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Concert Program Cover

Fourth Concert of the 45th Season

 

Sunday, May 13th, 1984
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Suite No. 1 in F from The Water Music George Frideric Handel  
 

Overture: Largo-Allegro-Adagio
Allegro-Andante-Allegro
Passepied
Air
Bourée
Allegro moderato
Hornpipe
Minuet

 
       
  "Vissi d'arte" from Tosca Giacomo Puccini  
       
  "The Jewel Song" from Faust Charles Gounod  
  Carol Streator, soprano  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Letter from Home Aaron Copland  
       
  Old American Songs Aaron Copland  
 

Long Time Ago
Simple Gifts
I Bought Me a Cat
The Little Horses
Zion's Walls
At the River
Ching-a-Ring Chaw

 
  Carol Streator, soprano  
       
  Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla Michael Glinka  
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Suite No. 1 in F from The Water Music George Frideric Handel
(1685-1759)
 
 

George Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach were both born in Germany in 1685, died only nine years apart (Bach in 1750, Handel in 1759), and both were recognized ultimately as two of the major musical figures of the late Baroque era. Beyond these rather superficial similarities, however, their lives and careers were quite different.

Recognition came to the two composers under very different circumstances. Handel was internationally acclaimed during his lifetime, primarily for his operas and oratorios. He was widely travelled throughout europe, and made huge sums of money from productions of his operas. Bach's activities, on the other hand, were confined to Germany and his genius was not recognized by the world for some half a century after his death. His income was modest, but regular, and was carefully spent in the raising of a large family. Unlike Handel, he never composed opera.

Handel was attracted to the musical atmosphere of London, and it was there that he achieved the greates popularity for his operas. He came to London on a leave of absence from his post as Music Director to the Elector of Hanover. The relationship between the composer and the Elector was strained considerably when Handel stayed in London well past the period of time that had been negotiated by the two parties. The situation became even more awkward when, while Handel was still in London, the Elector was crowned King George I of England.

Although it has not been satisfactorily documented, legend has it that Handel surprised the new King with a suite of instrumental pieces which was played for a royal river party, and subsequently restored a congenial relationship between the composer and King George. The music, of course, became known as the Water Music.

The splendid occasion for which Handel wrote the Water Music took place in July of 1717, and was described in the July 19, 1717, issue of teh London Dailiy Courant:

On Wednesday Evening, at about 8, the King took water at Whitehall in an open barge. And went up the River towards Cehlsea. Many other Barges with Persons of Quality attended, and so great a Number of Boats, that the whole River in a manner was cover'd; a City Company's Barge was employ'd for the Musick, wherein were 50 Instruments of all sorts, who play'd all the Way from Lambeth (while the Barges drove with the Tide without Rowing, as far as Chelsea) the finest Symphonies, compos'd express for this Occasion, by Mr. Handel; which his Majesty liked so well, that he caus'd it to be plaid over three times in going and returning. At Eleven his Majesty went a-shore at Chelsea, where a Supper was prepar'd, and then there was another very fine Consort of Musick, which lasted till 2; after which, his Majesty came again into his Barge, and return'd the same Way, the Musick continuing to play till he landed.

The pieces are grouped into three suites, one in F major, one in D major, and one in G major. It is thought that, because of its rather intimate quality, the G major suite was performed during supper at Chelsea. The other suites, because of their large instrumentation and more boisterous qualities, were probably performed on the river journey to and from Chelsea.

The Suite No. 1 in F opens with an Overture in three parts, modeled after a structural pattern which has become known as the French overture. The distinguishing features are a slow-fast-slow division of tempi, and an imitative contrapuntal texture in the middle part of the form. The middle part also displays a common Baroque stylistic feature called concertato style in which a small group of soloists, the concertino, engages in dialogue with the full ensemble, the ripieno.

The next movement is also arrange in three parts, but now with a tempo scheme of fast-slow-fast. The horns are heard for the first time in the opening Allegro, which is one of the most well-known portions of teh Water Music. The middle section is an Andante in which oboe and bassoons are used antiphonally with strings. The Allegro is then repeated.

In the Passepied the horns continue their prominence, with strings taking over in the trio section which is in the minro key. The Air is another one of the well-known parts of the suite, and contains one of Handel's most beautiful melodies. The Bourée is performed three times in succession, first by strings, then by oboes and bassoon, and finally all together. The next Allegro moderato is the longest movement of the Suite and is similar to the earlier Andante with the antiphonal style between double reeds and strings. The Hornpipe is performed in the same manner as the earlier Bourée. The Suite closes with a robust Minuet in which the horns are given prominence and strings dominate the middle Trio section.


 
       
  "Vissi d'arte" from Tosca Giacomo Puccini
(1858-1924)
 
 

Puccini's creative efforts were confined entirely to opera, and his productions enjoyed great popularity during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Even today, of all the operas being produced in professional opera houses, Puccini's are certainly among the most popular. His catalog includes Manon Lescaut (1893), La Bohéme (1896), Tosca (1900), Madame Butterfly (1904), Turandot (1926), and the one-act opera Gianni Schicchi (1918).

Most of his operas reflect an important trent of his time known as verismo, or realism. The essence of this trend was the selection of subjects and stories from everyday life, rather than using historical or mythological themes. These real-life stories were then treated dramatically in a very believable and sometimes shockingly realistic fashion. Tosca is a prime example of verismo opera.

Tosca is an opera in three acts, and was first produced at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on January 14, 1900. In the opera, Floria Tosca, a beautiful singer, is the jealous lover of Mario Cavaradossi, a religious artist. Angelotti, an escaped prisoner, hides in the church in which Mario is painting. Mario helps him escape. Scarpia, chief of Roman police, enters the church and, not finding Angelotti, arrests Mario as an accomplice, and orders him shot. Desiring Tosca for himself, Scarpia promises her lover's liberty in return for her favours. Tosca agrees and Scarpia orders a fake execution of Mario. When Scarpia returns to claim her she stabs him. At dawn the pretended execution of Mario takes place. Tosca hurries to the prone figure of her lover, after the firing, to find he is dead. Hearing noise of approaching soldiers, she realizes her murder of Scarpia has been discovered. Climbing the prison wall she leaps to her death.

In the famous aria, "Vissi d'arte," Tosca asks God, in anguish, why, in spite of her life of prayer and sincere faith, she is faced with the choice of submitting to Scarpia's cruel demands or refusing him and seeing her lover, Mario, be executed. the Italian-English translation of the aria is given below.

ITALIAN


Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore
non feci mai male ad anima viva!
Con man furtiva
quante miserie conobbi, aiutai.
Sempre con fè sincera
la mai preghiera
ai santi tabernacoli salì.
Sempre con fè sincera,
diedi fiori agl'altar.
Nell'ora del dolore
perchè, perchè Signore,
perchè me ne rimuneri così?
Diedi gioelli
della Madonna al manto,
e diedi il canto
agli astri, al ciel,
che ne ridean più belli.
Nell'ora del dolor
perchè, perchè Signor,
ah, perchè me ne rimuneri così?
ENGLISH


I lived on art, I lived on love,
I never did harm to a living soul!
With a furtive hand
I assisted such unfortunates as I knew of.
Always with sincere faith
my prayer
rose at the holy tabernacles.
Always with sincere faith
I gave flowers to the altars.
In my hour of grief
why, why, Lord,
why do you repay me thus?
I gave jewels
to the Madonna's mantle,
and I gave my song
to the stars, to heaven
which rejoiced, more beautiful, in them.
In my hour of grief,
why, why, Lord,
ah, why do you repay me thus?

 
       
  "The Jewel Song" from Faust Charles Gounod
(1818-1893)
 
 

Although Gounod wrote at least twelve operas, only Faust achieved any popularity and is the only one still produced today. In fact, it is one of the most popular of all French operas. Unlike Puccini, Gounod did venture into other types of composing, including orchestral works, chamber music, and sacred oratorio. Still, it is Faust to which he owes whatever significance has been granted him by music critics and historians.

Faust is in five acts, and the libretto, based on Goethe's drama, was done by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. The first performance took place at the Theatre Lyrique in Paris on March 19, 1859. In the story, Faust is about to kill himself with poison when Mephistopheles appears in his study and offers him youth in exchange for his soul. Faust accepts after Marguerite is revealed to him at her spinning wheel. Faust and Marguerite fall in love, after which Valentin, her brother, returns from the wars and fights a duel with Faust in which Valentin is killed. Faust and Mephistopheles visit Marguerite in prison where she is waiting death because she killed the child Faust has fathered. Marguerite will not go with them and she is redeemed by her appeals to Heaven. Faust and Mephistopheles disappear.

"The Jewel Song" occurs in Act Three, after a brief meeting between Faust and Marguerite, during which she shyly rebuffed his advances. Mephistopheles tells Faust that he will help him win Marguerite's love by bringing a gift to her. Marguerite discovers the gift, a small chest of jewels, tries them on and becomes aware of a strange new beauty and power. Thinking of her earlier meeting with the handsome young Faust, she sings "if only he could see me now."

FRENCH

Ah! je ris deme voir
Si belle en ce miroir!
Est-ce toi, Marguerite?
Reponds-moi, reponds vite!
Non! non! -- ce ne'est plus toi!
Ce n'est plus ton visage!
C'est la fille d'un roi,
Qu'on salue au passage!
Ah! s'il erait ici!
S'il me voyait ainsi! ...
Comme une demoiselle
Il me trouverait belle! ...
Achevons la metamorphose!
Il me tarde encor d'essayer
Le bracelet et le collier.

Dieu! c'est comme une main qui
sur mon bras se pose!
Ah! je ris de me voir
Si belle en ce miroir!
Est-ce toi, Marguerite?
Reponds-moi, reponds vite! --
Non! non! -- ce n'est plu toi!
Ce n'est plus to visage!
C'est la fille d'un roi,
Qu'on salue au passage! ...
Au! s'il erait ici!
S'il me voyait ainsi! ...
Comme une demoiselle
Il me trouverait belle! ...
Ah! s'il efait ici! ...
ENGLISH

Ah! I laugh, as I pass, to look into a glass;
Is it truly Marguerite, then?
Is it you?
Tell me true!
No, no, no, 'tis not you!
No, no, that bright face there reflected
Must belong to a queen!
It reflects some fair queen, whom I greet
as I pass her.
Ah! could he see me now,
Here, deck'd like this, I vow
he surely would mistake me,
And for a noble lady take me!
I'll try on the rest.
The necklace and the bracelets
I fain would try!
Heavens! 'Tis like a hand
That on mine arm doth rest!
Ah, I laugh, as I pass, to look into a glass;
Is it truly Marguerite, then?
Is it you
Tell me true!
No, no, no, 'tis not you!
No, no, that bright face there reflected
Must belong to a queen!
It reflects some fair queen whom I greet
as I pass her.
Ah! could he see me now,
Here, deck'd like this, I vow
He surely would mistake me,
And for noble lady take me!

 
       
  Letter from Home
Old American Songs
Aaron Copland
(b. 1900)
 
 

Aaron Copland is recognized as one of the major American composers of the twentieth century. His list of compositions is long and varied, and the techniques found in his works pay tribute to almost all of the important compositional trends of the century.

Copland was born in Brooklyn, began piano lessons at an early age, and became interested in a career as a composer at age fifteen. He went to Paris in 1921 to study composition with the famed Nadia Boulanger. He was to be the first of many well-known Americans to travel to France for study with Mlle Boulanger.

After Copland returned to the United States, Boulanger persuaded him to write a work for solo organ and orchestra to be performed by her on an American concert tour. When the piece was performed in New York, Walter Damrosch, in response to a rather hostile reception by the audience, said "if a young man at the age of twenty-three can write a symphony like that, in five years he will be ready to commit murder."

Actually, most of Copland's best-known works have been very accessible to the musical public and received immediate favorable response. His ballet music is probably the most popular with audiences, and includes Billy the Kid, Appalachian Spring, and Rodeo. A Lincoln Portrait for orchestra, speaker, and chorus received high critical acclaim, and one of the most notable performances was with the late Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson as the narrator.

Letter from Home is a lesser work that is rarely performed. Its last performance by the Manchester Symphony Orchestra was in 1969 with David McCormick conducting. According to Nicolas Slonimsky the piece "is an unpretentious symphonic recitative for chamber orchestra, reflecting the emotions associated with receipt of reassuring news." The piece exhibits beautiful lyrical tunes and untraditional use of traditional harmonic elements. It was first performed on October 17, 1944, by the Philco Radio Orchestra with Paul Whiteman conducting.

Old American Songs consists of two sets of five songs each, first composed for voice and piano and later orchestrated. The first set was completed in 1950 and first performed by William Warfield in New York on January 28, 1951. The second set was finished in 1952 and presented for the first time at the Castle Hill Concerts.

Copland's fondness for American folk song is obvious in his choice of the melodic material for these settings. The harmonic background, rhythmic accompaniment, contrapuntal lines, and orchestration are all Copland's own creations, but the tunes belong to earlier eras and most come from authentic folk song traditions.

For today's performance, three songs from the first set and four from the second set have been selected. The following notes are found in the orchestral score published by Boosey and Hawkes:

Long Time Ago. Issued in 1837 by George Pope Morris, who adapted the words, and Charles Edward Horn, who arranged the music from an anonymous "black-face" tune.

Simple Gifts. A favourite song of the Shaker sect, from the period 1837-1847. The melody and words were quoted by Edward D. Andrews in his book of Shaker rituals, songs and dances, entitled The Gift to be Simple.

I Bought Me A Cat. A children's nonsense song. This version was sung to the composer by the American playwright Lynn Riggs, who learned it during his boyhood in Oklahoma.

The Little Horses. A children's lullaby song originating in the Souther States -- date unknown. This adaptation founded in part on John A. and Alan Lomax's version in Folk Song U.S.A.

Zion's Walls. A revivalist song. Original melody and words credited to John G. McCurry, compiler of the Social Harp. Published by George P. Jackson in Down East Spirituals.

At the River. Hymn tune. Words and melody are by Rev. Robert Lowry, 1865.

Ching-a-Ring Chaw. Minstrel Song. The words have been adapted from the original, in the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays in Brown University.


 
       
  Overture fo Ruslan and Ludmilla Michael Glinka
(1804-1857)
 
 

Glinka was born in Novopasskoi, Russia, and died in Berlin. His life was not unusually long and his musical achievements were not unusually noteworthy.

Like Handel, a century earlier, his most significant achievements were in opera, though not as numerous or as celebrated as Handel's His first opera, A Life for the Czar, met with immediate success. His second opera, Ruslan and Ludmilla, was based on a poetic tale of the same title by Pushkin. This production was not as well-received as his first opera. One reason may have been that audiences felt too much liberty had been taken in adapting the original poetry of teh beloved Pushkin. Whatever the merits of the opera may be, the overture is standard orchestral repertoire, and, taken by itself, is an exciting and appealing piece of music.

The overture is in D major, modeled after the classical overture and is scored for flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, trombones, tympani and strings. An opening tutti passage with short, repeated rhythmic motives gives way to a soaring first theme played by violins, violas, and flutes. This first theme is developed briefly in a passage of woodwind dialogue, followed by the appearance of the second theme in the key of F major. The melody is richly lyrical and is stated initially in the cellos, violas and bassoons, with violins and high woodwinds added for a subsequent restatement. Motives from both the first and second themes are developed in imitative fashion, progressing through a variety of keys. The key of D major returns for the recapitulation of the first theme, followed by the second theme, this time in A major, and finally concluding with a rousing coda in D major and the full orchestra playing.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Ervin Orbán, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Mary Berkebile
Ruth Berkebile
Carolyn Caldwell
Eloise Guy
Mary Moreland +^
David Neal
Lenelle Ross
Suzanne Schmucker +^
Yang Xi

Viola
Chris Friddle *
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 *
Denise Van Petten +

Oboe
Stephanie Jones *
Dawn Zumbrun
Clarinet
Cindy Greider *
Wes Yoder

Bassoon
Takashi Yamano * (co-)
Tom Hoczyk * (co-)

Horn
Eric Jones *+
Dan Cripe +
Kent Teeters

Trumpet
Andrew Norman *
Steve Hammer
Ray Goelz +

Trombone
D. Larry Dockter *
David Schultz +
Louis Grettenberger

Timpani
Christopher Caldwell +

Percussion
Bill Leonhard *+

Harpsichord/Piano
R. Gary Deavel

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 
Carol StreatorCarol Murphy Streator holds a master's degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Metropolitan opera star, Anna Kaskas.

Her concert experience has included opera, oratorio, chamber music and recitals in both New York state and Indiana. Most recently she appeared with the Fort Wayne symphony and chorus as soprano soloist for the Schubert Mass in G.

Mrs. Streator has taught at the college and public school level and is currently teaching in a private studio for voice and piano. She also may be found most sundays directing the local United Methodist Church choirs, has served several years as a contest judge for solo and choral contests and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Carol is the wife of Dr. James Streator of Manchester College and they have two sons, Eric and Randy.