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Concert Program Cover

Third Concert of the 46th Season

 

Sunday, March 3rd, 1985
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Overture to La Clemenza di Tito, K. 621 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
       
  Saxophone Concerto in E-flat Major, Op. 109 Alexandre Glazounov  
 

I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Allegro

   
  James Ator, saxophone  
       
  Suite No. 1 in C Major, S. 1066 J. S. Bach  
 

 Ouverture
Courante
Minuet
Bouree

   
       
  Intermission  
       
  Divertimento for Brass and Percussion Karel Husa  
 

Overture
Scherzo
Song
Slovak Dance

   
       
  Karelia Suite, Op. 11 Jean Sibelius  
 

Intermezzo
Ballade
Alla marcia

   
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Overture to La Clemenza di Tito, K. 621 Wofgang A. Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
 

La Clemenza di Tito is an Opera Seria, written at a time when the Opera Buffa, or Comic Opera was much more popular. Mozart wrote only two operas in this genre, the other being Idomeneo. If this overture recalls certain passages from Die Zauberflöte, that should come as no surprise, since he broke off the composition of the latter to write the former. This happened because La Clemenza di Tito was hurridly commissioned by the authorities of Bohemia to be played on the occasion of the coronation of the Emperor Leopold II, King of Bohemia. Mozart dropped work on Die Zauberflöte and, with hus pupil Süssmeyer, rushed to Prague to work on the opera. Süssmeyer wrote the secco recitatives.

Mozart had less than three weeks to write the opera, and completed it only the day before the coronation. The opera was based on a libretto by Metastasio which had served other composers, including Caldara, Leo, Hasse, Gluck, and Jommelli. The version used by Mozart was one pruned by Caterino Mazzola, the Saxon Court poet. The development section of the Overture has been compared with that of the first movement of the "Jupiter" Symphony.


 
       
  Saxophone Concerto in E-flat, Op. 109 Alexander Glazounov
(1856-1936)
 
 

Considering how successful Glazounov was in his own time, it is surprising how little his music is played today. He was a prolific orchestral composer, but only two of his eight symphonies are currently available on record.

He was, for many years, Director of the St. Petersburg (later, the Leningrad) Conservatory, and in that capacity influenced many young composers, notably Shostakovich, who writes very warmly of Glazounov, both for his erudition and his compassion. To quote Shostakovich, "Glazounov felt that no real harm would come to great and holy Art if some singer without a voice, the mother of children without a husband, was given a job in the chorus of an operetta company."

Glazounov was an authentic musical genius; his first symphony was performed in St. Petersburg, when he was only sixteen, and shortly after, in Germany, where it was praised by Liszt. Some critics believe that after his fourth symphony, he began to repeat himself. His output in later years dropped considerably, though the present work was written shortly before his death at 71

The saxophone is an unusual instrument to be found in "serious" music. Books on the instruments of the orchestra list works for saxophone by Berlioz, Debussy, Saint-Saëns, Delibes, d'Indy, Strauss, Mahler, Hindemith, and others less famous. Such lists testify to the rarity of the instrument; writers found it unnecessary to make lists of works written for, say, the horn, or the violin.

The saxophone was invented in the 1840s by the Belgian instrument-maker Adolphe Sax. It was intended to strengthen the brass band by providing a robust tone with wood-wind characteristics. It later became popular among jazz musicians. There is some evidence that Glazounov was influenced by jazz, or at least impressed by it, but there is more Russian folk music in this concerto than there is jazz.


 
       
  Suite No. 1 in C Major Johann Sebastian Bach
(1685-1750)
 
 

1985 marks the three-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach. With Bach numbered among "The Three B's" and eleven double-columned pates of recordings listed in the Schwann catalog, it is hard to imagine that his name has not always been a household word. After his death, his work was largely ignored until it found a champion in Mendelssohn, who prompted a revival which has never waned.

As Mozart is associated with the development of the Sonata form, Bach represents the period when the fugue and the suite reached their highest forms. Today's piece exempplifies the latter.

The early "suite" was an attempt to develop a musical form suitable to instrumental composition. In fact, it has been called an embryonic concerto. This is an observation particularly appropriate to the Bach suite we hear today. The form is that of a series (that's what "suite" means) of short piecees which alternate in temp for variety, while usually staying in the same key, for the sake of unity. The idea for this alternation of fast-slow came from the dance-floor. The individual piecees are ordinarily named for popular dances, and sometimes actual themes are "borrowed" from popular music of the day, although this is unlikely in the Bach suite we are to hear.

More recently, the suite has come to mean a selection of short pieces taken from an opera, ballet, or incidental music for a play. In this instance, the piece is not derived from a larger work, but still stays close to the dance.

That Bach was conscious of the relationship of the suite to the theater is made apparent by his use of the word "Overture" for the opening movement. In fact, there are a lot of other names for a suite, like "Partita," "Sonata da camera," "Ordre," and ever "Ouverture," for the whole suite, not just the opening movement.

In the C Major suite, the Ouverture is the longest single movement, and consists of three parts: Prelude, Fugue, and Coda, which develops some of the themes heard earlier. The impressive introduction contrasts nicely with the dances to follow. Throughout the Ouverture there is a playful alternation between the tutti and the three wind instruments. This is a characteristic of the Concerto Grosso, and explains the statement that a Baroque suite is an "embryonic concerto."

The Ouverture is followed by the Courante, a dance of aristocratic origin, in 3/2 time. Most of the dances appear in pairs, with the first one played again after the second, to form "book-ends." In this performance, the Gavottes, Forlane, and final Passepieds are omitted, and we hear only the Menuets and Bourrees.


 
       
  Divertimento for Brass and Percussion Karel Husa
(b. 1921)
 
 

Karel Husa was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1921. he was prevented from entering his chosen profession (engineering) by the Nazi invasion (the Germans closed all the engineering schools), and since he had been unable to enter an art school (his second love), he applied for admission at a music conservatory. He wanted to study violin and piano, but the only classes open were ones in composition. So, through a series of chance happenings, Husa became composer.

After the war, Husa went to Paris, where he studied with Arthur Honegger, Andre Cluytens, and (of course) Nadia Boulanger. He won his doctorate from the Academy of Musical Arts in Prague, in 1947. Later, he came to the United States, and was granted citizenship in 1959. He has won numerous honors, including the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1969 for his Third String Quartet.

Husa's music tends to be spare, dissonant, often modal, and he sometime uses quarter-tones. Mr. Husa teaches composition at Cornell University.


 
       
  Karelia Suite, Op. 11 Jean Sibelius
(1856-1957)
 
 

Karelia is a part of Finland now occupied by the Soviet Union. The work we are to hear is derived from a series of pieces meant to accompany a narrative on a history of that province. It is characteristically nationalistic. At the age of thirty-two, Sibelius was so honored in Finland, that he was given a lifetime pension so that he could devote all his time to composition. He promptly left the country!

However, in the ensuing years, he devoted himself to the production of a series of seven symphonies and other orchestra works of a clearly Finnish character; the country got its money's worth in patriotic music of a very personal nature. Much of his work is based on the national epic, the Kalevala. He wrote a number of tone-poems "illustrating" Finnish legends.

He is that odd mixture: an impressionistic symphonist. The best-known Impressionists, Debussy, Ravel, Delius, de Falla, and Respighi, wrote not one symphony among them. Sibelius wrote seven (eight, if we count an early one, since withdrawn). However, he wrote all his symphonies in the last half of his life; the work we are to hear today was one of his earliest, and is scored for a larger orchestra than he was to use in his more mature years.

In Intermezzo begins in a pastoral, almost mournful mood, with the woodland sounds of the reeds. Later, a rippling rhythm plays background to the theme, and suggests a flowing river ... music reminiscent of Smetana's The Moldau.

The Ballade features organ-like chords, and a lyrical English horn accompanied by plucked strings.

The finale, Alla Marcia, is jolly and optimistic. It is probably the best-known section of the suite.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Ervin Orban, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Anne H. Boebel
Carolyn Caldwell
Diane Carr
Karen R. Frankhouser
Eloise Guy
Beth Guntermann
Vera Jones +^
David Neal
Susan Newsom
Vernon Stinebaugh

Viola
Annette Martin *
Ethel Anderson
Delpha Laycock
Naida Walker

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

Bass
Calvin Bisha *
Matt Greven

Piccolo
Denise Van Petten +

Flute
Jodi Stouffer *
Terry Vaught +

Oboe
Stephanie Jones
Dawn Zumbrun
Clarinet
Loa Traxler *+
Jane Grandstaff

Bassoon
Mack Walker *
Takashi Yamano

Horn
Eric Jones *+ (co-)
Eric Joseph *+ (co-)
Kent Teeters
John Morse

Trumpet
Andrew Norman *
Steve Hammer
Ray Goelz +

Trombone
D. Larry Dockter *
David Schultz +#
Jeff Secor

Tuba
John Beery

Timpani
Chris Caldwell +

Percussion
Keith Crider +
Terry McKee

Harpsichord
Robin Gratz

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
# Denotes M. Little Scholarship recipient
       
 
James Ator's academic background includes the BME degree from Drake University, the Master of Music degree in Performance from Wichita State University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from North Texas State University. He studied saxophone with Joseph Allard of the Juilliard School of Music while he was a member of the United States Military Band at West Point. His teachers in composition include Samuel Adler and William Latham, both of North Texas State University.

In 1981 Dr. Ator was featured soloist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, performing Ibert's Concertino de Camera. On the same concert, his composition Intrada and Adagio was premiered as the first-prize winner of a state-wide competition sponsored by the Fort Wayne Fine Arts Foundation. He has also composed works for theater productions at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Wayne and for the dedication ceremonies of the Fort Wayne Art Museum.

Dr. Ator was appointed to the IPFW Division of Music faculty in 1973 and is currently Coordinator of Theory, Composition, Wind and Percussion Studies.