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Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 37th Season

 

Sunday, November 9th, 1975
Manchester College Auditorium
Jack C. Laumer, Conductor

  An American Salute Morton Gould  
       
  The Moldau (Vltava) from Ma Vlast Bedřich Smetana  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Music for Brass Ensemble Leo Justinus Kauffmann  
       
  Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90  ("Italian") Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy  
 

I. Allegro vivace
II. Andante con moto
III. Con moto moderato
IV. Saltarello; Presto

   
       

Program Notes
by Susan Favorite and Jean Norton

  An American Salute Morton Gould
(1913-1996)
 
 

Gould, a twentieth century American composer, excelled at New York University, accomplishing two years of music theory work there by age fifteen. He continued study at the Institute of Musical Art in his native New York. Gould then joined the Radio City Music Hall's staff as an arranger. Also an accomplished pianist, he performed two-piano works with the National Broadcasting Company. Gould has appeared as guest conductor with Columbia Broadcasting System. His music reflects the marriage of his formal art training and his involvement in the more popular realm of American music. Although his later compositions developed deeper levels of technique and expression, the atmosphere of Broadway musical production permeates his earlier works. In many of these pieces, Gould makes use of American folk tunes.

In An American Salute, composed in 1942, Gould employs the melody "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" as a basis for his loose but obvious theme and variation form. Patrick S. Gilmore, under the pen name Louis Lambert, first arranged this marching song during the American Civil War. In so doing he used an already established Anglo-Irish folk tune, the lineage of which may trace back as far as the sixteenth century. Popular with both the North and the South, as well as during the Spanish-American War of the late 1800s, several versions and parodies appeared. Its popularity continues; other of Gould's American contemporaries have also based orchestral works on this same tune.


 
       
  My Country (Ma Vlast) Bedřich Smetana
(1824-1884)
 
 

Smetana, "the founding father of the national Czech art music," showed prodigious ability as a child, in spite of his father's disapproval of a musical career and the boy's consequential lack of formal musical training. He performed publicly on both piano and violin, and composed by his eighth year. At nineteen he wrote "With God's help and grace, I will be a Mozart in composition and a Liszt in technique." With the latter's help, he established a successful school in Prague. He later became a respected conductor in Sweden, but returned to his homeland, where his national consciousness reawoke. With fervor and dedication, he worked for the musical culture of his country, composing, conducting, and founding various national music organizations. He stands as his country's most celebrated musician.

Ma Vlast ("My Country" or "My Fatherland") is a series of six separate symphonic poems. A symphonic (or "tone") poem is a single movement orchestral piece, bearing a descriptive title and based on some extra-musical idea, either poetic or realistic. Ma Vlast was the first joining of the tone poem form and nationalistic orientation, an effective combination subsequently used by composers in almost every country.

Vltava ("The Moldau") is the second in the series, by far the most popular, and described the course of the mighty Moldau River. Of this piece, Smetana writes,

"Two springs gush forth in the shade of the Bohemian forest, the one warm and swift flowing, the other cool and tranquil. Their waters join and rush joyously down the rock bed, glistening in the light of the morning sun. This hurrying forest brook becomes the river Moldau which flows across the land of Bohemia, widening as it goes. Passing through dark forests, the sounds of the hunter's horn are heard ever nearer. Through meadow lands it passes where a wedding feast is being celebrated by peasants with song and dance. At night water nymphs play in its gleaming depths in which are reflected fortresses and castles from the glorious past. At the Rapids of St. John the stream becomes a roaring cataract, beating its way through rocky chasms, widening at least into the majestic river that flows through Prague greeted by the mighty old fortress, Vysehrad, where it vanishes over the horizon lst to the poet's sight."

The score is marked with subtitles of the continuous but easily distinguishable sections of the piece. The opening, "The Two Sources of the Moldau," begins with very light orchestration but quickly moves to a basic strings/winds division, with the strings in constant ebg and flow motion, while the winds (and first violin) carry a broader, overriding melody. In the shorter "Hunt in the Forest" the brasses emerge, representing the hunting horns. Suddenly, the music focuses on a "Peasant Wedding," characterized by its dance quality and sharp dynamic contrasts. With a key change, the flutes, high strings, and harp dominate the description of "Moonlight: Dance of the Nymphs." Following a brief return to themes form the initial two sections, the turbulence of "The Rapids of St. John" is expressed by full and very active orchestration. At the end, Smetana brings back not only motives from earlier sections, but one from the first symphonic poem of the series, Vysehrad ("High Castle").


 
       
  Music for Brass Ensemble Leo Justinus Kauffmann
(1904-1944)
 
 

Born in the Alsace region, which throughout history has oscillated between German and French control, Kauffmann studied and worked in the established cultural centers of both Strassburg and Cologne. In 1929, as the director of the Rhine Musical School, he headed three full choruses as well. He also directed the Strassburg Conservatory, and taught composition and acting in 1940. Kauffmann is noted for his versatility, having written for various musical media.

Musik für drei Trompeten, vier Horner, drei Prosanne und Tube ("Music for Three Trumpets, Four Horns, Three Trombones, and Tuba") was written several years after he had established his own unique style, yet only a few years before his tragic death during an air raid in Strassburg.

With a broad fanfare character, the full eleven member ensemble introduces the first of four movements. The allegro section of the movement contains some echo effects. Tempo and full texture remain constant to the end of the movement. Sill allegro, the second movement opens in direct contrast to the first with a fortissimo dynamic, triple meter, and change of key. This movement is rhythmically simple, vertically organized and quickly finished, requiring less than a minute.

The horns present a rising melody in the first few measures which is carried on and inverted throughout the slower third movement. A fugato (fugue-like) section begins and ends the finale, marked allegro vivace, fast and lively. The middle section, a scherzando, is equally lively, but softer. The entire piece ends, as it began, with all members playing a powerful fortissimo.


 
       
  Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90 ("Italian") Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
(1809-1947)
 
 

Mendelssohn, an early Romantic composer, was reared in a musical, intellectual, and affluent though strict, home setting. There, in Berlin, Germany, his musician father nurtured his prodigious son, who performed publicly on the piano at nine (the instrument on which he later gained virtuoso status.) By thirteen he had composed varied and numerous major works. His home was a cultural and social focal point in Berlin. He soon became a darling of the elite society, meeting outstanding artists of the day, including the renowned German poet, Goethe, who became the much older, but fast friend of the young prodigy. Through Sunday afternoon concerts in the Mendelssohn home, and other efforts, Felix was instrumental in the rediscovery of Johann Sebastion Bach's work.

As a young man, Mendelssohn traveled to England, Scotland, and Italy, where he was inspired to write his fourth published symphony, which he called the "Italian." A symphony had been commissioned by the Philharmonic Society of London, and under his own direction, the work was first performed when he was only twenty-four years old. He continued to travel throughout Europe all of his life, conducting and performing, but he made his home in Leipzig, where he founded a conservatory of music. there he taught and administered, as he continued to be a conductor, performer, and composer, as well as a husband and father of five children. A head injury, coupled with his extreme activity, severely taxed his health, and he died at the age of thirty-eight.

Mendelssohn's fourth, the "Italian Symphony" in A major, Opus 90, was actually the third symphony he wrote for full symphonic orchestration, but the fourth to be published. It was preceded by twelve symphonies for string symphony as well. The traditional four movements are present. The last movement bears the only truly Italian earmarks, the others simply reflecting the delight and gaiety that Mendelssohn experienced while visiting Italy.

The symphony opens with a bright melody in the violin section, which is developed and then moves on to a second melody, presented by the clarinets and bassoons. The third theme is treated fugally, introduces the development seciton, and reaches the movement's climax. The recapitulation brings back all three themes.

The andante con moto is of a more solemn character, thought by many to represent a religious procession. The orchestration is light, with lower strings providing an almost constant underlying beat. The melody is passed from instrument to instrument, varied, and then joined by a second melody offered by the clarinet. Free treatment of the themes follows. In this movement Mendelssohn uses flutes for delicate decoration and countermelody.

First violins introduce the melody of the third movement, an informal minuet. The bassoons and horns lead the trio section. The first section returns, with interjections, to round out the format.

The finale, actually based on Italian dances, is a swift saltarello, beginning immediately with the saltarello rhythm. The saltarello is an Italian carnival dance requiring athletic movements, its rhythm being characterized by impulsive leaps. The first two theames of this movement lie within the saltarello, the third one being part of a tarantella, a similar frenetic dance particularly characterized by perpetual motion. In the end, the Italian dances combine, with the saltarello coming again to the fore.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin I
Vernon Stinebaugh, Concertmaster
Carolyn Snyder +
Beth Kintner +
Esther Carpenter
Kay E. Miller +

Violin II
Christine Shenk *
Frank Horner +
Teresa Worman
Renee Troyer +
Rebecca Camp
Vera Wickline

Viola
Rob Curry *+
Audrey Swartzendruber
Naida Walker

Cello
Susan Favorite *+
Norman Waggy +
Loren Waggy +
Jill Rieman +

Bass
Mark Tomlonson *+
Kevin Ryan +
Dr. Herbert Ingraham

Piccolo
Cynthia Rotruck +

Flute
Bev Moore *
Cynthia Rotruck +
Jane Snyder +

Oboe
Stephanie Jones *
George Blossom
Clarinet
Robert Jones
Mark Huntington +

Bassoon
Thomas Owen *
Lovena Miller +

Horn
Gary A. Greene *
Andrea Warnke +
Janet Tomlonson
Mark Bechtel +

Trumpet
Leonard Webb *+
Steve Hammer +
Randy Replogle +

Trombone
Larry Dockter *
Chris Garber +
Philip Howard +

Tuba
Jeff Courtright +

Percussion
Diane Laumer
Kent Williams +

Harp
Bridgett Stuckey

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student