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Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 45th Season

 

Sunday, November 6th, 1983
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Overture to The Barber of Seville Gioacchino Rossini  
       
  The Carnival of the Animals: A Zoological Fantasy Camile Saint-Saëns  
 

Introduction and Royal March of the Lions
Hens and Cocks
Wild Jackasses
Tortoises
The Elephant
Kangaroos
The Aquarium
Personages with Long Ears
The Cuckoo in the Forest
The Aviary
Pianists
Fossils
The Swan
Finale

 
  Paula and Beata Moon, pianists  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Concerto for Two Pianos in E-flat Major, K. 365 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
 

Allegro
Andante
Allegro

 
  Paula and Beata Moon, pianists  
       
  Lieutenant Kijé Suite, Op. 60 Sergei Prokofiev  
 

The Birth of Kijé
Romance
Kijeé's Wedding
Troika

 
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Overture to The Barber of Seville Gioacchino Rossini
(1792-1868)
 
 

Except for the Overture to William Tell, known to many as "the Lone Ranger music," the Overture to The Barber of Seville is Rossini's best-known work. The opera, like Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, is based on the play Le Barbier de Seville by Beaumarchais. Figaro, the barber, is a man of many talents, and (like the modern Hollywood hairdresser) rubbed elbows with many classes of people, and was welcomed into the homes of the highest society. He was familiar with the ladies' gossip and the lechers' intrigues. Both operas revolve around his efforts to smooth the way of true love and to thwart the ill-intentioned.

It is no coincidence that Rossini chose to use the same story-line so beautifully exploited by Mozart; he was a great admirer of Mozart, and came very close to imitation in several sections of the opera. In his own day, he was frequently accused of plagiarism and laziness ... the latter cited as the reason for the former. Whether or not he "borrowed" from others, he certainly borrowed from himself. If a work was not well-received the first time, Rossini had no reluctance to use it again in a different context. The music of the Overture to The Barber of Seville is here in its third reincarnation. It was first used for Aureliano in Palmira, and later in Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra.

In a span of nineteen years, Rossini wrote thirty-six operas, hardly a sign of laziness, you might say. Yet, at the age of thirty-seven, he simply stopped writing. Laziness is usually cited as the reason for his retirement, but Alberto Moravia has unearthed evidence that a painful ailment destroyed Rossini's concentration. In any case, he wrote almost nothing for the next forty years.

It is, of course, not possible to relate portions of this Overture to characters or events in the opera, since it was first written to introduce a Roman emperor, and later, the first Elizabeth, Queen of England. This did not keep early critics from imagining that they were hearing events from the opera, as they were unaware that it had not been written for the occasion.

When Rossini was asked for advice on writing an overture, he replied, "Wait until the eve of the performance. Nothing stimulates the inspiration than sheer necessity, the presence of a copyist who is waiting for your work, and the insistence of a frantic empresario who is tearing out his hair by the handful. In my time all the impresarios of Italy were bald at the age of thirty." It seems he waited too late to write the overture to this opera.


 
       
  The Carnival of the Animals Camille Saint-Saëns
(1835-1921)
 
 

Saint-Saëns was an extraordinarily prolific composer who worked in a surprising variety of media, including film-music. Oddly enough, The Carnival of the Animals, one of his most popular compositions, was written as an occasional piece, not to be played more than once (for a Mardi Gras celebration). Saint-Saëns considered it lightweight stuff, indeed. It is certainly playful. It is in the form of a suite, each movement of which has a characterictic mood. They are as follows:

1. Introduction and Royal March of the Lions
This begins with piano trills, steadily growing faster, and culminating with a piano fanfare, appropriately pompous for a lion. Then the regal march begins, with the pianos making runs like lion-roars. The strings take over the roars to the accompaniment of oriental tinkling on the pianos. Finally, the pianos resume the "roars."

2. Hens and Cocks
This is very "imitative," with the unmistakable pecking of the hens and the cock-a-doodle-do of the roosters.

3. Wild Jackasses
Here there is wild scampering of the pianos up and down the scales, forming a striking contrast with what is to follow.

4. Tortoises
Here is the first of many quotations from other composers. Saint-Saëns has taken the lively Can-can from Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld and turned it into a ponderous melody suitable for the tortoise.

5. The Elephant
A similar joke has been played on Berlioz, as his delicate Dance of the Sylphes has been slowed, and given over to the double-basses for the dance of the elephants.

6. Kangaroos
Kangaroos
is a piece for the pianos alone. The springy bounce of the animals is perfectly suggested.

7. The Aquarium
Here, the sinuous gliding of the silvery fish through shimmering water is suggested by piano arpeggios and tinkling cascades of the piano, aided by the xylophone.

8. Personages with Long Ears
We immediately hear the braying of the donkeys, a sly jab at Saint-Saëns' detractors.

9. The Cuckoo in the Forest
There is a slow, deliberate series of piano chords recalling Gregorian Chant, but which may be intended to suggest the swing of a pendulum. The clarinet plays the role of the cuckoo.

10. Aviary
Rapid flutterings of the flutes cleverly evoke the twittering of birds.

11. Pianists
All piano students and their parents will recognize the monotonous running of scales in different keys.

12. Fossils
The "fossils" here are the old war-horses trotted out for every summer concert at the town park. Works of several well-known composers are parodied. The first is a parody of Saint-Saëns' own work, Danse Macabre, about skeletons dancing in the graveyard. The xylophone plays the role of the dancing bones there, as well as here, the bony "fossils" being the old tunes.

After parodying his own music, Saint-Saëns turns his attention to a series of well-known French folk-songs. The first is J'ai du bon tabac ...The second is Ah Vous dirai je Maman ... The third is Au clair de la Lune ... The fourth, Going to Syria ..., and the last, a reference to The Barber of Seville, by Rossini. Most appropriate for today's concert.

13. The Swan
This is the only section Saint-Saëns allowed to be played during his lifetime, after the initial performance. It has become a favorite of cello performers.

14. Finale is an exuberant romp, recapitulating some of the pieces we have heard, and involving the entire orchestra.


 
       
  Concerto for two Pianos and Orchestra in E-flat Major, K. 365 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
 

This concerto was written for Mozart's sister, Maria Anna, while he was living in Salzburg in 1779. The mood conveyed throughout is one of optimism, confidence... even gaiety. This is remarkable in view of the trials, both personal and professional, which Mozart was suffering at the time. He had just returned from an unsuccessful season in Paris, which was preying on his mind, and his mother had just died. To make matters worse, the woman he was in love with, Aloysia Weber, lost interest in him, and married another. He took comfort in the company of her sister Constanze, but she admired him more for his talent than his person.

In spite of these vicissitudes, he was able to write the double concerto with no sign of despair. Some critics have made much of the minor touches during the development of the first movement, but the use of the contrasting minor is essential to Sonata form in any case, and its presence here is probably irrelevant to his personal trials at the time.

The opening Allegro movement has an orchestral introduction of almost two minutes before the entry of the pianos. The pervading mood is one of vivacity and ease of expression. This concerto was written immediately before the opera Idomeneo, and there are foreshadowings of the latter in this opening movement. The orchestral introduction sounds almost like the recitatives before the ariaas (with the pianos playing the part of the singers) in that opera and later ones like The Magic Flute.

The Andante middle movement is essentially reflective and delicate. One critic describes it as "...a nostalgic glance back to the happier days of Mozart's childhood at Salzburg..." The middle section has the orchestra producing "pedal points" to support the pianos... again suggesting operatic recitative.

The Finale, Rondo, is not so much gay as exhuberant, determined, or even aggressive. The cadenza demands great virtuosity on the part of the soloists.


 
       
  Lieutenant Kijé Suite, Op. 60 Sergei Prokofiev
(1891-1953)
 
 

Prokofiev, like Saint Saëns, worked in many musical forms. He wrote seven symphonies, five piano concerti, two violin concerti, several operas and ballets, and a great deal of film music.

Film music is a sort of black sheep of the musical family. Many critics consider it unworthy of comment. It is often said that film music, to serve its purpose, must of necessity, be bad music. That is, it must be unnoticed, so as not to detract from the screen activity. They say that when there is memorable film music, it is at the expense of the film. Those of us who have a special fondness for film music commonly cite Prokofiev as proof that fine film music is possible, in conjunction with fine films; vide Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible.

Lieutenant Kijé was written for a film. The plot goes something like this: Czar Nicholas I misreads a report, combining the last syllable of a name, "ki," with the Russian exploetive, "Jé," thus coining a new name "Kijé." To avoid embarrassing the monarch, his commanders continue to supply him with news of the exploits of this "young soldier." In efforts to conceal the deception, they get ever deeper. They conclude that the only way out of their dilemma is to kill off the hero. In today's concert, four episodes are played, but the audience is spared the sad Death of Kijé.

I. Birth of Kijé (Allegro)
    A slow trumpet fanfare opens this section. It is followed by a drum-roll, and then a fife-and-drum theme that reminds us of toy soldiers. It is a simple theme, repeated with slight variations, and a difficult trumpet part.

II. Romance (Andante)
    This is a melancholy section, describing a love-affair, unhappy, of course. (Kijé IS supposed to be Russian). Originally, this part called for a baritone, but in the concert version, the voice is usually replaced by a tenor saxophone. At first, we seem to hear Kijé moaning over his lost love. Then, the tone becomes more confident, as if to say, "There are plenty more fish in the sea!" After that, the music returns to a morose mood, as if to say, "But none like her!"

III. Kijé's Wedding (Allegro fastoso)
    The Tsar is saddened by Kijé's bad luck, so the Aides concoct a new romance which is more successful, culminating in marriage. The piece begins with a crash of the orchestra, and alternates between pompous pronouncements by full orchestra, and perky rhythms suggesting a wedding dance. There are variations featuring many instruments, including a very fluid part for trumpet.

IV. Troïka (Allegro con brio)
    A Russian hero must have a fondness for taverns, and here we have a drinking song, in the rhythm of the Troïka. A Troïka is a three-horse sleigh, and the jogging gait of the horses has provided the rhythm for many Russian songs. We can hear the jingling of the sleigh-bells.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Ervin Orbán, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Mark Adams
Mary Berkebile
Ruth Berkebile
Carolyn Caldwell
Venona Detrick
Chris Friddle
Eloise Guy
Beth Jones +^
Mary Moreland +^
Britta Lynn Samuelson +
Suzanne Schmucker +^
Beth Wilhelm
Yung Xi

Viola
Ethel Anderson *
Maria Eriksson
Delpha Laycock
Annette Martin
Cynthia Orbán

Cello
Waverly Conlan *
Valerie Goetz Doud
Laurie Kieffaber
David W. Pinkham +^
Rebecca B. Waas

Bass
Christopher Bowser *
Calvin Bisha
Joseph Ferraro

Piccolo
Denise Van Petten +

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Michael Carson

Oboe
Stephanie Jones *
Dawn Zumbrun
Clarinet
Cindy Greider *
Jane Grandstaff

Bassoon
Takashi Yamano *
Mack Walker

Saxophone
James Ator

Horn
Eric Jones *+
Dan Cripe +
John Morse
Cara Bickel +

Trumpet
Andrew Norman *
Steve Hammer
Ray Goelz +

Trombone
D. Larry Dockter *
David Schultz +
Randy Branaman +

Tuba
Carl Case

Timpani
Christopher Caldwell +

Percussion
Bill Leonhard *+
Terry McKee

Piano
R. Gary Deavel

Harp
Nancy Morse

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 
Paula (age 16) and Beata (age 14) Moon are seasoned concert performers despite their relatively young age. They began piano study at ages five and four, respectively, in the "Robyn System" for children at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. At the tender age of six each girl received a gold medal in the annual piano contest sponsored by the Conservatory.

Paula made her orchestral debut with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra when she was nine. She was a winner in the annual Young Artists Competition sponsored by the Symphony Society for musicians up to twenty-five years old when she was ten.

Beata debuted with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at the age of eight. She was a winner in the third Young People's Concert Audition contest sponsored by the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra.

The girls have performed on two different occasions with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and have given many private recitals plus performances for schools, churches, social clubs and fund-raising events.

They currently are studying piano at the Juilliard School of Music with Miss Adele Marcus, and reside in Greenlawn, New York, with their parents the Reverend and Mrs. Paul Moon.
Alison Adams was born and raised in England. She is married and the mother of two sons. Since 1956, when she moved to the United States, she has exhibited in the Southeast and Midwest, where she lives and works in North Manchester. Her work is included in private collections in England, Spain, Germany, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, and various states of he U.S., including Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida, Washington, California, and New York.

She works in various media. Her black or earth-toned drawings are usually large, and one in conte crayon, sometimes combined with charcoal. Her sculpture materials include bronze, cast by the traditional lost-wax method and polyester resin. The latter is capable of taking many finishes, and is suitable to many shapes. Adams is interested in exploring the possibilities of this most modern substance, because of its comparatively low cost, light weight, great strength, permanence, and adaptability. With it, she is able to create her visions of the human form in all its variety of movement and pose.

Today is the second occasion on which she has provided art work in collaboration with the Manchester Symphony Orchestra. On the first occasion in 1980, her drawings were shown with a performance of William Walton's Music for Children.