him the nickname "the Red Priest." Vivaldi's list of works is staggering: approximately 450 concertos, nearly 45 operas, approximately 50 sacred compositions, cantatas, oratorios, and 100 chamber compositions, most of which were unpublished during his life and many of which remain unpublished even today. For a long time scholars believed that Vivaldi died in Venice in 1743. In 1938 an Italian musicologist discovered documents indicating that Vivaldi died in Vienna in July, 1741 and that he was buried in a pauper's cemetery.


 
       
  Suite Modale for Flute and String Orchestra Ernest Bloch
(1880-1959)
 
 

Ernest Bloch's Suite Modale for flute and string orchestra was completed at the composer's home in Agate Beach, Oregon, in late July, 1957, two years before his death. A suite is a collection of short compositions -- frequently dances -- having contrasting tempos, meters, rhythms, and moods. Bloch's suite contains four movements: Moderato, L'istesso tempo, Allegro giocoso, and Adagio-Allegro. The contrasting sections are not stylized dances, however, either in form or in meter.

The tonal organization of the suite is not based upon major and minor keys, as was most music composed between the late seventeenth and late nineteenth centuries. Rather the suite was based upon the four primary modes of Gregorian chant, which were later adapted for polyphonic music and were expanded during the renaissance to include six: Ionian (modern major, tonic on c), Dorian (tonic on d), Phrygian (tonic on e), Lydian (f), Mixolydian (g), and Aolian (modern minor, tonic on a). The Locrian mode, tonic on b, is rare. Hence, major and minor are really modes -- that is, scales consisting of half and whole steps in which different pitches have different functions.

The concept of mode is found throughout the world: from China to Greece (ehos), India (raga) to Africa, the British Isles (mode) to Israel (nusach), Java (patet) to Egypt (magam). The names of the modes differ; the intervals of the underlying scale may be larger or smaller than half and whole steps, as in the five-tone melodies of china and the "neutral" thirds and sevenths of Africa and the Near East; and the locations of the most important pitches differ, but the principle is the same. Interestingly enough, many melodies used in commercials and popular songs are modal. Perhaps Bloch's strong interest in traditional Jewish melodies, which in Oriental communities were related to the Arabic modes or maqamat and which in the Ashkenazic communities of northern Europe were based upon modal scales and formulae from Biblical cantillation, the nusach, accounts for his use of modal harmonies which evoke a remote, idyllic mood.

The first movement is in the Phrygian mode on e -- that is, a scale whose pitches are those of a C-major scale but whose most important notes are not c and g but e and b.  Two motives are prominent: the opening material presented by the flute in the Phrygian mode on e and a second melody in the Dorian mode on d. As in sonata form both melodies are reconciled in that both are repeated later in the Phrygian mode. Hence, Bloch uses contrasting modes just as classical and romantic composers used contrasting keys.

The second movement follows the first without pause and is in the Dorian mode, transposed from d to a by the addition of one sharp. The form is ternary, and the middle section quotes material from the first movement, again in the Phrygian mode. As in the first movement, the meters change frequently, avoiding a thumping regularity. The third movement has fewer metrical and tempo changes. The ternary form is marked by a change from six-eight to two-four to six-eight meters. The six-eight meter and dotted rhythms suggest an English jig. The primary mode is Lydian, transposed from f to c by the addition of one sharp. The tempos and meters of the fourth movement constantly change as Bloch introduces and develops melodies from each of the preceding movements as well as juxtaposing new material. Like the first movement, the last is organized around e, although the Dorian mode is most prominent.

Bloch's use of the modal system; light instrumentation for flute and strings; imitative yet clear textures; sustained pedals; shifting meters, ritards, and accelerandos; and parallel chord progressions create lovely effects vaguely reminiscent of Debussy. The modal scales sound refreshing to ears jaded by major-minor tonalities and incessant chromaticism. Yet Bloch does not challenge his listeners to adjust to totally new systems of serial or twelve-tone organization.


 
       
  Horn Concerto No. 2in E-flat Major, K. 417 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
 

Mozart composed his second horn concerto in Vienna in May, 1783, for his friend Ignaz Joseph Leutgeb, a horn player employed by the Archbishop of Salzburg. In addition to the soloist, the work is scored for two oboes, two horns, and strings. Not only does the small orchestra suggest a baroque concerto grosso, but also the score indicates clearly the alteration of solo and tutti sections. The winds generally double or reinforce the strings rather than having independent significance.

Valves for brass instruments were invented in the second decade of the nineteenth century. Hence Mozart's four horn concertos were composed for a valveless instrument called the Waldhorn, the hunting horn. The pitches available on this instrument were those of the harmonic or overgone series. Performers interchanged crooks of different lengths when playing different compositions so that they could play in a variety of keys. In the second horn concerto the soloist originally used a crook to place the horn in the key of E-flat. When the score required pitches other than those of the overtone series, the performer had either to "lip" the pitch up or down by adjusting his breath pressure and embouchure or else to "stop" the horn by inserting his hand in the bell of the instrument, thereby altering its timbre. Performing the concerto on a valveless horn required a virtuoso who could rapidly and precisely compensate for pitches not naturally available. Today most soloists play the concerto on a modern instrument with valves.

The second horn concerto is a miniature. The orchestra is small, and the movements are condensed. For example, the first exposition is only twenty-four measures; no sections are repeated literally; no cadenzas are indicated; no slow introductions or codas are present. The three movements are in the traditional fast-slow-fast sequence. The middle movement is in the key of B-flat major, the dominant, rather than the expected subdominant A-flat, probably in order to better accommodate the horn in E-flat.

Perhaps Mozart's most outstanding gift was his ability to combine balance and imbalance, symmetry and assymetry, confirmation and refutation of musical expatations. For example, in the first movement, the first subject contains nine measures, four plus five, rather than the expected four plus four. The second subject, which follows immediately, is four plus four plus seven. Even eight measure phrases are built of diverse motives, some easily separable and other fused into continuous passages; some diatonic and others chromatic; some moving by step and others by skip; some beginning on the downbeat and others beginning with "pick-ups." The two expositions, usually of comparable lengths, consist of twenty-four and sixty-six measures respectively, but then the twenty-six measures of development and sixty-four measures of recapitulation balance the two opening sections nicely. Mozart reminds us that the sonata form developed from binary form, which has two complementary sections of approximately equal length.

The second and third movements are both rondos, but their contrasting natures makes comparing them interesting. Because of the melodic and therefore tonal limitations of the valveless horn, Mozart may have preferred forms such as the rondo in which one key predominates. In the second movement B-flat and F alternate, while in the third movement E-flat major, C minor and B-flat major occur. The baroque nature of the second movement is readily apparent. The rondo material is more of a riternello in that it is motive rather than thematic. After each recurrence it spins off into new, continuous episodes rather than short, symmetrical phrases. Sections are elided to avoid choppiness. The contrasting theme is in a different key and is an eight-measure phrase, but it is clearly derived from the rondo motive. The solo horn alternates with the strings, while the oboes and horns play in only ten of the eight-five measures.

If the second movement is indebted to the baroque, the third movement is classical. Symmetrical phrases of four plus four measures alternate with contrasting material. Clearly-defined cadences separate the movement into sections in contrasting keys with contrasting material. Mozart cannot resist toying with a repeated, short-short-long rhythm throughout, nor can he resist playfully refuting the listener's expectations in the penultimate statement of the rondo theme.


 
       
  Saxophone Concerto in E-flat, Op. 109 Alexander Glazunov
(1865-1936)
 
 

Alexander Glazunov was born in St. Petersburg (now Leningrad) on August 10, 1865. Like his contemporaries Liadov, Arensky, and Gretchaninov, Glazunov was educated under the direction of Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Unlike their predecessors Mussorgsky, Cui, and Borodin, this "second generation" of Russian composers received thorough academic training influenced strongly by German romanticism. Hence, their music is less nationalistic and more conservative than their predecessors'.

Glazunov was the son of a wealthy publisher. He composed his first symphony at sixteen and produced a large number of instrumental works, eventually including eight symphonies, several concertos, four string quartets, five overtures, four symphonic poems, ballets, songs, and works for piano and organ. He became Professor of Instrumentation at the St. Petersburg Concervatory in 1899 and its director in 1905. From then onward, Glazunov composed relatively little; his late works are generally for small ensembles, piano, and organ. World War I and the Russian Revolution influenced him profoundly and adversely. In 1928 he left Russia, eventually settling in Paris where, on March 21, 1936, he died.

Glazunov's musical style is eclectic -- that is, he was influenced by a variety of musical styles in addition to German romanticism: Russian, oriental, and Greek folk melodies and rhythms; modal harmonies; the music of the Russian Orthodox Church; and classicism. The Concerto in E-flat for alto saxophone, opus 109, was composed in 1933, one year after he completed his saxophone quartet, while Glazunov was living in Paris. Many features of the work are reminiscent of French music during the early twentieth century. For example, the French were especially sensitive to the possibilities of the woodwinds, and particularly the saxophone, which Adolphe Sax invented in Brussels around 1840. Even today much of the literature for saxophone is by French composers. The concerto is cast in one movement, a rondo form that more closely resembles a fantasia or rhapsody than a classical or romantic concerto. Finally the sustained pedal points, alternation of triple and duple subdivisions of the beat, linear chromaticism, abrupt changes of tempo, and harmonic vocabulary distinctly reveal French influences.

The concerto is unified by the tonal center, e-flat major, and by the opening motive, which is first presented by the strings. Between recurrences of this motive are diverse themes usually presented by the soloist, a cadenza in the middle of the work, and an extensive fugue whose subject interestingly shifts from twelve-eight meter to four-four. Later Glazunov superimposes the opening, rondo motive upon the fugue subject; this somewhat free treatment of form suggests the idee fixe which earlier French composers used to create unity by having a melody recur periodically in various mutations. The saxophone part is also extremely difficult. The fast tempos and long phrases make breathing, and consequently phrasing, difficult; rapid scales, arpeggios, octaves, and sixteenth-note sequences require considerable dexterity.


 
       
  Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 Ludwig van Beethoven
(1770-1827)
 
 

Beethoven probably began work on this fourth piano concerto in 1805, completing it in 1806. During these two years he also finished his opera Fidelio, the violin concerto, the fourth symphony, and the three string quartets dedicated to Count von Rasoumovsky. The title of the original edition of the fourth piano concerto reads, "fourth Concerto for Pianoforte with 2 Violins, Viola, Flute, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 French Horns, 2 Bassoons, Trumpets, Tympani, Cellos, and Basses." Beethoven dedicated the composition to his patron Archduke Rudolf of Austria, who was also one of his piano and theory students. Beethoven also dedicated his fifth piano concerto, "The Empoeror"; the piano sonatas opus 81a, "Les adiuex" and opus 106 "Hammemrklavier"; the Archduke Trio; the vocal score to Fidelio; and the Missa Solemnis to the Archduke. Beethoven himself was the pianist when the G major concerto received its premier public performance on December 22, 1808.

The key relationships of the three movements -- Allegro Moderato, Andante con moto, and Rondo Vivace -- are G major, E minor, and G major respectively. The structure of the second movement is exceptional and clearly reveals Beethoven's conception of the concerto as a concerted work in which the piano and orchestra contend. Beethoven scored the second movement for piano and string orchestra; the piano and strings alternate rather than cooperate. By its nature the piano is percussive and cannot sustain notes well; conversely the strings are melodic instruments which easily sustain notes but which are not percussive. Beethoven reverses these aspects. The strings play one short, staccato, percussive motive and a few punctuating chords while the pianist plays eight-measure legato melodies, complex figurations, and even a short cadenza. Save for a few measures near the end of the movement the strings play in octaves while the pianist plays full harmonies. The forte dynamics of the strings contrast with the indications of piano and "cantabile" for the piano. The baroque concertare principle of contrast is evident from the score for the words "Solo" and "Tutti" alternate. Yet the strings have the unifying, dotted motive which constantly recurs, while the material presented in teh piano changes. These stark contrasts have subjected the movement to all sorts of fantastic programmatic interpretations. For example, Franz Liszt compared the movement to Orpheus, the piano, taming the beasts, the strings, with his lyre!

The third movement, the rondo, follows the second without pause. The full orchestra, including winds and percussion, alternate with the soloist, accompany him, and are accompanied by him. Like Bach, Beethoven frequently synthesized various forms. For example, just as Bach could write a fugue in ternary form, so Beethoven could combine a fugue with sonata form or, in this instance, the rondo and sonata principles. The second theme occurs first in the dominant key of D major; after a restatement of the rondo theme, a development passage occurs; the second theme then recurs in the tonic key of G major. Hence the final movement is a sonata-rondo hybrid.

The rondo theme itself has an interesting short-short-long rhythm. Other middle and later works also reveal Beethoven's fascination with such short, rhythmic motives: the fifth symphony, the Waldstein sonata, sonata opus 57, and the first and second movements of the seventh symphony. In places Beethoven achieves interesting effects -- almost polychoral -- by having the winds and strings alternate playing the short motive.

Near the end of the movement Beethoven indicates that the performer may add a short cadenza. Cadenzas were sections improvised by the soloist near the end of a movement. The performer was expected to base his improvisations on material previously played, developing it and showing his technical proficiency and his inventiveness. Today, however, such improvisation is virtually lost, save perhaps for skillful organists. Fortunately Beethoven's own cadenza to the rondo is extant; most pianists prefer to play it rather than to presume to surpass Beethoven's.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

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

Violin II
Judy Myers *+
Carrie Schoomer +
Wendy Myers +
Rachel Kurtz +
Vera Wickline
Diane Ramsby +

Viola
Jane Wagoner *+
Naida Walker

Cello
Susan Favorite *+
Norman Waggy +

Bass
Mark Tomlonson *+
JoElyn McGowan
Anita Crill +

Flute
Muriel Snider *+
Paula Coutz +
Oboe
Stephanie Jones *
Eric Burkhardt +

Clarinet
Robert Jones *
Mark Huntington +
Jamie Van Buskirk +

Bassoon
Thomas Owen *
Arlene Crist +

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

Trumpet
Wynn Bonner *+
Leonard Webb +

Timpani
Jan Swartz +

Harpsichord
Wanda Kline +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student