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Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 41st Season

 

Sunday, March 2nd, 1980
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  St. Lawrence Overture Robert Washburn  
       
  Horn Concerto in C minor, Op. 8 Franz Strauss  
 

I. Allegro molto
II. Andante
III. Allegro molto

 
  Jonathan E. Snyder, horn  
       
  Roumanian Folk Dances Béla Bartók  
 

Joc cu Bata
Braul
Pe Loc
Buciumeana
Poarga Romaneasca
Maruntel

 
       
  Intermission  
       
  Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
 

First Movement

 
  Julie Hunn, piano  
       
  L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2 Georges Bizet  
 

I. Pastorale
II. Intermezzo
III. Menuetto
IV. Farandole

 
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  St. Lawrence Overture Robert Washburn
(b. 1928)
 
 

Robert Washburn was born at Bouckville, New York, in 1928. He studied composition with Bernard Rogers, Darius Milhaud, and Nadia Boulanger, and earned his Doctorate at the Eastman School of Music. His music is quite accessible, being moderately dissonant at times, but generally rhythmic, and with clearly defined themes.

St. Lawrence Overture was written in 1963. The instrumentation of the work includes woodwinds and brasses in pairs, a moderately large percussion section, and the normal complement of strings. The winds are given prominent soloistic passages and both high and low strings are called upon for important melodic statement.

The structural divisions of the composition are made obvious through the use of two contrasting themes and periodic changes of tempo. The opening theme is first heard in the oboe at a spirited allegro tempo. The second theme is a more regal melody, stated in the high woodwinds against a pizzicato string background. The climax of the overture is reached in the closing section where both themes are juxtaposed to form an appealing contrapuntal texture.


 
       
  Horn Concerto in C minor, Op. 8 Franz Strauss
(1822-1905)
 
 

Franz Strauss was better known as a performer than as a composer in his own time. He played first horn in the Munich Court Orchestra and was one of the greatest horn players of all time. When he was almost 69, he had to give up horn playing because of a severe case of asthma, and turned his attention to the strings. he became highly skilled at both the viola and the violin. As a composer, he wrote exclusively for the horn.

Among his contemporaries were Wagner, Gounod, Verdi and Offenbach. His music shows his debt to Schumann, Weber, and Beethoven. What is more interesting is that it gives hints of things to come in the work of his more famous son, Richard.

The work is in three movements, played without pausing. The second movement is slower than the outer two, and the transition from the second to the third is more apparent than from the first to the second.

The orchestra has two themes not shared by the solo horn. We hear them immediately in the opening "march." The second of the two reminds us of early Beethoven.

The first movement (Allegro molto) opens with the aforementioned orchestral theme, immediately followed by the more dramatic march theme. Strings enter first, followed by woodwinds, then brass, until the march reaches its climax in the tutti. The music abruptly softens, and the horn makes its entry in a sweet, melancholy melody. This comes to a close with the orchestra hinting briefly at its opening theme. The strings strongly repeat the horn theme, before the horn makes its second major entrance, a dramatic rising scale of three notes. The horn is more spirited here, and reminds us of the extraordinary horn part in Till Eulenspiegel written by Richard Strauss just four years after his father, Franz, had retired from horn playing. (It was no doubt the example Franz set that led Richard to write such demanding horn parts himself.) Now, for the first time, another instrument almost gets equal billing, as the flute plays a lilting counterpoint to the horn. After a brief orchestral interlude, the horn returns in a spirited cadenza.

The transition to the second movement (Andante) is marked by the orchestra's return to the opening march theme. The horn begins a slow melody, backed by a more rapid, legato movement in the strings. This is repeated, and then developed in a much more dramatic manner. The horn returns, accompanied by the flute, before playing a short solo. The orchestra then ends the movement with a rising chord, and comes to a full stop.

The third and final movement (Allegro molto) begins with a full orchestral statement of the opening themes, after which the horn returns. The strings develop strong, rising motifs of slightly Beethovenian character, terminating in dramatic trumpet calls. After a quiet interlude, the horn begins a slow, melodious theme, which builds into a forceful orchestral crashing, strongly contrasting with the horn and flute duet which follows. After this duet, which recalls the opening movement, the horn goes into a virtuoso display of rapid tonguinig and wide scale runs which continue as the orchestra rises through a final statement of the opening theme.


 
       
  Roumanian Folk Dances Béla Bartók
(1881-1945)
 
 

Béla Bartók was born in a part of Hungary which is now in Roumania. At that time, it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was unhappy with the musical climate of Budapest while it was part of Austria, and was even more disenchanted when Nazi influence began to be felt. In 1940 he fled to the United States, where he found a position at Columbia University. He was a retiring person, and his music was considered "difficult." His career declined, as did his health, and he died of leukemia in 1945, almost totally ignored. His death brought him long-deserved recognition, and his stature rose to the point where a number of critics included his in "the Four B's."

Bartók was a brilliant pianist, a creative composer, and a probing ethnomusicologist. With his fellow composer Zoltan Kodaly, he tramped the back-country of Transylvania with a recorder, collecting folksongs of the Magyar people (ethnic Hungarians). Until Bartók taught us otherwise, the public understanding of "Hungarian" music was based on Germanic romanticizations of gypsy tunes incorporated into the works of Liszt, Brahms, and even Haydn.

The dance suite to be played today represents some of the fruits of thos "most happy days" with the peasants. The work was originally for piano, solo, but has been arranged for a number of ensembles, including piano and violin, harp quintet, and small orchestra. Bartók, himself, orchestrated the latter.

The work consists of seven dances, the last two of which are usually played together.

1. Joccubata (Stick-Dance) From Moroszobad, Transylvania. It features the strings, and is slightly wistful.

2. Braul (Sash-Dance) From Egres, Yugoslavia. This features the clarinet, and is gay and quick in duple measure.

3. Pe Loc (Stamping Dance) Also from Egres. Rather slow, with a steady step and a melody notable from small intervals. It features the piccolo, backed by "pedal notes" sounding like the drones of bagpipes.

4. Buciumeana (Hornpipe) From Butschum (or Bucium), a district in Transylvania. Again, the violin is featured, in a haunting gypsy melody in three-quarter time.

5. Porga Romaneasca (Roumanian polka) From Transylvania. Quick and lively, with a broken-chord melody, marked into groups of three beats, three beats, and two beats.

6 & 7. Maruntel (Quick dances from Belenyes) Fast dances, using very small steps and movements.


 
       
  Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453
(First Movement)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
 

Mozart died at the age of thirty-five (possibly of Bright's Disease). In that short time, he wrote an enormous amount of music. There is evidence that Mozart was of robust constitution and might have lived into his eighties, as his sister did, had it not been for his obsession with work. Kochel cataloged some 626 works, including 41 numbered symphonies, 19 masses, more than 20 operas, and almost 30 piano concertos. By 1791, Mozart was completely exhausted, and it was at this moment that the disease caught him. Within six months he was dead.

The Concerto in G, K. 453 was written in April of 1784, when Mozart was 28 years old, and at the height of his popularity. The concerto has a sunny, optimistic flavor. Mozart was earning a good income at this time through his subscription concerts in Vienna, and the concerto reflects his mood at the time.

The work was written to be performed by Babette von Ployer, who (according to Irving Kolodin) must have "...had great facility in arpeggiation and decoration, for the work abounds in both." However, other works written at the time were similarly ornate, and the period from 1784 to 1786 was described by Wyzewa and Saint-Foix as "la grand période de virtuosité." Mozart, himself, in a letter to his father, described the three concertos, K. 450, 451, and 453 as "concertos to make one sweat."

The first movement, consistent with classical tradition, is in an allegro tempo and follows the sonata-allegro formal scheme. Before the entrance of the piano, the orchestra plays a complete exposition. The first entrance of the soloist signals a second exposition section, with the orchestral themes repeated by the soloist and, in addition, a new second theme. The development has prominent triplet patterns in the piano and the usual frequenty changes of tonality. The key of G major returns for the recapitulation. The cadenza played by today's soloist is one of Mozart's own creations.


 
       
  L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2 Georges Bizet
(1838-1875)
 
 

This is the second of two suites derived from the incidental music to the play L'Arlesienne (The Girl from Arles), by Alphonse Daudet. The play itself was unsuccessful, having a run of fewer than three weeks. Bizet rescored the music into a suite of five pieces, and after his death, his friend Ernest Guirand arranged four more pieces to form a second suite, three movements of which we are to hear today. As in so many cases, the "incidental" music has outlived the play to which it had been considered secondary.

The first movement of the second suite is titled Pastorale. It is slow and rhythmic in the manner of a barcarolle. This "rowing" pace is broken by a faster section, decidedly Spanish in flavor, after which the music returns to its previous mood.

The second movement, Intermezzo, opens with a short and powerfully dramatic melodic statement in the strings, low woodwinds, and horns. The middle section has a more animated tempo and is highlighted by a gorgeous melody played by horn and alto saxophone. The emotional high point of this section is reached with a return to the material heard at the beginning of the movement.

The third movement is a stately and dignified Menuetto. The first and last sections of the movement are given to harp and solo flute, with a saxophone counterpoint near the end. The middle section consists of short, punctuated chords for full orchestra.

The last movement, Farandole, returns to the opening theme of the Prelude to the first suite, a stately theme, now treated in canonic fashion. Then the flute leads us into a lively dance, after which, the two themes are played simultaneously to the end.


 
       
 

Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Marion Etzel, Concertmaster
Carla Slotterback *
Mary Berkebile
Ruth Berkebile
Venona Detrick
Schelle Gnagey
Linda Hare
William Kownover
Renée Rose +
Kirsten Rupel +
Ganette Smith
Carolyn Snyder
Julie Weatherholt
Mary Weatherholt +

Viola
Samuel Nicarry *
Vanessa Cox +
Myrna Frantz +
Denise Lutter

Cello
Loren Waggy + *
Robert Allen
Christine Beery
Jerry Lessig

Bass
Calvin Bisha *
Paul Anderson +
Sam Gnagey

Flute
Thomas Owen *
Linda Boyd +

Oboe
Beth Miller *
Polly Edwards

English Horn
Stephanie Jones
Clarinet
Tim Clark *+
Lila Hammer

Bassoon
Mary Patterson *+
Amy Statler +

Horn
Jonathan Snyder *+
Phil Landis +
Verle Ormsby
Michael Wells

Trumpet
Alan Severs *
Teresa Durham +
Greg Reed

Trombone
Larry Dockter *
Brian Hartman

Bass Trombone/Tuba
Hugh Callison

Timpani
Kenneth Jordan

Percussion
Kenneth Jordan *
Barry Coe +
Terry McKee
Lisa Savage +

Harp
Harriett Hamer +
Krista Hamer +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
       
 
Julie Hunn, a junior from Polo, Illinois, is a music education major. She has been involved in the Manchester College Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, Chorale, Choral Society, A Cappella Choir, and the 1978 production of Brigadoon. In addition to performing in repertoire recitals and the annual Honors Recital, Julie has been accompanist for performers at these recitals, several senior recitals, Chorale, and Choral Society. She has been a recipient of the Clyde W. Holsinger Memorial Scholarship and the Stefan Kaufmann Memorial Music Scholarship. Her teacher through high school was Catherine Styczynski, and her teachers at Manchester College have been Diana Holthuis White and Donna Guenther.
Jon Snyder, is a senior physics and pre-med major from Lombard, Illinois. He has played French horn for twelve years, with private study from such instructors as Carroll Simmons, Sharon DeRoche, Marvin Howe of the University of Michigan, and Eugene Chausow, who is affiliated with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Jon's music honors include scholarships to the Interlochen National Music Camp and performance with the Honor Brass Quintet at the Allerton Symposium sponsored by the University of Illinois, Champaign. During his college career at Manchester, Jon has participated in the Manchester Civic/College Symphony, Concert Band, Woodwind Quintet, and in faculty chamber music recitals.