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Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 43rd Season


Sunday, November 8th, 1981
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  La belle Galathée Overture Franz von Suppé  
  An Orchestra Primer Theron Kirk  
  Jeff Leifer and Chris Trowbridge, narrators  
  Suite in A minor for Flute and String Orchestra George Philipp Telemann  

Les Plaisirs
Air a l'Italien

  Ruth Condon, flute  
  Suite Modale Ernest Bloch  

Allegro giocoso
Adagio-Allegro deciso

  Ruth Condon, flute  
  Soirées Musicales Benjamin Britten  



Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  La belle Galanthée Overture Franz von Suppé

Von Suppé, one of the most Viennese of composers, was born in Dalmatia with the marvelously Italo-Gothic name of Francesco Ezecchiele Ermenegildo Cabaliere Suppé-Demelli; but he was taken to Vienna at an early age, and was certainly Viennese by upbringing.

He is one of those composers who is very well known, but for only a very small proportion of his output. Although he has over 150 works to his credit, over sixty of them operas, he is known almost entirely for two or three overtures. Best known are the Poet and Peasant, then Light Cavalry, and finally, the work we are to hear today, the Beautiful Galatea. The operetta seems to have sunk without trace, but Galatea must have been either the Greek nereid who created the river Acis from the blood of her slain lover by that name, or the Galatea whom Pygmalion brought to life from a marble statue, in which case it can be said that The Beautiful Galatea is a Viennese version of My Fair Lady.

The work begins with a spirited allegro in 6/8 time, which stops suddenly for a solo horn-call. This is followed by a brief oboe and clarinet introduction to the flute, doing its "birdy" thing, as Viennese flutes are wont to do. The horn-call is then repeated, and is followed by more Arcadian twitterings by the flute.

Then comes a passage of celestial string melody ala Parsifal, marked dolce con espressione e sempre legato, which is Italian for "celestial string melody alla Parsifal."

The horn-call is repeated by the bassoon, followed by the flute, then by the horn again, but this time softer. All this bucolic fluttering is ended by a jolting crash, which is a favorite device of von Suppé, afterwhich we are whirled away in an attractive waltz, which lasts for some time, passing through various incarnations. The pace increases with the addition of snare and bass drums, then quietens down again.

Suddenly, we are back into the waltz, the most recognized part of the overture, and as we approach the end of the piece, the waltz is renewed with great vigor and sweep, right to the end, which, to our surprise, comes just when we expect it (unlike the Poet and Peasant, famous for its many false endings!).

  Suite in A minor for Flute and String Orchestra George Philipp Telemann

Telemann was a contemporary of J.S. Bach, and in his own day, as highly esteemed. Today he is greatly overshadowed by Bach. He is now regaining his popularity, although as recently as 1956, he is given short schrift by Percy Scholes in The Oxford Companion to Music thusly: "Such of his works as are now performed from time to time are plasing and tuneful without showing striking originality."! That may be more patronizing than poor Telemann deserves. Pleasing and tuneful, you will hear for yourselves.

The suite consists of seven movements, only four of which will be heard today. The work is scored for recorder, although the transverse flute was available at the time. It was customary for German and English composers of the day to indicate when the transverse flute was meant, and it is known that Telemann admired the special sound of the end-blown recorder. It is, however, frequently played on the (transverse) flute, and many prefer it that way. That is the way we hear it today.

Ouverture -- The Ouverture, with its pattern of slow, fast, slow, has a strong French character. Telemann was much influenced by Couperin and Rameau. In fact, the whole suite has a French flavor.

Les Plaisirs -- A short, lively piece.

Air a l'Italien -- A stately movement throughout.

Rejouissance (Rejoicing) -- A fast, lilting piece with some attractive echo effects between flute and strings.

  Suite Modale for Flute Solo and String Orchestra Ernest Bloch

Bloch was born in Switzerland, the son of a Jewish dealer in clocks. His Jewishness was to have a profound effect on his development as an artist. Bloch showed his musical talent early, although there is no evidence of this musicality's being a family trait. His father considered music an unpromising career. In spite of this lack of encouragement, he was playing a simple flute by the age of six, and by the age of eleven had vowed to become a composer. The vow was a genuine one, written out and burned solemnly over a pyre of stones.

Bloch studied in Brussels (with Ysaye), and during that time fell under the influence of the music of Franck. Later influences were Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy, though his music shows few traces of these influences except in principle.

Bloch came to the United States in 1916, and except for eight years spent in the Alps, he settled in this country, where he taught (Roger Sessions) as well as composed.

He went through several periods, ranging from Post Romantic to Neo-Classic and Serialist, but his best-known period began around 1911 when he turned out a series of gripping works expressing the Jewish spirit. He developed an intense interest in what he called "...the complex, glowing, agitated Jewish soul, ... the freshness and naivety of the patriarchs; the violence of the prophetic Books; the Jew's savage love of justice; the despair of Ecclesiastes; the sorrow and immensity of Job; the sensuality of the Song of Songs.... It is all this that I endeavour to hear in myself, and transcribe into music: the sacred emotion of the race that slumbers far down in our soul." The anguish he poured out during this period can best be heard in the Rhapsody Schelomo, which has a distinctly oriental flavor.

The work we hear today is one of his last, written two years before his death. It has a very French quality, and there are only occasional flashes of Hebraic anguish, which would go un-noticed by a listener not familiar with his earlier music.

The work is in four movements, marked I. Allegro moderato, II. L'istesso, III. Allegro giocoso, and IV. Adagio; Allegro deciso. They flow effortlessly into one another and, although the tempi vary considerably (often there is one measure of 2/4 dropped into a section of 3/4), the impression is of continuity.

  Soirées Musicales, Op. 9 Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten is perhaps England's best-known contemporary composer. In a country whose musical life has most recently been dominated by symphonists (Vaughan-Williams, Bax, Alwyn, Bliss, et al.). Britten stands out as the exception; his forte is vocal music, especially opera. His operatic career dates from around 1945. Prior to that time, he wrote more instrumental music in various forms, with a clear predilection for the genre of variations, of which today's piece is an example.

Britten has long shown an affinity for the music of Rossini. He has used Rossini themes in a number of his works including the background music for two films. Five years after writing the Soirées Musicales, based on Rossini themes, he wrote Matinees Musicales, based on five more Rossini themes. Both suites were written as ballet music, the first for one by Antony Tudor, produced by the London Ballet at the Palladium, and the second for Lincoln Kirstein, and the American Ballet Company. The two suites were combined for Balanchine's Divertimento, which went on tour in South America in 1941.

The Soirées are divided into five parts.

March -- The theme, heard three times from various instruments, is from the third act of William Tell ... the "Pas de Soldats, No. 16."

Canzonetta -- This theme is actually from Rossini's original Soirées Musicales, the first, infact, titled "La Promessa."

Tirolese -- This is derived from Rossini's La Pastorella delle Alpi, and evokes the vision of Schuhplattler dancing, along with yodeling, as suggested first by the trumpet, then by the other instruments.

Bolero -- From L'Invito, and with a Spanish flavor. Note the castanets.

Tarantella -- I have Andrew Porter's word that this comes from a sacred part-song called La Carita, which Britten's mother sang to him as a child.

While the thematic sources are Rossini, the music is Britten, as you can prove to yourself by listening to other Britten works based on themes by other composers from wide-spaced periods like Purcell (Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra) and Frank Bridge. He chose themes suited to his own spirit.


Orchestra Personnel

Marion Etzel, Concertmaster
Carla Slotterback *
Mary Berkebile
Carolyn Caldwell
Karen S. Christman +
Beth Jones +
Rosemary Manifold
Christine Shenk Oetama +
Ervin Orban
Renée Rose +
Britta L. Samuelson +
Elizabeth Starcher

Gordon Collins *
Linda Hare
Ronda Mendenhall +
Melissa Trier

Jerry Lessig *
Christine Beery
Philip J. Christman +
Waverly Conlan
Kathryn Hendershot +
Nancy Rowe +

Calvin Bisha *
Adrian Mann
Ingrid Rupel +

Donna Gillespie +

Patty Jones *+
Donna Gillespie +

Stephanie Jones *
George Donner
Peggy Parker *
Loa Traxler +

Takashi Yamano *
Amy Statler +

Eric Joseph *+
Brent L. Barto +
Eric Jones +
Michael Wells

Andrew Norman *
Steve Hammer
Mark Joseph +

D. Larry Dockter *
Brian Hartman
David Weatherholt +

Marvin Crider +

Kenneth Jordan

Larry Ford
Bill Leonhard +
Paige Smith +

Dianne Grossman +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
Ruth CondonRuth Condon's professional experience is extensive and varied. She is in her sixth season with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and is currently the assistant principal flute. From 1974-76 whe was principal flutist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the Indiana Chamber Orchestra. She held the principal flute chair in the Aspen Chamber Symphony from 1973-75. In 1967 and 1970 she performed and recorded with Chuck Mangione.

Ms. Condon has studied flute with some of America's most prestigious flutists. During her baccalaureate study at the Eastman School of Music she studied with Joseph Mariano. She studied with Samuel Baron at the State University of New York in Stonybrook where she completed the Master of Music degree. She also studied with Albert Saurini of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

In 1965, Ms. Condon was soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in the Mozart Concerto. She performed the Nielson Concerto with the Rochester Philharmonic in 1970, and the Telemann Suite in A minor with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in 1974. She will appear as soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orhcestra this season in Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp.

Ruth Condon is currently on the factuly of Butler University. She held previous teaching appointments to the faculties of Point Park College, Taylor University, and Indiana University at Fort Wayne.