This Season

arrowPast Seasonsarrow

Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 44th Season

 

Sunday, October 31st, 1982
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Overture in Italian Style, Op. 170 Franz Schubert  
       
  Symphony No. 82 in C Major ("L'Ours") Franz Josef Haydn  
 

I. Vivace assai
II. Allegretto
III. Menuet
IV. Vivace

 
       
  Intermission  
       
  Peter and the Wolf: A Musical Tale, Op. 67 Sergei Prokofiev  
  Paul Keller, narrator
Featuring the Michiana Ballet Company
 
       
  The Nutcracker, Op. 71 Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky  
 

March
Dance of the Mirlitons
Russian Dance
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Chinese Dance
Arabian Dance
Waltz of the Flowers

 
  Featuring the Michiana Ballet Company  
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Overture in C Major, in the Italian Style, Op. 170 Franz Peter Schubert
(1797-1828)
 
 

Overture to what? you might ask. Originally, of course, the "overture" was an "opening" for a large work -- an opera or oratorio, but soon it was a term being applied to a concert work intended to stand on its own, but patterned after the other sort intended as a true introduction.

There were two forms of overture, the French and the Italian. The French sort began with a slow movement, repeated, then followed by a fast movement. Sometimes there was a slow, dance-like movement added. The Italian composers thought this an ineffectual form for an introduction to a larger work, since audiences could mistake the slow beginning for the tuning up which they have just been hearing. The Italians thought that something more dramatic was called for to make the audience stop scuffling about and chattering, so their overtures began with a fast movement, followed by a slower one, and rounded off with a fast one.

You will notice that this Overture by Schubert follows the French form in terms of tempo, rather than the Italian. Why, then, is it subtitled "In the Italian Style"? It makes sense if we interpret that to mean not that the work is conceived in the 17th century Baroque form of the Italian Overture, but that it mimics the style of an 18th century Italian composer.

This work was written at a time (1817) when the popularity of Gioacchino Rossini had reached a peak in Vienna. In the year preceding its composition, no fewer than three Rossini operas had opened in Vienna, and the public was clamoring for more. Schubert supplied this demand just as later Dvořák would supply the demand for more Brahms by writing his "Slavonic Dances."

The three Rossini works with which Schubert had lately become familiar were L'inganno felice, Tancredi, and L'italiana in algeri. His Overture in C opens with a motif straight from the last part of the overture to Tancredi, and is familiar from other Rossini overtures. Other "Rossiniesque" traits found in this work are the use of flutes, noted at the very beginning of the adagio section, the rollicking rhythms of the allegro, and the long crescendos ending in fanfares.


 
       
  Symphony No. 82 in C Major ("L'Ours") Franz Josef Haydn
(1732-1809)
 
 

Symphony No. 82 is one of a series of six symphonies, numbering from 82 to 87, commissioned by a Paris-based musical organization called "Les Concerts de la Loge Olympique," directed by Joseph, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (incidentally, one of the earliest black composers to achieve such a high position). This group is known as "The Paris Symphonies." Haydn is known as "The Father of the Symphony," and it is in these works that symphonic form reaches its maturity.

Haydn is credited with being the first composer to make a distinction between chamber music and concert music, and the expansion of the orchestra is a manifestation of this change. Considering the smallness of the music rooms of the time, the larger orchestras required by Haydn must have produced a striking effect. Contemporary critics found his music "scandalously loud."

Haydn wrote these symphonies while in the service of the Prince Nikolaus Eszterházy. In fact, some of the six "Paris" symphonies had already been played at Eszterházy before they were commissioned, and were scored with the limitations of the Eszterházy orchestra in mind. The six "Paris" symphonies were not written in the order implied by their numbers, the first (number 82) having been written last, and scored for the larger forces of the paris orchestra. The addition of trumpets and drums lends a martial air to this and other of Haydn's C major symphonies; in fact, they are often known as "trumpet-and-drum" symphonies.

The first movement is in sonata form, and unlike most of his late symphonies, begins dramatically, without a slow introduction (of his last 21 symphonies, only two others begin this way). As is typical of Haydn, he makes the principal subject from two contrasting sub-sections, and he alternates passages of power with ones of grace, a feature some critics attribute to the growing influence of Mozart.

The second movement is a theme-and-variations of alternating major and minor sections based on the original melody (in other symphonies, Haydn introduced new material for this movement). This structure is not unlike a rondo.

The third movement, though clearly derived from the "ländler," a swinging folk-dance, is more elegant than usual for Haydn, in all likelihood in deference to the fact that it would be performed in Paris before the French aristocracy. The trio moves to a minor key. This movement is longer and more complex than earlier  ones in the minuet form by Haydn

The Finale, like the 1st movement, is in the Sonata form, and is frequently cited by critics as a model for final movements. It is in 2/4 time, which has become ever more popular with Haydn. Here, the trumpets and drums are in greater evidence. This is the movement that suggested the sub-title "The Bear" for this symphony. Dancing bears were popular at the time of writing, and they were frequently accompanied by bagpipes. You will hear the familiar opening drone of the pipes, if you listen carefully, and it is that which provoked the nickname, "The Bear."


 
       
  Peter and the Wolf: A Musical Tale, Op. 67 Sergei Prokofiev
(1891-1953)
 
 

Prokofiev wrote music in the Late Romantic mold, spicing it with enough dissonances and unexpected key-changes to give it a twentieth-century flavor. He was a prolific composer who produced works in all categories, including operas, ballets, film-scores, symphonies (seven), chamber music and concertos. He was a brilliant pianist and often performed his own works (he wrote five piano concertos). He drew frequently on folklore for his inspiration, and sometimes resorted to writing his own "folk-tales." Such is the case today.

Peter and the Wolf is a children's story wherein the roles of the various protagonists are assigned to particular instruments. Peter is played by the strings, the Bird by the flute, the Duck by the oboe, the Cat by the clarinet, the Grandfather by the bassoon, the Wolf by the French horns, and the shots of the hunters by the kettledrums and bass drum.

Nothing more needs to be said, since the whole story will be narrated for you today, as it was when it was first presented in 1936 at the Children's Theatre in Moscow.


 
       
  The Nutcracker Suite No. 1, Op. 71a Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
(1840-1893)
 
 

Tchaikovsky is the depair of writers of program notes, since he is perhaps the best known of "classical" composers. Even the casual concert-goer is familiar with his life through often lurid film treatments or romantic biographies. There is little new to be said without stooping to rumors about his supposedly forced suicide to avert a scandal, an assertion I neither believe nor intend to mention!

Of all his works, probably the most famous are the 1812 Overture and The Nutcracker Suite. One of his greatest strengths is his rich orchestration, and the introduction of unusual instruments. He used gun-shots in the former, and the celesta in the latter. However, Beethoven was the first to use gun-shots and Widor was the first to use the celesta, despite clains to the contrary. Still, the Nutcracker was the first sueccessful piece of music to use the celesta, and to all intents and purposes, introduced that instrument to the public.

The ballet tells the story of a little girl who receives a nutcracker for Christmas. It is in the form of a soldier. She falls asleep and dreams that all the Christmas presents come alive and fight against the Mouse King and his minions.

The Suite is a selection of pieces of the ballet, and the performance today omits one of the selections, the Overture.

March shows the full power of the orchestra with brass and percussion resounding, underpinned by the pizzicato strings, a typical Tchaikowsky touch.

Mirlitons are a musical instrument rather like "kazoos," played by children. In the full ballet version, the score calls for these "toy flutes," but in the Suite, flutes are used.

Of all the sections of the ballet, the Trepak is the most Russian. Even in a purely concert performance, one can imagine the spectacular leaping of the leather-booted Cossacks.

It is in the Dance of the Sugar-plum Fairy that the celesta makes its first appearance with an orchestra. Tchaikowsky had heard the instrument, played by its inventor, Mustel, shortly before he wrote The Nutcracker. Widor had written for the instrument before, but this was the first time it was combined with a full orchestra.

The Arabian Dance is scored mainly for the woodwinds and muted strings, though the tambourine is occasionally heard. The plaintive cry of the oboe, particularly, recalls the sound of the Middle-Eastern shawm. Here, Tchaikowsky reveals the Romantic obsession with the exotic.

The exoticism of the Arabian Dance is echoed in the Chinese Dance, with the use of the glockenspiel and the triangle.

The Waltz of the Flowers may well be the most popular part of the Nutcracter Suite. It needs little comment.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Venona B. Detrick, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Claudia Barnes
Mary Berkebile
Carolyn Caldwell
Beth Jones +
Karen Myers +
Michael Polera
J. Renée Rose +
Kirsten Rupel +
Britta L. Samuelson +
Suzanne Schmucker +

Viola
Ronda Mendenhall *+ (co-)
Anna Snyder *+ (co-)
Anne Boebel
Gordon Collins
Annette Martin

Cello
Jerry Lessig *
Christine Beery
Philip Christman +
Waverly Conlan
David Pinkham +
Nancy Rowe +
Rebecca Waas

Bass
Christopher Bowser *
Calvin Bisha
Matt Greven

Piccolo
Denise Van Petten +

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Nancy Calhoun
Denise Van Petten +
Oboe
Stephanie Jones *
Dawn Zumbrun

English Horn
Stephanie Jones

Clarinet
Margaret Trentacosti *
Loa Traxler +
Wes Yoder +

Bassoon
Takashi Yamano *
Douglas Hodge

Horn
Eric Joseph *+
Eric Jones +
Max Murphy

Trumpet
Andrew Norman *
Steve Hammer

Trombone
Brian Hartman

Timpani
Christopher Caldwell +

Percussion
Bill Leonhard *+
Paige Smith +

Harp
Nancy Morse

Celesta
Ingrid Rupel +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
       
 

The Michiana Ballet Company

 
  Waynne Warren, Artistic Director  
  Bill Bridger
Tamatha Bridger
Betty Conches
Craig Culp
Jenne Dufour
Carol Eversull
Scott Lehman
Laura McGovern
Peggy Prieshoff
Maria Sailor
Matthew Salchert
Peter Schabel
Melanie Wade
       
 
The Michiana Ballet Company, a not-for-profit organization and a Member Company of the National Association for Regional Ballet, is a regional ballet group dedicated to theatrical dance of the highest quality. The group has earned the recognition of the national Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, and regional ballet groups and leaders across the country. The company combines skilled teachers and dancers and a board of directors drawn from the regional community.

Members of the Michiana Ballet audition from the Michiana area and are chosen on the basis of talent and training. Company dancers study in non-tuition classes taught by the Ballet's Artistic Director, Waynne Warren, a dancer and choreographer who has performed and studied at some of this country's foremost theaters and schools.

The company style has its root in ballet but delves also into jazz, modern and ethnic dance forms. By encompassing this wide spectrum, the company is free to express a full range of emotions translated into dance.
Paul Keller has had a long and distinguished teaching career at Manchester College. He was appointed to the faculty of Manchester College in 1948 and, although retired since 1978, he continues to teach on a part-time basis in the Department of Speech Communication.

Dr. Keller's educational background includes the A.B. degree from Manchester College, the Ph.M. degree from the University of Wisconsin, and the Ph.D. from Northwestern University. In 1979 he co-authored the book Monologue to Dialogue: An Exploration of Interpersonal Communication, published by Prentice-Hall.

Dr. Keller has been recognized on many occasions during his career for the excellence of his teaching. He is also highly regarded as a thoughtful and forceful public speaker.